Friday, October 30, 2009

AQS Des Moines Show: Day Penultimate

Another busy and packed day. Fortunately the morning wasn't quite so early and Clures and I could get into town after rush hour traffic. No accidents and no rain (and only one U-turn). We'll call that a good commute.

We started in the Historical East Village, a neighbourhood of nice [touristy] shops, and we started at Pure Paper. I am addicted to all things paper! I found some nice things on the discount table, including a pack of assorted greeting cards.
I couldn't see which cards were included and bought it solely because I liked the top card. (The "Tic Tac Snow" card, right side.) Imagine my delight when I went through and found this fabulous mitten card--could there be anything better?! Love it!

We visited a few more shops doing more admiring than buying. By then it was time to return to the car. Unfortunately we had forgotten to feed the meter (despite my purse being weighed down with change the whole trip) and we had a parking ticket. Bah!

Not a good note to end on, but it was time for Clures to fly away home. She dropped me at the hotel and then I was on my own. I had nothing scheduled til 6 that night, and some knitting calling my name so after I got myself settled into my room, I settled in my room. There's nothing like some good knitting time in front of reruns and...getting a project done!

I finished my first sock:And here's the hat-heel:
Isn't it fabulous!? And fits like a dream. The leg ended up a lot longer than I thought it was going to be when I considered how much yarn was left after finishing the toe. Eight rows to an inch gets you pretty far, I guess!

Then it was time to get out of the hotel room. I decided to head to the Iowa State Capitol Building:
There's a free shuttle that runs across the downtown. I missed the first one by seconds. I missed the second one because it didn't see me huddling in the doorway out of the cold wind and I didn't see it coming. I did catch the third one. Considering they come every 10 minutes, that's 20 minutes out in the cold I'll never get back...

My visit to the capitol building was a little strange. The building is nice and has some very nice things to see. I wanted a tour so that I could find out all those interesting things that I don't know I don't know. The stories behind the things. The three people at the tour desk told me a tour could start in 10 minutes but that the rules prohibited them from giving a tour to just one person.

I laughed because there was like nobody around and there was no way more people were going to show up in the next 10 minutes. And nobody did. So I did the self-guided tour while the three of them sat at the desk and talked about what they ate for lunch, or what they were going to have for dinner, or some other equally important topic.

Sorry, does this sound too much like complaining? It was just too weird. (Is this where I say, "That's government for you?" Well, I'm not going to.)

I visited both chambers (House and Senate--that is what you call them in this country, isn't it?), but the most impressive room was the library.
Look at all those rows and stacks and balconies of books! What intricate railings! And strictly for the librarians is a matching spiral staircase to get to all the levels:
Also included is a dumbwaiter so they don't have to carry all those precious books up and down the narrow stairs:
And lest you think I've completely lost the "crafty" part of this blog, there were quilt blocks everywhere in the building:
Surely you see the quilt blocks there? It's not just me, right?

And this window in the dome of the library:
And even the common stairway:
Look at all those great quarter-square triangles and the fancy quilting "motifs" represented in white.

When I decided my tour was over, I grabbed the free shuttle again (did a little better with the timing this time) and swung by the River Walk to show you a new bridge they're putting in:
See how the two halves swing apart before coming back together at the other side? It's so elegant. One of the pedestrian bridges they're building/improving along the river. I'll need to come back so I can walk out on it.

After admiring the bridge, I went back into the show and took another look at the quilts. I also took my first real look at the vendors. I swung by Cheryl Barnes' booth and caught part of her lecture about how and where to quilt. (Can you tell that's something I'm thinking a lot about right now?)

I ended up buying two books, Distinctive Designs in Continuous Line and More Than Celtic both by Shauna Thompson:
They're both basic books of beginner designs, which is where I'm at, so that's good.
I think the designs are a little faint in the picture, but basically the designs are laid out with directions on how to adapt to machine and continuous-line designs.

One thing I've picked up at this show is that I need to build a "stash" of quilting designs as much as a stash of fabric options. Now, I try very hard to keep my stash "reasonable" (understanding that everyone draws the line at a different place) and I expect I'll do the same with quilting designs. But zero is not really reasonable if you want some options or something to get the ideas going. Three books this trip will get things started!

When I had seen about as much as I could take in, I went to wait for Ami Simms' lecture on Living with Quilts. I think I was about an hour and a half early (which was fine because I needed to start that second sock) and was just in time to see the line start. And grow. And grow. Pretty soon they had a second line because the first one ran out of room.

But I just sat on my bench (padded bench) and let them line up. As far as I knew there were chairs for everyone with a ticket and you can hear Ami just as good from the back of the room as the front. So I let them line up. I bonded with some other women who came and shared my bench and my attitude about lines.

I have to say even if I had had to wait in the line--standing the whole time--it still would have been worth it. Ami was very funny (her delivery resembles Ellen's if that gives you any idea). She started late but had everyone eating out of the palm of her hand right from the start. Very fun.

Then it was a good long walk through the elevated skyways that Des Moines has. The whole downtown is accessible by weather-impervious "sidewalks." Pretty clever of them, isn't it!?

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