Sunday, November 6, 2011

There Is More To See And Do Than Just Look at Quilts

Other blogs will feature photos of the winning quilts from International Quilt Festival, so let's see what else there is to do and see besides quilts...............
We arrive early!  And we do mean early.......before the buses and crowds arrive.  The sky is just warming to the sunrise and downtown hotels and offices are just beginning to wake up.

In three hours time, we'll walk through one of these red doors and enter the massive convention center and all the fiber happenings.  A worker busys herself cleaning the portal windows.

We'll travel upstairs to the second floor and find the Starbucks. 

This booth greets you just as you arrive on the second floor--want to volunteer or be a show assistant--here's your chance.

There are many others just waiting for you to approach them--they look rested and ready to answer your questions.

The bulletin boards contain all messages and inquiries--it was here several years ago we pulled one of these notes to form a pen pal friendship with an English gal.

It's a brisk wind blowing our flags this morning and through the large front windows we can look out into the world as we enjoy the quilt world.
Upon the third floor, where all classrooms are, we can shop for supplies for our workshops if we forgot something necessary.
Or you can attend a lecture--this morning we are sitting in on a lecture about color.  We will also enhance our brain as we wait for the opening of the market and first floor activities.
Oh, a fairly large crowd decide to do the same thing!
Traveling back down to the second floor, we can peek through the large windows to the floor below........................what's going on down there?
Yes!  It's the vendor section of festival!  Let's synchronize our plans and decide what vendors to hit first...............................because when you have over 700 vendors, you must have a plan!
Oh, there is another informational board--what great ideas--if only, we had a month here instead of just three days.
Here's a schedule of workshops and classes--see if any are open for registation.
Want to be a teacher's pet?  These classes are available and need assistance.
Finally, it's time for the downstairs doors to open.....but wait!  there is such a long line to go down and this crowd is being paced--just a few at a time.
A short walk down to the next down-a-later and few people are heading that way--perfect!
Up front and personal is the IQA (International Quilt Association) booth. 
On the quilt side, we find a variety of activities and events.  Here is the 4-H quilt challenge area.
And Cancer coats display.
Each coat has a story to tell of surviving a dreaded disease.
And the SuperShuttle Quilt Challenge is behind this information signage.
Want to rest your feet for awhile while you learn something?  Then take a few minutes to enjoy a free lecture in this area.
"Quilts of Valor" booth
Pink Ribbon gives you the inside 'scoop'.
Tucked back on the west side of Hall E are American Sewing Guild tables.
Quilts just waiting for those quilting hands--sit awhile and place a few stitches.
Project Linus hosts an area where you can sit and sew up a small quilt for needy children.
And if you don't know how to quilt or sew, here's the booth for you.
The Guild of Greater Houston members are willing to assist you.  These are just a few of the booths awaiting your visit--place a bid in a silent auction; buy a small quilt for Alzheimer research; stop to see doll quilts & their dolls, a gypsy doll challenge, other guild challenges, wearable art.................oh, my so much, so little time!
Okay, we've made a walk through the educational booths and now we confront the map--which way to go..................................? 
There are resting spots throughout the halls if you need a break for your weary bones and feet.  There is even a husband's lounge, complete with big screen TV and easy recliners.
First aide is readily available--
Tired and weary but still want to go on?  Then rent a electric scooter to finish out the day.  We just might need that first aide if one of these scooters runs into us along our venture through the crowded aisles.
"Make It University"--make it and take it!  What wonders can we create in this section?
And before we head out the door, we stop to browse at the pin collection from past quilt festivals......................yes, we have that one, that one, that one and so on and so on.  After hours of viewing wonderful contemporary, artful and traditional fiber masterpieces, we take our tired bones the last few steps to the car.  Oh, yes, there are the times when you are walking the aisles and you bump into someone who turns out to be an old friend from a past life--ahhhh, life is good at the quilt festival.

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