So I got a surprising email from Heather Grant last week. It was an email to inform me that they hadn't yet received my spiderweb quilt for the 2015 QuiltCon exhibition. Puzzling, since I had never received notification of its acceptance. The mahjong quilt, yes. Sleeve and label stitched on and mailed off promptly. The spiderweb? Nope. I immediately emailed Heather back - had there been some mistake? Turns out, no. For whatever reason, one acceptance email arrived in my inbox, the other? Into the spam folder I'm guessing. Sigh. But also: hurrah! I got both accepted! Very cheering on an otherwise not-great day.
The next morning I stitched on a sleeve and label, packaged it all up and headed off to the nearest UPS spot. It was one I hadn't been to before in Bushwick. It was a hybrid store, the front of it art supplies, in the back shipping and packaging. It was completely empty when I entered. I approached the small, enclosed room in the rear where I sensed a human presence. As I approached, a woman looked up from her monitor and greeted me warmly. She was transgender. This tripped me up for a split-second, shamefully. I handed her my box and told her I wanted to overnight it. She started tapping on her keyboard and then frowned at her screen.
"It's going to Austin?' she asked. "Hmmm. This is going to be pricey."
"Yeah, I know," I said. "About 70 bucks, right?" I had done a quick price check online beforehand. It needed to be there the next day or it wouldn't be eligible for competition.
"Uh, no," she said. "It's going to run more like 160 bucks."
Crap. I was prepared to pony up 70 dollars for delivery, but no more. I stood there for a second weighing my (non) options. She glanced at the label on my box.
"What's Quilt Con? Is that like Comic Con?" She asked.
"Uh, yeah I guess, insofar as it's a convention for quilters." I said, "But without the sexy costumes."
She giggled. Looked back at her screen.
"So they 're all over the country, then? These quilting people?" She was googling MQG.
"You mean the guilds?" I asked. "Yeah, they have them all over the country, and I think internationally, too."
Her eyebrows went up. I could tell she found this weird and a little surprising. Which made me giggle.
"Everybody's got their own subculture, sister." I said (in my head).