Thursday, January 10, 2019

Stepping Off the Roller Coaster, Trying Not to Puke: The Saga of Why Spring Quilt Week in Paducah for 2019 is a No-Go

So I got this email on Tuesday  announcing that class registration for Spring Quilt Week in Paducah was open for AQS members.  I've never attended any of the major quilt shows before, but I'd love to go -- and thought it might be a great opportunity to take some longarm quilting classes, if I could only get into the classes before they were full.  I clicked the link to the class descriptions and was EUPHORIC when I saw that both Judi Madsen and Lisa Calle will be teaching at this year's show!  With butterflies in my stomach, I filled my little shopping cart with every single longarm class offered at the show, 9 blissful hours per day of of quilting tutelage with two of my favorite quilt artists on the planet, expecting at every moment to get an error message telling me that my class selections were not available after all.  It reminded me of standing in line for the Corkscrew roller coaster at Valleyfair soon after the ride opened in 1980, with my dad and my older sister Susan: watching the cars spinning through the inversions, listening to the happy screams of the riders, wondering if I would ever make it to the front of the line before the ride closed for the day, and hoping that if I DID get to ride the roller coaster, I wouldn't puke all over myself.

The Corkscrew at Valleyfair, My First Big Roller Coaster Ride circa 1980
You guys -- I got ALL THE CLASSES!!!  I was dancing and prancing and compiling lists in my head of all of the questions I wanted to be sure to ask over the course of this longarm quilting intensive I'd planned for myself.  I was making an itinerary of when I'd visit the exhibit floor and merchant mall, which day I'd go to the National Quilt Museum...  And then, with these visions of sugarplums dancing in my head, I went to bed because it was midnight and apparently it's difficult for my family members to sleep when I'm dancing and skipping around the house.

For those of you not familiar with Calles' and Madsens' work:

I signed up for Lisa Calle's class "Pebbles, Echoes, Crosshatches, Oh My: Fillers on the Longarm" to learn how Lisa quilts magnificent designs like these:
Lisa Calle's Longarm Fill Quilting
I also signed up for her 6-hour" Meet & Greet the Longarm" class to learn alternative methods of loading and setting up for quilting, and in hopes of building a better foundation of the basics to build upon.  I signed up for her ruler work class, too, as well as her free-motion feather class.  Can you imagine?!!

As for Judi Madsen, well, it's pretty much all her fault that I bought a longarm quilting machine in the first place.  I stumbled across her blog some years ago and her longarm quilting was just the most beautiful, joyful, playful and expressive quilting I'd seen ANYWHERE, including hand quilting as well as machine quilting.  I never had any desire to own a longarm quilting machine until I saw the cool stuff Judi was doing with hers:

Ticky Tack Pattern by Honest Fabric, Pieced and Quilted by Judi Madsen
Judi's style is difficult to classify and she is equally adept at custom quilting modern as well as traditional quilts.  To serious traditional applique, her quilting adds a playful whimsy that feels fresh and current.  To simply pieced modern quilt tops utilizing solids and vast negative spaces, the complexity of her ruler work and free motion fills brings the magnificence of the whole cloth quilting tradition into the 21st century.  

Luscious Quilting by Judi Madsen, See More of This Quilt on Judi's Flickr Page Here
Now, did I expect to emerge after a single week of workshops transformed into a master quilter on par with Lisa Calle and Judi Madsen?  Of course not -- but I was sure I'd come home from Quilt Week a more confident and capable quilter than I am today.

So the first thing I did on Wednesday morning was to sit down at my computer and book my flight to Paducah for the show.  No hiccups there.  And finally, now that my classes and dates and flights were all pinned down for the trip, I went back to that handy-dandy APQS Approved Accommodations list on their web site -- which EVEN TODAY is still showing 20+ well-known commercial hotels in Paducah as having availability -- and started calling them to try to book a room.  And this is the part of the roller coaster ride where they flip you upside down suddenly, the inversion that comes along out of nowhere when you're speeding down the track at over a hundred miles an hour and your entire stomach, along with its contents, is suddenly inside of your mouth instead of in your abdomen where it belongs.  Yes, this is that part -- including all of the screaming, the tears, and the desperate prayers that go along with it!  I literally begged the manager of the Hampton Inn to let me bring a sleeping bag and camp out in their lobby at their regular room rate, but he turned me down.  Someone must have warned him about my singing...

Not Me, But This Is What I FELT LIKE When I Started Calling Hotels in Paducah!
Those of you who have attended any of the major national and international quilt shows probably already knew where this story was headed, but I was completely blindsided to find that every decent hotel in Paducah, Kentucky was already booked solid AND had a WAITING LIST for Quilt Week, even before registration opened up for the event.  Show attendees book their hotel rooms a full year in advance.  I talked with a very kind and helpful woman named Lindsay at AQS who suggested that Airbnb website where you can book your stay in the guest room of someone's private home, kind of like the lodgings version of Uber or Lyft.  I looked into that, but the listings that still had availability were either too far away from the event venue and outside of where the shuttles were running (across the Ohio River in Metropolis!), or they were entire houses suitable for groups to stay in together, or the landlord/host of the property was advertising a "private entrance" and "having the whole place to yourself."  And I was really nervous about returning to a strange house in a strange neighborhood late at night, all by myself, especially having never been to this town before and having no idea where the safe neighborhoods and where the sketchy ones might be, whether the properties were well-lit at night, etc.  I had to face the reality that the stars were just not aligned for me to attend the show this year.  My roller coaster was in flames.

