photo of fabric postcards

Quilt Canada, COVID-19 and UFOs, Oh My!

Carole McCarville
Autumn 2020

“What does this article’s heading mean?”, you may ask. By now we are all only too familiar with the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on our  lives. And many of you have either enjoyed attending past annual Quilt Canada conferences or experienced them through the pages of this magazine and the Association’s website. But where do UFOs come into this mix? And how the heck do these subjects relate to each other? Let me explain.

photo of Carole McCarville

Since being hired as CQA/ACC’s Executive Director in 2016 to oversee its day-to-day operations, I have worked with the board of directors, staff, contractors and volunteers on many interesting, challenging and rewarding activities and situations. However, because of the pandemic and its impact on our world the last three and a half months have been, without a doubt, my biggest challenge. As it relates to CQA/ACC, Quilt Canada has been the most obvious casualty of our current reality.

Navigating through first the postponement and then the inevitable cancellation of Quilt Canada 2020 in Edmonton, I have had to draw on many sources. My previous CQA/ACC experience as a Regional Representative and a member of the board, as well as my recent experience in the role as Executive Director and my education, all contributed toward being able to work through this. However, the most important factor has been that other people are involved in this process: the 2019-2020 members of the Board, staff, various contractors, volunteers, sponsors, vendors, Quilt Canada registrants and teachers, and countless CQA/ACC members. Together, they have all contributed to the Association being able to survive the cancellation of our very important annual event and look forward.

photo of a watercolour of yellow flowers

That is not to say that it has not been a busy, and at times hectic, spring in the “CQA/ACC Virtual Office.” When the decision to postpone Quilt Canada until the fall was made in April, hotels and the Edmonton Convention Centre had to be reserved for new dates. Then all stakeholders
had to be notified in a coordinated manner, with messages drafted and delivery arranged. Teachers were contacted to confirm their availability in September. Sponsor and vendor arrangements were re-booked for September as well. And the approximately 600 registrants needed to be contacted by Janet Kasper, our Quilt Canada Registrar, and offered refunds, if need be. Then there were the seemingly limitless additional minor details that had to be reviewed and changed as needed – Concurrent Shows, National Juried Show, Quilt Challenges, Workshops, Lectures…. You get the idea: busy, busy, busy!

But COVID-19 was not so easily banished and we had to repeat much of the same work as the difficult, but best, decision to cancel the conference was made a few weeks later. Our hearts sank. There were more messages, many more refunds, and alternative arrangements made for virtual shows, online voting for challenges, NJS entrants showing their quilts in 2021, and the myriad hotel and the convention centre details.

photo of an art quilt

In addition, the Annual General Meeting was required to be held before July 1, 2020. After consulting with the federal government, it was decided to go forward with a virtual AGM using Zoom. Feedback from attendees at the AGM on June 19 indicated that the meeting was very well received and went very smoothly; big sigh of relief!

The Association depends on the profits of the Quilt Canada conferences to offset general operating expenses and this income will be sorely missed, however, we do have a term deposit that we will draw on to even out the cash flow. As Jane Cramer, our President, mentioned in her
AGM Report, we have weathered this storm for the time being. We negotiated a full refund of the substantial deposit with the Edmonton Convention Centre and continue to work with other suppliers to mitigate our losses. At the same time, members stepped up to help by purchasing all the Quilt Canada 2020 commemorative lapel pins. Many member guilds generously allowed us to keep their Quilt Canada 2020 donations to be used this year and next, and some registrants kindly donated their registration fees to the Association. Quilters are the best.

photo of four pairs of red shoes

Carole’s collection of ruby red shoes is growing in anticipation of the 40th anniversary celebrations planned for Quilt Canada 2021.

And the business of the Association continues. At the time of this writing, our new website is nearing its August launch date and we are very excited about about the new features that it will offer our members and the efficiencies it will provide on the back end. New quilting activities are being planned for our members and arrangements continue for Quilt Canada 2021. Membership continues to grow and we invite you to continue encouraging quilters, guilds and shops that you know to become part of our creative community. All of us in the CQA/ACC office are very optimistic for the Association’s future.

photo of a purple and gold art quilt

Oh yes, about the UFO reference. As any quilter knows, UFO stands for Un-Finished Objects, of which I have many. With the recent flurry of activity in the office, plans to finish many of my UFOs have been put aside as I do not currently have the time nor energy to tackle them (although, before the virus came to visit I was able to finish postcards for the 2020 Postcard Challenge), but I do hope that you will enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at a few items that are waiting for me in my sewing room. Stay safe and keep on quilting!

Quilt Canada July 19-22, 2023

Quilt Canada July 19-22, 2023

Quilt Canada July 19-22, 2023 in Edmonton, Alberta