Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Trip Report - Houston International Quilt Festival - November 2011

The trip itself was in the nature of a pilgrimage.  I had been to four previous quilt shows, and everyone was telling me "You have to go to Houston." so I went.

The trip started badly. We were scheduled to leave San Diego at around 11am and arrive, after a transfer in Denver, around 6pm, but the departure from San Diego was delayed because they wanted to do some mechanical inspection. We finally actually boarded the plane in the afternoon, only to be asked to deplane because "you won't be able to make your connection" and put on another airplane to go to Dallas and then, finally, to Houston.  In the "It's a small world" category we ran into people we knew Dan Haslam and other people from Walkabout in the Dallas airport. They were on their way home from Nashville but had also had their flight plans changed by the same airlines.

We arrived in Houston after midnight.  My first class was at 9am the next morning.

The Convention Center is huge. Everything is red, white, and blue.
Sculpture with Convention Center in Background

It is a large show with nearly 1,000 vendors, plus days of classes, and hundreds of exhibits.

A tiny bit of the vendor space. In two hours, you couldn't see everything, even if you walked very fast.
A quilted car cover

Classes were in session before the vendor space and exhibits were open. The first class I took was Robbi Joy Eklow's Fabric Fusing.  Robbi writes a column "Goddess of the Last Minute" for the magazine Quilting Arts.

Part of the class fee included our choice of one of her quilt patterns. I chose a Steampunk design:

Steampunk by Robbi Joy Eklow

After she demonstrated her technique I considered my talents and bought an additional, easier, pattern.
Pattern by Robbi Joy Eklow

My next class was Creative Faces with Shiva Paintsticks with Patty Culea.  This was a half-day class and a lot of fun. I went out afterwards and bought a set of paintsticks so I could try it on my own.

My last class was on making a Sashiko Hanten Jacket was taught by Carroll J. Jones. She was a good teacher who inspires her students.  A young lady who had taken the class from her last year came in during the break and showed off her finished jacket.

Up to this time my husband had been being a tourist on his own, but he joined me for the Quiltapalooza. This was a big party with a "fancy shoe" contest and lots of prizes.  I didn't win a prize but I got some fat quarters, a calendar, and a free magazine. Cool! Here are some great photos of the shoe contest taken by Susan Brubaker Knapp.

As a general rule, I would recommend against taking your husband or significant other to the Houston International Quilt Festival if they are not really interested in quilting and you don't have a car.  There is not that much to do around the Convention Center.   Although there are many things to see and do in Houston, Houston is so huge and attractions are so far apart that you need a car to get around.  There is public transportation, but it seems geared towards bringing workers into the city during the week and taking them home afterwards. Many routes did not run during the weekend.

On Thursday we took the light rail to the Museum District and visited the Museum of Fine Arts, which was free that day.

Pedestrian walk near the museum district.
Art car in park near Convention Center

Mounted patrolman near Macy's

Entrance to underground shopping area. Only open Monday to Friday, and most shops closed around 2pm.

Unfortunately, on Friday night my husband came down with a very bad case of stomach flu or possibly food poisoning. On Saturday we spent several hours in an urgent care center, and the rest of the trip was pretty much spent in the hotel room. By the time he recovered, it was time to go home.

View from our hotel room, Houston

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