So I called Lindsay back and told her to go ahead and cancel all of my class registrations.  As sad as it is to miss out on riding the roller coaster, it is better to see the flames from a distance, before you're strapped into the ride!

I Don't Know This Girl, But I'm Pretty Sure She's Crying About Quilt Week

So...  Who wants to go to Quilt Week with me in 2020?

Friday, January 11th UPDATEOH MY GOSH, y'all -- my husband helped me find a hotel room, my flight was still available, and a computer glitch delayed my registration cancellation so I still have all of my classes!  I'M GOING TO QUILT WEEK IN PADUCAH IN APRIL AFTER ALL!!!  

Yeah, Baby!!!  This Is What JOY Feels Like!  (Photo Credit: Yuliya Evstratenko/Shutterstock)
I'm DEFINITELY whooping with Joy, so I'm linking up with: 
·       Whoop Whoop Fridays at


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

every time I have gone to Paducah for the show I have had to stay 50 miles away. I come in from the west driving and stop in Charleston MO - it is about a 5 hour drive - I drive there, sleep the night then drive to Paducah in the morning and see everything or as much of everything as I want to spending the whole day into the evening then drive back to Charleston, having booked my room for 2 nights and sleep and either go home the next day or tell them I want the room for another night if needed and spend the day in Paducah again. I have never taken the classes. But all the rooms are booked like you say - now if you go in the fall - last year was the first time for the fall show I got a room in Paducah and there were tons of rooms available - it had not been very well known I think that it would be in the fall too -- maybe you can try the fall show but don't know who teaches or when that schedule will be out.
I'm so sorry you couldn't find a room when you had the classes you wanted.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I meant not last fall but the one before that as we were camping in September to October this last fall - so maybe it is well known enough all ready that the rooms were booked last fall - I think the dates were different then what it was when I went for the first fall show - you would need to check into that

Chris said...

I would love to join you if for no other reason than to hear you tell stories. I attended the show in Grand Rapids -4-5 years ago. It was big enough for me. I attended 2 of Judi Madsen's lectures a few years ago when she came up to Niagara Falls Canada with her whol family for a week. She did 4 half day lectures twice. It was the first time I had seen anyone using rulers for machine quilting and, sad to day, I bought way too many and am not using them much. I guess I have to have some completed quilt tops to quilt them. Roller coasters make me want to puke also.

KaHolly said...

Oh, honey, I’m so sorry it worked out like that! Who’d have thought? I would have been as blindsided as you.

Louise said...

So frustrating and disappointing! I'm sorry it didn't work out for you this year :(

Ramona said...

How disappointing, Rebecca Grace! So, did you book your room for 2020 already? :)

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Soooo sorry! I know how excited you were!

LA Paylor said...

I never make plans for Houston til I get the hotel. They go on sale about three days after the show for the following year, and sell out in an hour.
The year I went to Paducah with my sister, we stayed a half hour away in an icky hotel and drove in each day. It's a small town for an international show.
How disappointing.
Where do you live? There are lots of big long arm shows in the east. Friends of mine often went and took back to back classes. No problems with room availability.
I don't know them as I don't have a long arm machine... LeeAnna

SJSM said...

Did you check with your quilt Guild to see if anyone was looking for a roommate? Our sewing guild is a national organization and we can put a call out through boards to ask about things like this. I ended up last year with a roommate from NC (I live in. CA). Turned out she belonged to our guild 12 years earlier and we knew each other and enjoyed our time together. Since we were gone all day we only met up for dinner when it worked out, a couple of excursions and sleeping. I had booked the room a year earlier but had not found a roommate until a month or so before. My usual roommate had her best friend go for the first time so she roomed with her. Sewing people are generally easy going from a roommate perspective. Your guild president might be the person to ask if you are still interested.

Janice Holton said...

Awww, that STINKS!!! Have you thought about contacting your church in that area to see if any of their members would be willing to host you for a fee?

Shar said...

You might ask at your quilt guild or bee if anyone is going. Sometimes you can get in on a group trip. Lodging is a problem and always has been.

Julie said...

I have always wanted to go to Paducah, but having to plan so far ahead does not usually work out for me. My niece lived a couple hours away and thought that would be my chance, but she moved this year. Good luck planning for 2020. I loved your roller coaster analogy!

Elaine said...

So glad the stars aligned for you. The AQS spring show in Paducah is second only to the Houston International quilt show. Paducah is my hometown and I try to attend the show each year. I hope you enjoy your classes and your visit to Paducah

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Wow, that's going to be amazing!! Terrific classes, enjoy ;))

Preeti said...

Gosh, that was a roller coaster of a ride. May be Cheeky is an apt name for you. So much angst, so much drama (love all the pictures, though) but finally, and most importantly, you ARE going to Paducah. Honestly, reading this post was like a watching a moving with a nail-biter of a fish. I am so relieved it was a happy ending, thanks to Ben. Yes,pun intended.

Gretchen Weaver said...

I'm glad it worked out for you, can't wait to see some examples of your quilting. I don't blame you for not wanting to stay in a private home by yourself. They are all probably nice people and safe places but how do you know? Bless your husband for saving the day!