Saturday, November 3, 2012

I survived the International Quilt Festival

My friend Beth goes to the International Quilt Festival every year with the local quilt shop group.  She'd told me how much she enjoyed it, but I never went cause I'm really not "into" quilts.  Last year she told me about all the STUFF (patterns, fabric, etc.) she bought and of course that got me interested.  So I decided to go this year.

The local quilt store, Lonestar Quiltworks, puts together a trip each year.  They provide chartered buses (two this year, which were completely full) which leave the parking lot around 8:00 a.m.  The Shop owner and her employees go along and provide a "goodie" bag, light breakfast, snacks, drinks, and a boxed meal at the end of the day. It was nice not having to drive, fight the Houston traffic, then find and pay for a parking space and schlep all our stuff back to the vehicle at the end of the long day. We were able to get out right at the door. In the goodie bag was our wrist band, which was our ticket. So we didn't have to wait in any lines either.

I have a tendency to be late (surprised?) so since Beth was picking me up, I had everything I could possibly need laid out the night before.  I was dressed and ready to go a little early.  Beth was early as well (funny how we can't get to work on time but we can leave for something like a quilt festival early!).  We stopped for coffee and got to the bus by 7:15.  We got some really good seats.  I sat down, got comfortable, got my phone out to check emails and such and exclaimed "OMG - I forgot my glasses!!".  It was too late to run back and get them.  I think getting out of the house early threw me completely off.

When I got to the festival, the very first booth had "cheater" reading glasses, which I promptly purchased.  They're the same glasses I got in the Target dollar bins, only I paid $23 for these....  Taking them off (to walk) and putting them on when I wanted to read something got old fast and made me dizzy so I was a tad queasy all afternoon. 

The plan of attack was to visit the vendor section first, then go view the quilts.  This worked great for me, cause I really didn't want to look at the quilts.  From 9:00 a.m. till about 1 we went up and down the vendor aisles, shopping.  I spent all the cash I brought on aisle TWO.  Every vendor had the Square payment processors which made it convenient to continue shopping . . .

We walked about 10 miles to the lunch area and and had a show and tell of our purchases thus far.  At this point I was getting tired.  We'd walked for about 4 hours straight.  But we pushed on.  The picture above shows us heading back to the vendor area.  At the very top of this picture you see a sign that says "1900".  This indicates the aisle number. I think we'd already passed some aisles when I snapped this pic. This is aisle 19!!!  You can see that the signs go practically as far as the eye can see.  After the vendor aisles there are the quilts on display, they're numbered A-whatever.  These aisles are HUGE and feature vendor after vendor.  I simply didn't have time to see them all.  We left at 6:00 p.m.  I could have spent two days easily in the vendor area.

Some of my favorite booths included one called 8th State, from South Carolina.  I didn't get a pic, but their booth was full of vintage buttons and trims.  Everything was displayed so imaginatively too - like vintage buttons on vintage BINGO cards!  And little bitty scraps of trim wound around wooden thread spools.  I do love Ric Rac so of course I gravitated to that area.   I found some Ric Rac the color of Butternut Squash, which I have NEVER seen before.  I was prepared to buy up a bunch of it when I noticed the price - $4.50 per yard!!  I just bought one yard.  It will be just enough to embellish a table runner.  She said it was from the 1960's.  Some of the Ric Rac was on metal spools.  This probably came from some dress maker shop or factory. 

Another absolutely adorable booth was Just 4 Fun, in which I purchased more Ric Rac.  They had a cute "tree" on which they had their Jumbo Ric Rac displayed, which immediately caught my eye.  They had an unusual aqua color, which matched another purchase, so I bought 5 yards.  It will embellish Journey and Willow's Christmas Dresses (more about that later).

Another cute booth which caught my eye was Lollipops.  They make bindings out of cute prints and have them wound up on a stick like lollipops.  They have lots of other stuff too.  There was a beautiful quilt on display, but I didn't get a picture of it.  It featured machine embroidered redwork in white blocks.  The redwork was vintage-y looking Christmas schenes.  The quilt featured Moda "Blitzen" fabrics.  I have been looking for a red/aqua combination and this was it!  I bought a jelly roll.  I will be making Christmas Dresses for Journey and Willow and maybe a table runner or other project out of this, along with some coordinating yardage.

Another cute booth was Sew It Up.  I've seen their ads in Sew Beautiful Magazine, but had never looked at their website.  There was SO much to see in their booth, I was overwhelmed!  The ladies who were working were so helpful and had some great tips and ideas.  I bought a really cool ruffle knit to make some leggings (not for me of course!).

One cute idea was a pair of jeans that they'd cut off the legs to make shorts, then put some of this ruffle fabric around the raw edges, then sewed a wider strip of the ruffle fabric on top of the shorts to make a tiered skirt effect.  It was cute, and a good idea, since little girls would still have on shorts but it looks like a skirt.  Their booth had tons of patterns, fabrics, trims, etc., as well as lots of finished items for ideas.  Here's a look:

Another booth I liked was Violette Field Threads

They have some patterns I'd looked at online already.  One of those, the Emmeline halter dress (shown below), was on my to-do list for Journey.  I already have a multi-color chevron out of which I plan to make it.  They didn't have all their patterns for sale, I think because a lot of them are e-patterns only.  But I was able to get a price break when I bought three, which was nice. 

At 6 we boarded the bus and stopped a little later for our box lunch.  We got home at 9:00 p.m. (Beth 30 minutes after that cause she had to drive home).  I wish I could have spent more time in some of the booths!  There was just too much to see in one day.  There were sewing machine manufacturers with every model they offer, but I didn't have time to even look.  There were scads of booths full of all manner of sewing gadgetry but I simply didn't have time!  Next year . . .


  1. It's not clear - DID you go look at the quilts at all? I can only imagine how beautiful they were. K

  2. I did look at a few, maybe 20 in all. Yes they were beautiful - truly works of art.