I was lucky enough to travel to Houston last week to join the Paper Pieces team at the Houston Quilt Festival. As a first timer- I was a bit starstruck by all the happenings! After a week of meeting new friends and (only slightly) damaging my bank account, I'm ready to do it all over again!
I've asked Jess, Max, Kali, and myself these questions- Jess and Max were both at Market as well, so they have an even further insider scoop!
How would you describe the vibe at Market or Festival?
Amber- Eager! Eager to learn, eager to shop. You can tell a difference between the people who are seeing you demo and the people who are watching you demo. I answered a lot of great questions and was proud of everyone's willingness to try new techniques.
Jess- Excited! Everyone from vendors, to designers, to quilters and shoppers had a smile on their face and happy to be buzzing around the show!
Max- Bustling. People come prepared to shop and learn new techniques, and vendors come prepared to recommend and display their newest products.
Kali- The vibe at Festival was one of composed vorfreude. Attendees were happy to be there. There was a buzz of anticipation, and curiosity; hoping to see something new and different, but happy to see familiar designers, familiar shops, and returning faces.
What familiar face brought you the most cheer?
Jess- I was delighted to see Mary Koval, the queen of antique quilts, for the first time in several years! I was even lucky enough to be a recipient of her book, Piece by Piece, detailing her and her husbands adventures of being antique quilt dealers.
Jess & Mary Koval
Kali-This being my second year, I was very excited to see that the same group of women dressed up each day like they did last year. This year I only saw them wandering around as Movie Popcorn tubs, but it made me so happy to see them continuing that tradition.
Tell us about a new friend that you made.
Kali- I got the chance to teach EPP to a family in their wanderings past our booth, and their adorable little girl took quite the interest. Turns out she was just a little younger than my son, who I was missing terribly, and I got to chat with her about her costume, and hear about what her favorite quilts she's seen are (all bright colors, of course. She and my Little would get along swimmingly).
Amber- I met a lady from Houston who is moving to Kentucky, just 30 minutes from my house! I gave her my phone number and we've made plans to meet up at my favorite little Italian place.
Jess- I enjoyed meeting someone that I follow on TikTok in real life! The Quilting EMT!
Tell us about your most exciting purchase.
Jess-I actually "behaved" myself this year! I purchased 2 charm packs, a pattern! I do think I'll be making follow up purchase from our booth-neighbor - the EZ Quilt Hanger!
Amber- We have chickens at home and I found the most adorable chicken Christmas fabric. They're all wearing Santa hats and it's the cutest thing I've ever seen.
I found a good many items that I had been thinking on for a while, usually found on Instagram and noted that I wanted to find their booth at Festival. Visiting Bianca Springer's
to get pattern weights, Sarah Hearts (@sarahhearts)
booth to find a really great selection of sewing/ knitting labels and patches, and Wizardry Stitchery & Crafts
were some highlights!
I was very surprised and excited to get some National Parks Stamps for my parents Christmas Quilt at the ZebraPatterns.com booth, having found every National Park that they visited on their latest x-country road trip! (SSSH! Don't tell my folks!)
What was your favorite quilt at the Exhibition?
Amber- Reflection in Blue by Eriko Kubo- the detail is amazing and I swear you could actually feel a chill coming from the snowflakes. My favorite at our booth was Moonstone by Guicy Guice. I love the layout and I can't wait for it to launch.
At which booth could you have spent a LOT of money?
Max- I'm not a big shopper, but I am an excellent bag sherpa for my wife (Jess).
Kali- OOF! I could easily have upgraded my longarm at the Janome booth, which is why I don't let myself go play with the new versions. Temp-Ta-Tion should be considered a curse word.
Give a recommendation for first-time Festival attendees- restaurants/food/travel/lodging/anything.
Max- The Quilt Fest motto is true- Fashion stops at the knees! Wear comfortable shoes. You'll be walking more than you'd expect. You'll be standing more than you'd expect. Be prepared to ice your feet!
Jess- Ditto what Max said, but also: make a reservation for dinner at the Original Ninfa's on Navigation. The best Mexican dishes I've ever had!
Amber- Go to Preview Night! I don't know that I would sign up for the VIP access, but Preview Night would be a must. It's a calmer way to shop around and make a list of the booths you know you want to go back to later in the week. Plus, you're able to make the first purchases, so you know what you want will be in stock!
Kali-I cannot highly enough suggest Phoenecia. It's a specialty store with the most delicious OTC Sushi, baked goods, fun teas to try... oh my word I could go on, and it's only a few minutes walk away from the convention center. We tried out a new-to-us Mexican restaurant, Ninfa's which was a short Uber drive and absolutely delicious (try the Flautas, they're perfection).
What about you, dear reader? What was your favorite part of Quilt Festival?