I've found that going to library association conventions and attending the Houston International Quilt Festival have several things in common. It is amazing to see the number of people attending both (tens of thousands). Food and drinks on site are very expensive and you come away with bags feeling like they weigh a ton.

Fabrics and books can get heavy once you get several of each. Actually, I ended up with a bag of books that I caught on sale Saturday afternoon.

Prior to going on the trip, I took some time to go through my fabric stash and organize it by colors and projects. That helped me get a feel for what I already had. I actually didn't buy a lot of fabrics considering the hundreds of fabric stores I browsed through.

What I did buy were tools to hopefully help me sew and cut patterns. I bought more individual patterns for table runners and quilts that I thought I'd really like to make.

Since redoing the bedroom into a real sewing room, I've wanted a good sewing chair. I've had my eye on one but I didn't want to buy it without seeing it in person.

The company was there as I expected. I found their booth on Friday and enjoyed resting and testing out their chairs. I should be receiving mine in another week or so.

By the end of Friday, I wished I'd used the package check to lighten my loads so I could enjoy walking around without continually shifting the book bags or having them slip off my non-existent shoulders. I learned that lesson on Saturday after I loaded up on books.

That brings me to a personal peeve with these types of events. They don't allow the small suitcases on wheels because someone might trip on them. What they should realize is that people continually bump into each other any time people are milling around looking at things.

But if they had the bag on wheels customers might buy more if they could cart it around and not wear themselves out lugging overloaded bags.

The Quilt Festival is truly an international event. Quilts and fabrics from all over the world, as well as the accents of people were intriguing to listen to. It seemed to me that the types of quilts in the show had shifted from the traditional hand or machine quilted (or a combination of both) toward the art and/or embellished quilts.

Going through the quilt exhibits is much like going to an art museum. Definitely something there for everyone's personal taste. Some remind me of Grandma Moses, others of Georgia O'Keefe and a lot of abstract art.

I enjoyed my roommate, a lady from Canada, who was visiting the area for a month. About 30 people from our area and Rockport were on the bus. We had a relaxing trip and a fun time at show-and-tell Saturday night at the hotel.

We were warned to take note in the program as to where we purchased things because after show-and-tell someone would just have to have what we bought. True enough, including me. So Sunday was spent revisiting booths and picking up those last-minute items.

I got to meet Alex Anderson, Eleanor Burns and Ricky Tims, all well known quilters and teachers. I now have their autographs.

One aspect I really love about getting away is not having a television or radio on, or even a newspaper. It was a true getaway weekend with no stress from a long drive.

Lynda Whitton is the head librarian for the Northwest Branch Library in Corpus Christi. Readers may contact her at 241-9329.