Quilt festivals serious business

If you’re reading this column I guess I didn’t get fired.

After I missed my deadline to hand in a column last week my editor and I bargained by text message for several minutes that Friday. He wanted to know how quickly I could get it into him and being up to my ears in putting on the 6th Annual High Plains Quilt Festival I knew I couldn’t do it until after he needed it.

He replied that he would run without me and see if anyone noticed.

Boy that hurts, hopefully my mother, at least, called to complain about my column missing. But then she was busy at the quilt festival too, not helping but partaking of our efforts.

My experience with quilting until recently was a raffle quilt that I won once and numerous winter hours spent sleeping under quilts. Yet, somehow about the time I normally write my weekly missive I found myself playing emcee at a quilt award dinner and trunk showing. The lady with the program had wonderful looking quilts, each one with an interesting story, but I never did see her trunk. No one but me seemed too concerned about the speaker short-changing us that way, though.

I learned earlier in the week that playing coordinator to a quilt committee of five serious quilting ladies while setting up 200 quilts for display can be a little nerve-wracking. The committee had the tools, the numbers and the motivation to hang me among the quilt display, fortunately they did not.

I knew we were hanging the quilts on Tuesday and getting them up as soon as possible was important but I assumed I would have a little down time away from the show during the week and I didn’t realize things would start early and go late before the show started.

Who knew it was going to take two-and-a-half days for the judge to write her comments and make her selections. It was like being in a library while the judging was going on, no loud talking or yelling for a stepladder or you where sure to get shushed by a committee member.

The judge, with glasses on the end of her nose, looked as if she could have been a librarian in another life but with glasses at parade-rest over a potluck lunch she was a delightful lady.

Clean hands or gloves were important when handling the quilts. It was also important not to let a quilt drag the floor when you were hanging or removing it. That is a tall order for a short man like me.

Somehow I managed to keep the women in our classroom at the chamber and the ladies at the show at the Memorial Building happy most of the time over the two-day show, despite my penny-pinching ways.

The show was a huge success and I would gladly take all the credit except for a couple of facts. I saw how hard and long that committee of ladies and the numerous volunteers worked all week long and — I still don’t know a darn thing about quilting.