Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Few Thoughts to End the Summer

My how time flies, my last post was in March and here it is September.  That is a lot of miles down the road.  But I really have not had a lot to say, that I could say without getting angry.  Much has happened, the quilting landscape is still changing again, but some things remain the same.  So let’s talk about what I see coming down the pike as Quilter’s Rule gets ready to do its final run of shows for 2014.  Our next stop is the third weekend in October at the Pacific International Quilt Show in Santa Clara, CA.  The new San Francisco 49er’s Stadium across the street from the convention center is complete.  Construction blocking parking lots is over.  Thankfully, San Francisco is playing at Denver the last day of the show.  So parking will be much improved this year.  We look forward to a great show.

The Quilter’s Rule Third Tool Challenge to benefit the Military will start its tour at the new Mancuso Show in Palm Springs, CA, the first weekend in October.   Then it will travel to PIQF where we will pick it up and bring it home.  The challenge tool for this exhibit was Gaylee Quilting’s Thirtysomething Tool.  If you would like more information on the fourth Tool Challenge using the Wonder Cut Triangle ruler visit the Quilter’s Rule website at .  I ask you to support our Military members by supporting this tool challenge, make a quilt.  I am a Viet Nam veteran; we were treated horribly when we came home.  Not since WWII have service members been treated as well as they are today.  In part because Viet Nam vets and vets from all conflicts since are making sure our country never treats veterans poorly again.  Help us continue to make our service members welcome as they return home.  I have a special place in my heart for Viet Nam vets, so I always look to find them first.  Please help me to let them know how much they are appreciated.   I have carried my quilt with me for five years; it was the first thing anyone did to let me know what I did was appreciated.  It actually means more to me than the Bronze Star I was awarded.

As many of you probably already know I have managed the Machine Quilting Today’s Upper Midwest Show for the past five years.  While we have been modestly successful it has never been a roaring success.  This month MQX will open a new machine show in Springfield, Il and MQS the show that MQX broke off from, has decided to move their show to Cedar Rapids, IA.  I think they are hoping lighting will strike twice because of the success MQS had there.  Three machine quilting shows sharing teachers, vendors and patrons within 300 miles of one another.  And that does not include the six other major quilting shows within 300 miles of each of these shows.  The good news is I wanted a machine show in the Upper Midwest, and I have had one for five years and will have one for the foreseeable future.  The bad news is three machine shows are two too many.  Something has to give.  We decided, because we were the smallest of the shows, our show should vacate the field.   Now it becomes a tug of war between MQS and MQX. 

No one can pick winners or losers.  But in my opinion, in order to have a high quality machine quilting show, there should only be one in the Midwest.   Our show announced it was shutting down and threw its support to MQS.  I would ask that you do the same.  Let me tell you why I think this is important.  MQX has its flagship show in New Hampshire, in the past it has been a very successful show.  MQS started the trend of machine quilting shows and has always been located somewhere in the Midwest.  First in Springfield, IL, then Overland Park, KS,  then Wichita, KS, and now Cedar Rapids, IA.  They have always geographically stayed in the Midwest.  HMQS, a wildly successful show started and remains in Salt Lake City, UT.  That is three shows spaced out across the United States, with only the West Coast without a machine show since MQX withdrew from Portland, OR and there is no indication on their website they intend to return.  

If you are a vendor, as I am you need to pick fewer shows in a geographic area.  If you decide to do every show in an area, you will increase your expenses, and reduce your revenue per dollar spent.  If you are a teacher, and pay your way to shows, you will also increase your expenses and reduce your revenue per dollar spent and give the students a reason to not make a decision today.  Finally, if you are an attendee or student, and unless you have an unlimited budget, you will have to reduce the amount of money you can spend on merchandise and classes, because it will cost you more to attend all the shows. 

Only the show promoters win.