Keeping It Real: Preparation for the Quilt Guild Show


Oh, those loving hands at home! Not only can you see the product of loving hands, right now, in the North Country, you can actually HEAR the loving hands—the chugging sound of an old Singer Featherweight, the whir of a high-powered long-arm quilting machine, the snip of scissors.

The soft curses under the breath. Well . . . maybe that’s just me.

You see, tomorrow is the day when the quilts get hung for our local guild’s biennial show. Some 400 quilts will be dropped off and hoisted onto racks.

And that means a whole lot of quilters are working frantically today, to finish those quilts.

We all like to show off our finished products and, as bloggers know, we love to show pretty pictures of pristine projects, perfectly finished.

But in the spirit of keeping it real, most crafters would need to admit that, though we do what we do for love, we still procrastinate in doing it. Why? Because we still believe that we work best under pressure, just as we did when we were in junior high, trying to finish that book report on Catcher in the Rye.

So, I’m keeping it honest here and admitting that I spent the last several hours of my life, hours I will never have back again, removing cat hair from the quilts I will enter into this show.

My fellow quilters are finishing sewing on the binding and are making pretty labels for their quilts. Some will sit in their cars tomorrow, at the show locale, and put in the last stitches before, triumphant, they bring the quilt inside.

Me? I used up an acre of extra-sticky lint roller tape. (Who invented lint rollers? Where is their Nobel prize?!)


I had to do the front and back of each quilt because quilters love to look at the backs of other people’s quilts.


Who puts black fabric on the back of a quilt that resides in a multi-cat home?

Hey! You! Get off of my quilt!

Hey! You! Get off of my quilt!

Right this second, my quilts look as good as they ever have. They are secured in plastic bags and will be put in a cat-free zone until morning, assuming there is such a place in this house!

We’ll all finish our final tweaks and cut the last stray threads. And, come Saturday morning, the doors will open on an Adirondack-themed wonderland of creativity and the efforts of loving hands.

Everything will look perfect and the sounds of sewing machine and scissors (and swearing, but that’s just me) will be replaced by oohs and ahhs of admiration and compliments for the work on display.

I wish you could be there!


41 thoughts on “Keeping It Real: Preparation for the Quilt Guild Show

  1. Taking a break from making chocolates is obviously not always a stress free occupation obviously! I think you will find that kitty [or any kitty] sitting atop the sealed plastic bag is, by a process of osmosis, inserting as many hairs as possible into the item inside the bag before it is whisked away…………….. Just sayin’ you might like to take your sticky tape with you for the final reveal …..

    Have a wonderful exhibition!! 🙂 xo

  2. I wish I could be there to ……. I’ve done the lint thing. Hasten back to 1989, first quilt in a show. Got it ready to take and asked the kid to get me a pillow case. He took the one off my feather pillow that had a hole in it. Got to the exhibition place needing to pluck nasty feathers off my navy, fuchsia and purple quilt. It didn’t win.

    • Oh, Melanie–I think you know me well enough to know that, if I’d been working on new quilts, I’d be making a big deal about it here! These are quilts I’ve finished since the last show, 2 years ago, and one even older one. The 1812 quilt will be on display again and another I wrote about awhile ago.

  3. You know what else works in a pinch? Cheap cellulose sponges. Their sticky surface pulls the hair right off.
    I believe that 200 years from now, when scholars are using their super new technology to investigate quilts from our era, based on genetic testing of the hairs inside the quilt layers, they will conclude that my quilts must have been created by cats!
    Have fun at the show, can’t wait to hear about it!

    • That’s funny–I’m always trying to project what future scientists will think of our artifacts, too! Some of the cat hair I was trying to remove was actually quilted right in, under the stitches. The show should be good–I was there, helping hang quilts yesterday, and there’s amazing variety!

  4. You can also vacuum them with an upholstery brush, thereby probably scaring the cats from the vacuuming and the quilts. I have a friend who used to have to vacuum her husband before he left for work in the morning, except that was golden retriever…Enjoy the quilt extravaganza! I hope yours win, place and show!

    • I like the image of vacuuming one’s husband! This show isn’t a competition, although I think there are ribbons for Viewers’ Favorite or something. It’s really a showcase for the guild members to strut their stuff!

  5. Oh Kerry, I would LOVE to come! Your post made me smile. Like you, I have made many quilts and embraced the challenge of keeping stitches even and of ever finishing the thing. But the biggest joy, for me, was sharing the fabric and wadding with one or other of my cats. Sewing is such a challenge and a comfort and both aspects are made more rewarding when shared with a feline friend. I know that all your quilts, whether hand or machine quilted, will be improved by being sat on by a cat! ( I saw perfectly even stitching, by the way. You are a perfectionist in everything you do).
    Enjoy the show!

    • I love hand quilting and seeing those tiny stitches line up. My stitching can be quite good or quite sloppy, depending on my focus and how many cats are helping at any given moment! And I agree about having the cats around when I quilt–they can sit on my work any time they want!

    • Oh, I’ll probably be showing you more of the quilt show in general, since it’s taking up a lot of my life right now! The trouble will be deciding what photos to show–since so many of the quilts are really beautiful. I like that the show reflects this region–there are many quilts with a Adirondack or rustic theme.

    • That’s true! I have a black cat for light fabrics and yellow cat for dark! The show starts in a few hours in what, at noon yesterday, was a big empty gym. A LOT of work happened in the last 24 hours!

    • Oh, I HATE the sleeves! And two of my quilts had sleeves I had done, just to hang them at home, but then I got the requirements for this show and the sleeves needed to be wider so I had to sew. them. again. UGH!

  6. Thanks for keeping it real. I love it. This post brings back memories of when we had a dog. I often had dog hair on my suits suits back then. I’d inevitably notice the hair shortly before a presentation and end up frantically searching for the nearest store that sold lint rollers. (Scotch tape works pretty well for removing lint in a pinch.)

    • Ah, yes, the Scotch tape trick! I’m glad I had a brand new lint roller, ready to serve, for the quilts–I went through the whole thing! I’d’ve needed about 20 rolls of Scotch tape!

  7. You mean you didn’t go put them in the car after you de-haired and bagged them? Coming from a former 2 dogs, 2 cats 1 fish household I TOTALLY get you on this. And we’ll get to see pics of your work, right? Please?
    BTW, fish don’t shed. Just saying’ 🙂

    • My car isn’t much more fur-free than my house! I’m taking the lint roller the morning, for one last swipe at the quilts before the show opens at 10. I imagine i’ll post photos of my quilts–I’ve actually done blog posts about two of the three. And thanks for asking!

  8. Pingback: Autumn as Antidote | Love Those "Hands at Home"

  9. This post gave me such a chuckle. We joke about cat hair around here all the time, as it’s everywhere, not matter what you do. We have all the fur colors represented as well, so it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing when the fur flying is black and white…and grey.

    I’m also smiling at the procrastination and the soft swearing under one’s breath. I had some choice words for my machine earlier in the week when the thread continued to break. It’s all part and parcel of the process I think.

    I hope you’ll post some of the amazing quilts on display. I haven’t attended a quilt show in years. I think it’s about time I change that.

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