The Flight Family (And QuiltCon ’18)

posted in: Family, Quilting, Work 11
A Scandinavian airline scene from 1968. That stewardess is literally serving prosciutto off the bone while her counterpart bones a fish. This is a real picture from real life. Photo: Wikipedia.


I’m back from Los Angeles, back from QuiltCon 2018. What an incredible show, what an incredible quilt culture we have in America. Just think of all the people and art and history and innovation and fun that comes together at a show like that. Incredible. Thank you to all who had anything to do with QuiltCon this year, from the people who made quilts in the show to those who just enjoyed the scenery from social media. We need everyone.

Things I did at QuiltCon included but were not limited to:

  • delivered a lecture on the AIDS Quilt (one of my best ever, I am satisfied to admit)
  • gave a tour of the AIDS Quilt panels I curated for the show
  • was interviewed by Angela Walters for Craftsy (thanks, Walters!!)
  • gave a lecture on the modern quilt and the future of it (*this also went well and I’ll return to the topic of the lecture in a future post)
  • interviewed people for Quiltfolk
  • meet’ed and greet’ed quilters at the BabyLock booth
  • saw amazing friends, fans, colleagues
  • drooled on quilts (not really, but close, okay maybe a little actual drool, oops, saarrry)

Things I did not do:

  • blog
  • take many pictures

The funny thing about a big show is that you think you’re going to have time away from the computer and therefore be free, somehow, to “take it all in” and then — if you’re me — write about it as soon as you get back to your hotel room. But that’s never how it works out for this one.

Conferences like Quilt Market and QuiltCon are so totally packed with activity, so totally frenetic with action — to the point of being almost manic — that when it’s time to shut my hotel door at the end of the long day, doing much of anything is highly unlikely, especially since my “anything” frequently involves thinking thoughts, crafting them into halfway-well-written sentences, then posting them for public consumption. Historically, I’m just not able to do anything that complicated at the end of a “show day.”

For example, one night I got into my room, ate some cheese popcorn and fell asleep with the lights on with a faint cheese powder ring around my mouth. The next night, after two celebratory margs with the Quiltfolk photographer (I’m telling you, I crushed my lectures; I deserved to tie one on), I got into my room, washed my face, and proclaimed, literally out loud, “Who needs pajamas?” and fell asleep in my shirt.

Thank goodness QuiltCon is done until next year because a) I don’t need to be eating cheese popcorn alone; and b) everyone needs pajamas. Besides, if I neglect my blog, think how many wonderful, interesting, hard, tricky, beautiful, strange, funny, frightening, and surprising stories and anecdotes and observations will never reach you? I have to reach you with these things; otherwise, where will they go?

For example: On the way to Los Angeles, the Southwest flight attendant got on the PA and said:

“Welcome to Southwest Airlines, ladies and gentlemen. I’m Rick, your head flight attendant this afternoon. Joining me today is my daughter, Bethany, in the back of the aircraft, and my son-in-law, John, is here at the front with me today!”

Isn’t that wonderful? The flight family! A family of flight attendants had all been able to arrange their schedules to be on the same flight. I thought that was really nice. I had a nice feeling about that.

And I needed to tell you.

11 Responses

  1. Janet
    | Reply

    She’s back! So glad you had a good time and everything went well. So glad you are back – you have been missed!

  2. Laurie
    | Reply

    You’re the best. Thanks!

  3. Janice Simmons
    | Reply

    I’d agree. Your AIDS quilt lecture was amazing . I was truly moved (to tears as was the lady a few rows in front of me). I lived that time and those fears and knew people who passed or were afraid because their partner passed. Thank you for doing your amazing research and sharing those details and stats (yes, we love stats). I enjoyed how you brought it around to #metoo in your eloquent way. I’m still thinking about and talking about your lecture. Keep ’em coming Mary. You are a Master lecturer.

  4. HelenMarie Marshall
    | Reply

    That plane sounds like today’s White House, but more friendly! And, yeah, sweeter! Hope to see you at QuiltCon in Nashville (and have my red and white quilt from Savannah FINISHED!).

  5. Rachel
    | Reply

    But what if they craaaaaaasssshhhhed?
    Entire family wiped out.

  6. Bonnie
    | Reply

    Your lecture on Modern Quilts was great. My non – quilting friend was amazed and I was almost breathless at the amount of information you imparted in such a limited amount of time. I had great expectations for the lecture, and you exceeded them. Mary Fons, you rock!!

  7. Kathy Hellesen
    | Reply

    I didn’t get to Quiltcon in time to hear your AIDS quilt lecture, but the exhibit had me in tears. That’s my generation up there in those birth/death dates and seeing the quilts brought it all back. (I lost some friends to the disease.) I did get to hear your second lecture, which was fabulous! Yours and Laura McDowell Hopper’s talk on “Quilts and Human Rights” made a great one-two punch on quilts as powerful creations. Can’t wait to see what you two come up with for “Patchwork City.”

  8. Barbara
    | Reply

    Is there some way we will be able to hear your AIDS lecture?
    I also want to see or hear your interview with Craftsy and also the interviews you did with Quiltfolk.
    Yes Mary, you were busy, fun busy.

    • Cara
      | Reply

      I second the request for a way to hear the AIDS quilt lecture. Pretty please?

  9. Betty
    | Reply

    My husband and I are already making plans to go next year! Nashville may be as close as it gets for a while. (We’re in NC.)

  10. Juanita Warren
    | Reply

    Thank you for the lecture on AIDS quilts. My brother gave me the honor of making his. He told me what he wanted and it turned out beautiful. He had it on his wall several years before he passed and now I treasure it. Thanks again Mary, I truly enjoy seeing you and, reading your blogs and admire your strength through medical issues! Love you girl!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *