Disclaimer: I blatantly stole the word “Quiltapalooza” from my friend Dan, whose lovely wife Cindy has often attended the festival described below.
It’s just a good thing I was not driving. Not only were the unfamiliar Houston streets interrupted by one construction zone after another, but when we finally came in sight of the George R. Brown Convention Center, its very appearance would have hopelessly distracted my attention from the task of navigating the car around. Honestly, the building looks for all the world like a waterline model of some outsize cruise ship, bendy red smokestacks and all.
Jeannine, my wonderful mother-in-law hereinafter referred to as “Mom,” pulled into the valet parking lane. While we waited to inch forward toward the valets, Mom’s friend Margaret got out to buy the tickets. Twenty minutes later, we stepped through one of the red doors and into Houston’s annual International Quilt Festival.
I felt sort of like Alice after she ate the wafer that made her shrink. I could see about half a mile in each direction, every inch filled with booths, quilts, people, Hoverounds, quilts, fabrics, more people, lights, noise, and, um, quilts. “Yike,” was my profound observation. Mom and Margaret, the veterans, laughed at the novice and we all made sure we had each other’s phone numbers saved and handy. I resisted the faint urge to hang onto Mom’s hand.
We cruised the booths, looking at kits, fabric, jewelry, quilter’s tools, picture frames, and clothing. We had to dodge little clusters of women, a few patient husbands, and the occasional Hoveround. Mom bought a few supplies but I held off until I had a chance to see a little of everything.
When the noise and congestion got a bit oppressive, we escaped to the relatively quiet exhibit hall. There the quilts from the competition hung on curtain after curtain of black fabric. The top quilts had won prizes, I heard, ranging from $5000 to $15,000. Traditional, artsy, abstract, photorealistic — they had it all, and from all over the world. Many were tagged “No photographs” but I got a few sample shots of those that were not camera-shy.
I was a little dazed by the time we walked into the food court for lunch. “Healthy food, healthy food, healthy food,” I told myself… and promptly pounced on a hot dog with sauerkraut. We had not seen Margaret for some time, and it was hard to hear our phones in all the racket. She soon joined us, though, and we compared loot, only I didn’t have any yet except for a freebie shopping bag, still empty.
After lunch I shopped almost like a veteran myself, picking up a few goodies for loved ones, which I can’t divulge here because they might see it. Trying to see over all the crowds and chaos, I was reminded more than ever of Alice. With apologies to Lewis Carroll…
Okay, I only wished we had stilts.
In short, we walked for miles and had lots of fun. The day was bigger than I could have imagined, and so was the Intergalactic Quiltapalooza.
Thanks for reading,
PS: This week I am linking with Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria girls. Join us?