TEN Tips for Quilt Show Attendees


whether you’re a longtime quilter, or a weekend sewist of odds & ends, attending a premiere Quilt Show should be at top of your bucket list! There’s so much to see, and to do, and to learn at these events! But wait! Before you make those hotel reservations or board that plane, its important to make a plan, so do consider the following XX things which are listed in no particular order, except for #1… always do #1 first!

Studio Kat Designs

#1– Devise an Overall Plan– Decide beforehand what your priorities will be. There’s so many things to do at Quilt Shows and if you don’t have a plan, you may find yourself spinning your wheels trying to do it all in the first few hours you are there. Should seeing the Quilts be first? Is shopping the vendors high on your list? Have you checked out the lecture schedule or are you taking a class? Try to set yourself a preliminary schedule so you can move seamlessly between activities without wasting time.

#2--Wear Comfortable Shoes– You’re going to be up and on your feet for 8-10 ours each day so take along a couple of pairs of comfy shoes. Get some walking shoes or tennis shoes that don’t look weird with your show attire then alternate between pairs every other day. ( I swear by this routine!)

#3- Stay Hydrated- staying hydrated is one of the most difficult things about traveling or going to events and yet this is essential. It will help you maintain your overall health, prevent any dreaded headaches or leg cramps, PLUS it will force you to slow down and rest a bit…. (which leads me to…)

#4– Take Time to Sit and Relax- It can be very hard to make yourself sit on the sidelines for a bit to rest and maybe do a little stretching when there’s so much excitement around you but your body will totally thank you for it!

Studio Kat Designs

#5– Take Snacks with You!- Do take snacks with you to keep up and running during the long hours at the quilt show. Not only will they keep you from getting “hangry” but they will also save you quite a bit of money that you can use on fabric, patterns and other fun stuff instead! Seriously… concession stands at conventions centers can suck up your time (waiting in line) and lots of money which can be better spent on other fun stuff!

Snack ideas to consider are: Crackers, Nuts, Peanut Butter-filled Pretzels, fruit, granola bars, & chocolate or other candy.

#6– Take a Shopping Bag (or two)– Take something to carry your goodies away in! Even if you are being careful with your spending, I can guarantee you will buy something! So bring along a bag or two! I have seen folks with those little wheeled bags and the likes at some shows but please keep in mind that not ALL shows permit these.

Studio Kat Designs
Studio Kat Designs

#7– Support the Vendors- There will be LOTS of vendors at the show, all hoping you will buy something from them. Please know that having a booth at a show like this is a major investment for many small shops, so please, please, please support them. Obviously you can’t buy something from all of the vendors (although I’m sure some of you may try), but how about taking a flyer so you can share the info with your LQS friends, or even return to their website at a later date to check out their products?

It’s these very vendors (including us) that actually shoulder the primary burden of financing these festivals, so if we want to keep having festivals like this to attend, we need to support them. You can see the full vendor list for this year’s International Quilt Festival by clicking HERE!

#8– Take a Class or Attend a Talk- Most Quilt Shows offer a myriad of classes, workshops, talks and demonstrations. many of which are taught by world class teachers you may have heard of! Take one, learn a new skill, or just have a bit of fun. It’s also a great way to get off your feet for an hour or so! Keep in mind though, sometimes you have to sign up for these classes in advance because of class size limitations.

Studio Kat Designs

#9– See the Quilts! (Of course!)– Make sure you allow enough time to REALLY take in the display quilts! After all… isn’t this the primary reason you came? I LOVE walking amongst the quilts because its a quiet, almost reverent area where you can get away from the crowds and the noise (both audible and visual). If like me, you enjoy scrutinizing the quilts to admire color combinations, stitching, binding, piecing and the like, make sure to schedule enough “free time” to see these exhibits. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in classes & shopping, but by doing so you can really miss out on amazing example of both functional & decorative artistry!

#10– So… What Should You do FIRST? One thing I’ve observed at almost every Quilt Show I’ve ever vended at, is that easily 75% of the attendees head straight to the vendors and more specifically Row 1 of the vendors. This has always been a mystery to me because what this does is create a total log-jam on Row 1. And this huge grouping of people tends to move in unison together row by row so that every where they go they are immersed in almost unimaginably crowded conditions. Since we’re generally located on Row 1, I can tell you that MANY people have complained to me that they couldnt even get close to our booth at the start of the show due to the crowds.

Studio Kat Designs

#10– The solution?… Why not consider starting your shopping on Row 5 or even Row 10? Most folks like to walk the floor once before making any major purchases anyway and since vendors rarely sell out of items on Day 1, you’ll probably get to see all the vendors this way and be a LOT less stressed out in the process! (just a thought!)

So… in conclusion, I hope you’ve found these tips helpful whether you’re getting ready to attend your 1st Quilt Show or have been attending Quilt Shows for decades, and if by chance you’re planning on coming to Houston, TX to attend either the International Quilt Market or Festival in the next few days, please stop by and see us in Booth#110! We love getting the chance to meet our customers!

And now, it’s YOUR turn!

Do you have any other tips or suggestions to add to this list? Please feel free to leave either or both in the space provided below. πŸ™‚

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  1. Becky Hardy on October 24, 2023 at 7:36 am

    These were great tips!! Hope you have a good market!

    • Kat on October 24, 2023 at 9:57 am

      Thanks Becky! I do too! πŸ™‚

  2. Mama Lohde on October 25, 2023 at 12:17 am

    Don’t forget to bring your phone so you can take a picture of the booth number with interesting things. This way you can easily find your way back when you’re ready to purchase πŸ˜‰

    • Kat on October 25, 2023 at 5:18 am

      That’s any excellent tip! Thanks so much for adding this! πŸ™‚

  3. Sharon engel on October 25, 2023 at 6:31 am

    One other suggestion that a vender friend told me. Try to bring a bag with a zipper. The theft at the shows is terrible. Little hands can easily reach into your bag, and poof, something is gone. I made a big enough bag to carry my wallet and purchases and kept it zipped. Have fun.

    • Kat on October 26, 2023 at 6:54 pm

      Excellent suggestion! πŸ™‚ Thanks for adding it!