Yesterday as I participated in a Virtual Panel (and will again on Monday) and talked with a few industry related people that the Quilting Worlds, and it’s environs from our sewing rooms and studios, to quilt guilds, small businesses and quilt shops are all about relationships, growing them, and nurturing them.
Normally at this time of year I have joined 1000’s of others trekking to some City in the US for Spring Quilt Market. The last few years participating as media first with the magazine and continue on my own as a blogger, writer, and teacher. I walk through aisles looking, stopping to Talk to vendors, some of whom have become friends, checking in to see how they are doing and later sharing some of this on my blog sometimes framing it around new patterns, fabric lines that speak to me, new notions and friends I’m having dinner with.
After picking up the media creds the next thing is always getting the carefully guarded Schoolhouse flier and pouring through the shedule to see what’s exciting, where I need to go, and in the last few years using the app to give me reminders of where I need to be and when. It is HARD making those choices as sometimes I want to be there with a friend, when I need to be there seeing who’s releasing The new line or notion of the year. There is a buzz at every table and while there is a slightly more relaxed look from shop owners who’ve been there before and the more nervously excited look of newer attendees we’re all there for one reason we love quilting.
Quilting in and of itself is an overarching term that doesn’t quite capture the reality of what we as quilt makers do. WE know deep down that gathering is essential to who we are because we are Quilters and we are a Community. Yes I am intentionally adding emphasis because if 2019 and 2020 taught me anything it is this: community is essential.
Spending 2020 together virtually was damn hard on all of us having to make changes in everything we do, desperately wanting and needing to be together we figured out however awkwardly that while they work video sometimes video sessions are good, and yet not the same. I teach free-mtion machine quilting, and sometimes I need to sit down at a students machine and show them how, I need to see their shoulders and either put my hands on them or say something to help them relax. I can’t do this on Video.
Going back to the Schoolhouse sessions for a moment all of the vendors have put hard work into creating both sneak peek videos, full video presentations on new product and fabric lines and having people available in Zoom rooms for appointments including drop in. On the first day I dropped in to one vendor and had a conversation with RNK which is how I have the images for this post! I found out that one of my friends is with a new company and made it a point to go Find her. This led to a long creative conversation which helped me with some things I’d been trying to figure out and struggling with. I’ve dropped in to a number of other vendors to be the only person who has stopped by to see them. Another conversation reminded me that this is what I do at in person Quilt Markets and quilt shows I stop to talk to people. Sometimes not making it to Schoolhouse sessions I should be in because there is some deep on the fly conversation happening.
If you are attending Virtual Quilt Market (today is the last day) make sure you have a nice shirt on and go talk to the vendors, ask the questions you’d normally ask. Don’t forget to ask me to come to your shop virtually or in person. I’m going to try and get the link for the panelist video with the other C&T Authors and post that here.
PS Today is the last day to register for Virtual Quilt Market the Schoolhouse presentations and Class Videos will be up and available until April 23.