tale of a quilt festival survivor

I did it! I went to the International Quilt Festival in Houston for the very first time! Do you have a few hours to hear all about it? I'm kidding. Sort of!

I didn't take photos at the convention center because I wanted to enjoy the show without worrying about taking pics, and because many of the booths and quilts cannot be photographed. But I promise to share pics of my purchases!

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I've wanted to go to Quilt Market in Houston for several years, but it's for the trade only and not open to the general public. Quilt Festival IS open to the public. (Quilt Market ran from Oct 25-27, and Quilt Festival was from Oct 30-Nov 2, both at the George R. Brown convention center.)

Last week I received a few messages from other quilters asking if I would be attending Festival. Well, why not? So very late one night last week, I booked my flight, hotel room and the festival admission ticket. 

I arrived on Friday night. My host hotel was buzzing with activity. There were quilters everywhere, including in the room next to mine. (Ladies, I heard every word that you said through the wall but I won't repeat anything!)

On Saturday morning I boarded the shuttle bus to the convention center. It runs all day, every 10 minutes. That's how many quilters are there! I was a little nervous. Could I handle this much quilt activity all at one time?

I eased into the Festival by visiting the exhibitions first. There were SO many quilts! I loved the more traditional quilts in the section sponsored by the book 501 Traditional Quilts.  I was especially drawn to the quilts made of tiny hexagons and the Baltimore Album quilts. The center of the space was dominated by "Ruby Jubilee," which was an interpretation of the Infinite Variety red and white quilt show in my NYC neighborhood a few years ago. 

This is just the retail space!

This is just the retail space!

Now it was time for the selling portion of the Festival. Ok, time to take a deep breath or two...

The selling space had 18 long aisles. Every sewing machine and longarm manufacturer was there, and you could try their machines. There were many, many regional quilt shops and vintage quilt dealers, plus a smaller assortment of stuff that probably didn't belong there - who buys vacuum cleaners and massage chairs at a quilt show?! I saw a few quilting all-stars: Eleanor Burns posing for endless photos, Alex Anderson promoting The Quilt Show, Kim Diehl and Sandra Dallas signing their books. Edyta Sitar popped into her Laundry Basket Quilts booth at the end of the day. 

And I got to meet two of my own quilting all-stars - Kimberly Jolly from Fat Quarter Shop, and Jocelyn Ueng from It's Sew Emma patterns. I've shopped at the Fat Quarter Shop for years, so it was a treat. And I've gotta tell you that they're just as lovely in person as they are on the Jolly Jabber blog and in their YouTube videos.  Here's me and Kimberly in a photo taken by Jocelyn.

And get this - there's a "husbands lounge" with a big flat screen tv, newspapers and magazines.

By now I'm sure that you're saying "WHAT DID YOU BUY?" so let's get to it! 

Attachments for my Brother sewing machine. There's the scary-looking ruffler contraption, and a new 1/4" foot. I know, not too exciting, but hopefully I'll turn into a ruffle-izer.

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I picked up a copy of the Penny Candy quilt pattern at the Primitive Gatherings booth, which was oddly staffed by three men with beards and shorts.  

I bought a new tumbler template at the Marti Michell booth. It can be used for finished tumblers ranging from 2" up to 5 1/2", and I like how it has notched corners so that the tumblers are easy to sew together. And they gave me another corner trimmer after I told them how much I use it!

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Two quilt books from It's Sew Emma, Simply Fat Quarters and the new Fat Quarter Style. Lots of fresh, happy quilts here! 

And finally, are you ready for this? A fat quarter bundle of Scrumptious by Bonnie & Camille. You should have seen me trying to be all poker-faced when I saw that it was half price! I didn't even think that this line existed anymore!

The fat quarter bundle was just $5 more than the fat eighth bundle! How could I pass that up?!

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It was a long day, but SO much fun. I think that you know where you can find me at the same time next year!

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And now, an Around The World Blog Hop update! Last week you learned all about my work style. Please visit my quilty friends on Monday, November 3 to read all about what inspires them and how they create their quilt projects. I'm sure that they'll have some interesting stories to share!

Rebecca at Cheeky Cognoscenti

Donna at Donna's Lavender Nest

Cynthia at Dream Quilt Create