Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Decoding Houston Quilt Festival Classes (for quilters)

In late October/early November, the biggest convention of the year comes to the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. No, it's not ComiCon or even a Microsoft gathering--it's when quilters from all over the world fly into Houston to gather together. They take classes, buy material---tons of it---award prizes for fabulous work (the Best of Show gets a $10,000 check!) and stay up till the wee hours comparing fabric finds and demonstrating to their buddies what they learned that day in class. And they eat. Downtown Houston restaurants are jammed with wide-eyed hungry women lugging large bags. They want a nice meal and a sit-down and are willing to pay for the privilege. And they tip. And call Uber drivers 'Dear.' 

This is my tribe. Call it a gathering of the clans, a coven or simply a huge party but come late October I'll be winging my way down to humid Houston to meet my peeps.

This year it's a bit different if you want to sign up for classes at Festival. Quilts Inc., the entity that organizes Quilt Festival, has not always taken to the digital road with enthusiasm but mark this year: all the registrations and class sign-ups are happening online. And it opens July 15th. 

If in the past you've been disappointed you didn't get into a particular class, now's the time to read the class catalog online and put a check by what you want to take. And sit by your computer, charge card in hand, and get ready to sign up. You have a better chance this year of getting the class you want than ever before.

Go read the class catalog here http://www.quilts.com/quilt-festival-houston-classes-and-events-monday.html . Click on the days you want to take classes and there you go. And now for the advertisement: I'm teaching the first two days of Quilt Festival, Monday October 28th and Tuesday October 29th.  My classes are all hand work and I provide the kits. You have very little to do except show up. I opted for half-day classes since so many people want to taste a technique before plunging in. You can still get a lot done in three hours!

Speaking of showing up--if you're staying in a hotel near the convention center, good for you--with only a little planning you can get to class on time. If you're driving in, plan on the trip taking twice as long as usual. These are work days and Houston always has downtown traffic. And you have to park and walk into the convention center, go up to the third floor (all classes are on the third floor) and find the classroom. In addition to anything you're asked to bring to a class, always pack a light jacket or sweater. "It's Houston for pity's sake!" you say. Yep, and the convention center has the AC cranked. 

When you look at a class, note its number and any letters after the title and before the instructor's name. Here's what those letters mean: 

CLASS SYMBOL CODE
E                     EVERY SKILL LEVEL
B                     BEGINNER LEVEL
B/I                  BEGINNER/INTERMEDIATE LEVEL
                     INTERMEDIATE LEVEL
I/A                  INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED LEVEL
A                     ADVANCED LEVEL
H                     HAND SEWING
D                     DESIGN WORK
AP                  ADVANCE PREPARATION REQUIRED
MM                MIXED-MEDIA FOCUS
PJ                    PROJECT-ORIENTED
PC                   PROCESS-ORIENTED
SM                  SEWING MACHINES PROVIDED IN CLASS
S16                 HQ (HANDI QUILTER) SWEET SIXTEEN MACHINES PROVIDED IN CLASS
LA                   LONGARM MACHINES PROVIDED IN CLASS
CH                  COMPUTER-DESIGN CLASS (HANDS-ON)

For instance, my first class is #134 Welcome to Sashiko and the numbers are E,D,H, PJ. This means Every skill level, there is some Design work, it's a Hand Sewing class and it's Project-oriented. After the description of the class, you'll see the price ($45) and something called Mat Fee--which means the kit I provide ($25) and the total to take the class ($70). The last line in italics is what you need to bring (some scissors and a thimble). 

Truth in advertising here: my classes are #135-Welcome to Sashiko, #156-the 19th Century Pineapple Block, and on Tuesday in the morning #252 The Antique English Pleated Log Cabin Block.

Enrollment is limited and I ask that 25 be my cut-off number. That seems ideal and I can move around the room and get to everybody for one-on-one time. I love teaching in Houston and especially meeting quilters from other countries.