The good news is: the Minnesota Quilters Show happens June 13-15, 2019, and The 70273 Project will be there as a Special Exhibit. The bad news is: I will not be there this year because at the last minute, my third eye treatment had to be rescheduled on June 13, and since I’m out of commission that day and up to three days after, well, do the math. It just won’t work this year, and I’m heartbroken. Many quilts will be there, though, and I made sure to send all the quilts I had available that contain threads of Minnesota.
PREPARING QUILTS FOR TRAVEL
Ever wonder how I prepare quilts to ship to a Special Exhibit? Well, get a life . . . I mean, just pull up a chair cass I’m about to tell you.
It’s not unusual for it to take me 12 hours or more to get a shipment of quilts ready and on their way. First, I pull the quilts that have connections to the place they’re headed. I wasn’t able to get all of the quilts with connections to people who live in Minnesota because many are in exhibits elsewhere, but I sent every one I had in inventory. On a form I created, I note the quilt number, the dimensions of each quilt, and the number of commemorations in each quilt. I send that to the Special Exhibit Coordinator who does the math, figures out which quilts will best fill the space they have available, then sends me back the list of the quilts they want
After giving the now-don’t-any-of-you-take-it-personally-if-you-weren’t-selected-this-time-cause-it’s-not-about-you-it’s-all-about-the-numbers-(and-nobody-here-is-fat), I pull the requested quilts – something that will be made much faster and easier when everything is entered in The Database. That’s something you can do from anywhere in the world, so if you know you way around a spreadsheet, are on good terms with your computer, and are willing to pitch in and help, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with Peggy Thomas who is our Fearless Leader of the Data Angels. She’ll tell you everything you need to know and get you the information you need to get started. And if you’re already a Data Angel, thank you.
Back to our blog post, already in progress.
Once I’ve checked the pulled quilts against the please-send roster at least 3 times to make sure I didn’t leave anybody – I mean any quilt – out, I put the quilts in clear plastic bags for protection from the elements. I use the handy-dandy form I created to note which quilts are in each box, keeping a copy for me and tucking a copy inside each box as a packing slip. On the handy-dandy packing list form is printed in large bold letters my contact information as well as the contact information for the intended recipient. I revise the information and print out copies for the Special Exhibits Coordinator to use for the return trip.
If two quilts share a plastic bag, I tuck a note inside the bag telling which quilts are in that bag. (A seeming waste of time task that has come in handy more than once, believe it or not.) The paperwork for each box goes in page protectors to protect it from the elements, and I include clean printouts of the paper work for the return trip along with more clear plastic bags because I tape the bags shut which means the receiver will likely have to tear them open, rendering them unusable for a second trip.
Before sealing the boxes, I label them on the outside as Box 1 of 3, Box 2 of 3, Box 3 of 3, and so on. I decorate the outside of each box with something colorful (and hopefully entertaining) so if one box should miss a traffic light and get separated from the others, I can tell folks on the receiving end what to look for.
LET THE JOURNEY BEGIN
Once I’ve checked the quilts in each box at least 3 times (yes, there’s a lot of making a list and checking it thrice) to make sure the information on the packing list is correct, the boxes are taped shut, loaded into the truck, and off we go to find the nearest shipping place (which, if we’re in NC, is at least an hour’s drive away).
And yes, I do kiss each box as it leave my hands (you know I do) and admonish the shipper to take good care and make sure every box arrives safely. (They don’t always listen, but we’ll talk about that another day.)
When back home, I email the Special Exhibits Coordinator and give her the tracking information, intended arrival date, and, of course, my promise to do the tracking myself because she doesn’t need one more thing added to her to do list.
Things I’ve learned about packing quilts for traveling:
~ Like newborn babies, the quilts are happier and safer when there’s little free space for them to move around in the box.
~ All the paperwork is not an expenditure but an investment of time. I don’t want anybody along the way to have no idea what they’re holding and who to call. (Remind me to tell you a story about that some day.)
~ The boxes – even the sturdiest ones – are good for only one trip there and back.
~ Tape is not something you skimp on.
~ I use only clear plastic bags because if somebody sees a sealed dark green or black garbage bag, well, I don’t need or want to finish that sentence for you.
QUILTS HAVE LANDED IN MINNESOTA
If anybody who’s going can spend some time in The 70273 Project Exhibit to tell folks about what they’re looking at and feeling (everybody feels these quilts – they really do) and answer questions, that would be better than terrific. Let me know and I’ll tell you some of the most frequently asked questions along with my phone number so you can call me any time. And hey, y’all promise y’all will send me pictures.
So that’s the shipping process in a nutshell. If you have other ideas and information about shipping, if you have contacts with the major shipping companies, if you have a good source for shipping supplies, if you’d like to exhibit some quilts, or if you’d like to become a Data Angel let me know. And if you’d like to don your wings and join the Monthly Angel Members to help cover the cost of not just shipping supplies but the actual transit costs (and a whole of of other things, for that matter, cause yes, there are 70273 Project expenses), use the donate button in the side bar or send me an email, and I’ll tell you how and where you can make checks.