Home from Houston–quilt show strategies

The Houston International Quilt Festival was as large as I had been told it was; however, I was not as overwhelmed as I expected to be.  I guess it comes from knowing what I wanted to see and from pacing that.

Maybe you would like to see the winning quilts: http://www.quilts.org/winners.html  Their photos are better than mine, and some very exciting exhibits did not allow photography.

For this show I had two days. The program map made it very clear what exhibits were where, so I could go directly to my favorite categories.  Of course I look along the way. At first–as I usually start any quilt show–I started out reading each and every quilters’ comments.  I soon realized, as I usually do, that I had to speed up. So I went into down-the-middle-of-the-aisle mode. In that mode, I walk, glancing left and right, and only get into detail on the quilts that call to me.  Plenty of quilts yell! Thus I catch my favorites first, while I am still alert.  Any time that is left goes to the other categories and the vendors.

When I reach the chosen area, I slow down and give each quilt more individual attention. I always check out the Hoffman Challenge because I love to see the wild variety of quilts that come from one fabric.  The rules are that the fabric has to be used in a recognizable way on the top in more than the border.  I am always amazed at the designs where a quilter has taken a small motif of the fabric, cut it out, and appliqued it throughout another design, like one with a weeping flower tree. The flowers, about nickel size, were carefully cut from the challenge fabric and appliqued as the flowers on the tree.  Since I don’t applique, I also look to see if there are patchwork winners. There usually are a few. Every year I think I will make one myself.  I did once. Here is the URL for previous challenges and winners: http://www.hoffmanchallenge.com/past_challenges.html   The fabric for 2012 is pink and lavender roses: http://www.hoffmanchallenge.com/index.html We have until July 20, 2012 folks!

One thing always amazes me.  When I hit an area I have already viewed from a different angle, it is as though it has totally different quilts from the first viewing.  So I can enjoy an exhibit more than once.  In smaller shows, I often go around twice.  Here the double viewing came if I was with friends at a section I’d already viewed or if there were a section I had to pass to get from here to there.

This show could have used more chairs more randomly placed; however, they did have a “meet the teachers” section where there were continuous half hour presentations and nice seats.  I wandered there by schedule for presentations I wanted to see and when I needed to sit. The latter provided introduction to a variety of things I found interesting but would not have sought out.

Thank goodness for cell phones.  My friends and I could meet up for lunch and going home.  In between we did some viewing together and some on our own.  Both are great ways to see a show.

The vendor area is another kind of exhibit. This one I walked through quickly and again let a booth call to me. I was quite tempted by several: raincoats, kits, hand dyed fabrics.  But I didn’t do a lot for the economy this year. I am sure the vendors prefer shoppers to viewers like me.

Non quilt show aspects of a trip are interesting as well: accommodations, restaurants, local museums. It was great to have a local hostess who knew the restaurants. I will never forget The Red Onion. I ordered their specialty, Chicken Brazil, but it was a difficult choice–each looked so good. There was even one vegetarian offering and one meat-and-potatoes offering, so most anyone could be accommodated. Look at my entre

Chicken Brazil


Filed under quilting

2 responses to “Home from Houston–quilt show strategies

  1. HI Claire,
    I just read your blog- back to the heirloom veggie days. It sounds like you had a great trip to Houston. Thanks for the tips. I am going to the IQF in Cincy again this year. Last year, I organized the SAQA booth there and worked from Th-Sunday, did take one class. This year, I will be able to see the show and will remember some of your tips, like view from both angles.
    I will miss you from Indiana.
    We are planning a trip to the West next summer. take care, Daren

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