Quilt Festival 2016

As I had mentioned last week– the IAQ journey and new adventure— going to quilt festival.

What an exciting and totally scary thing to step into.  While I’ve been to quilt market quite a few times, and to quilt festival as well– putting together your own booth and promoting your own stuff is really totally different!

I have a LOT of admiration for those who do this often or even maybe it’s their first time jumping into the journey as well.  So much to think about, prepare, design and go over multiple times.

Just when I thought I had a grip on it all, I’d second guess it and rethink and redo.

So- here is the journey in pictures, from practice to the real thing.

I will let you know at the end of the festival how it all went.  What I learned, what not to do…what to do differently.

But, for now– here is the process.

Let’s talk about pressure to come up with a ‘theme’.  Everyone has a theme in their booth. Something that keeps things understandable.  Easy to look at.  Plus of course it should be super cute as well.  Interesting, exciting. Those are some other words that should describe your booth.

In taking this all in, plus the experience of attending other shows- I kind of came up with a theme of ‘travel’.

This travel theme made sense to me — using maps, luggage, tags….those kind of things to set up the booth theme.  They related to the product because really the IAQ is all about being world wide. No boundaries. No travel (but the luggage is super cute, couldn’t resist).  So I took this and put together banners, piles of luggage, rolled maps with ties…ect.  Keeping things simple, but cohesive.  That’s the plan.

The biggest hurdle- packing.  I had 2 suitcases I could check in addition to one carry on.  That’s it.  Pretty restrictive, but it really kept things minimal and simple in design.  I found things that I could take apart and put in a suitcase- like the little white table.

I found the vintage luggage could pack inside other carry on so they weren’t damaged in the travel, but they can be packed inside with all the other needed things- like the quilts and projects!

Smaller decorations, lightweight ones as well.  Those were priority. They won a spot before the bigger bulky ones.

I used washi tape to tape things to the wall.  This wall is all about what is coming up next year in the IAQ.  (join here!)  These are projects that will be in smaller classes….those will be launching in 2017 (but watch your email for more info on them soon!)


So– after preparing everything ahead of time, I arrive to find out everything is not what it seems.

I may have panicked just a little bit, but my roommate for the week (Ebony) was such a help in figuring it all out and overcoming the issues.

Here is a quick rundown of the issues-

  • was thinking I had a half booth measuring 10 feet deep by 6 feet across the front.
  • arrived and figure out it was 10 feet in front X 6 feet deep. yeah- had to redo the layout in my head….
  • set up evening found out that they did not make the booth smaller for me….so I ended up with a full 10 feet X 10 feet booth.

Yeah. So that’s how it all started.  It was a jumbled mess the first set up night and after a little bit, I just left.  The booth layout was all wrong and I couldn’t handle it anymore.  So, I slept on it and in the morning returned with a little bit of fresh eyes and tackled it once more.

Both sides of neighbors were delightful.  They were full of suggestions and helps and ladders!  Everything a single girl at the booth could ask for. The even had a granddaughter that would sit at my booth for a minute while I ran down the hallway for a quick break.

In the end, I really thought the booth looked good.  Good for what I could haul in 2 suitcases.  Good for what I could manage as a single gal.  Good for what showcased the membership patterns and projects.

Here’s a quick shot of the Quilt Festival process:

I arrived to this….. lot’s of extra poles.  Low side walls with short curtains. My name– I brought along the two luggage that had everything inside.


A view down the aisle – lots of people working!


This is the layout the first night….not in love with it at all.


After a good night sleep and lots of thoughts on how it could be better- plus help from Ebony- this is how it ended up:  Can you spot the change?  The map went on the back wall- switched places with the block of the month quilt.  (the map was to show 21 countries + 45 states represented by members! So excited about that!!  I had little yellow pony beads on safety pins on the map)




I could sit behind the table and use the binders on the table to show off what was in the group plus the planner.

I chatted with 500 people (that’s how many postcards I personally handed out- after talking to them).  It was a lot.

There were even a few of you who came up to me and introduced yourself because you knew me.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I needed those little boosts and while I totally forgot to snap a picture of us (i’m so not the best at that!) I am grateful you took a minute and said hello and chatted.

There were also little pins that could be taken if they’d like.


At moments I felt quite a bit overwhelmed.  I’m an outgoing person, but things like this totally drain me.

It took everything I had to stay the whole time and be there for the full days.


It was hard.

I had no idea.

I’m kind of equating it with child birth (I’ve had 4 – 3 of which were natural).  I’m sure I’ll think about returning in a couple of years when I ‘forget’.

Until then, I have learned a few things about myself and what I like and don’t like.

This was hard.  It was more than just the time being there…it was talking confidently about something that you designed and put out there. It’s standing in front of your creations and being proud of them.  That is not easy to do.

I’ve picked up a few new ideas on what to do differently if I ever return.

This is definitely something I can ‘check off’ on the mega list of what I’ve done.

Quilt Festival vendor.


I believe for now I’ll keep myself as an attendee and not as a vendor.

And– if you are interested in the map quilt– check out Shwin and Shwin World Map Quilt Tutorial.

Interested in becoming a member?  I would love to have you join me and all the other members.

Are you a Quilt Festival attendee? What’s your favorite part?



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  1. Theresa

    25 December

    I love looking at others quilts. I am a beginner and seeing how others put colors together is amazing to me.

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