International Quilt Festival- An Inside Scoop

International Quilt Festival- An Inside Scoop

Our Paper Pieces Team just got back from the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX. Jess, Erin, and Kali battled flat tires, bad airport food, and rush hour traffic to get there, but they set up a beautiful booth and came home with lots of stories to tell!

Paper Pieces Girls in Houston

Erin, Jess and Kali

What is the most memorable moment of your trip?

Kali: Being my first-ever quilt show, it's hard to pinpoint just one moment! Hearing the emcee over the intercom announcing "Ladies and Gentlemen, the first day of International Quilt Festival is officially OPEN!" was pretty heart pounding and memorable. I don't think I'll be forgetting that any time soon.

Jess: I must say it was the journey there! It was unforgettable. Our truck was a grump! We were looking forward to attending the last few hours of Market but unfortunately had to miss it with all our travel delays.

Erin: Getting into Houston- my last time there was when I was five, and I have limited memories of the trip. Stepping into the Convention Center to pick up badges, and the scale of the show is so much larger than the show in Paducah. It was nice to have the quilts and the vendors all on one level so you could really get a sense of the size of the show.

What was the most unique product you saw? 

Jess: Did you see that SewTites now has wearable needle minders!? I also found a new (to me) thread company called SCANFIL. They gave me a sample spool and I think I'm hooked! It is beautiful to stitch with.

Erin: Jen Kingwell's sandpaper board- and I'm excited that we picked some up to add to the Paper Pieces website! 

Sandpaper Board

Did you get to meet any of your favorite designers?

Kali: I missed one of my favorite Instagrammers, but DID get Brenda Papadakis's signature on some fabric to add to the label of my Dear Jane when I finish it! Meeting Jen Kingwell was pretty wonderful as well; she is lovely to listen to when she talks about her process. I got to see her new Block Wrap product which I regret not bringing home! I also got to chat quite a while with Youtuber Jill Poole, who is going to film a new series on Dear Jane using batiks, so I'm looking forward to following that! 

Jess: Are you asking if I went full-out fangirl? Oh, yes! I got to see Brandon Mably, Brenda Papadakis, Jen Kingwell, and so many more talented and inspiring people. It was good to see everyone after such a long break. (And of course, I shamelessly took selfies!) 

Selfies with Sewlebrities

Which of Paper Pieces' new products were you most excited to show?

Kali: I think Modernistic Stars- People were so excited about it and it was so much fun helping them plan out their vision for the process.

Kali from Paper Pieces

Kali helping a customer

Jess: Agree. Modernistic Stars! I've been working my fingers off trying to complete the sample quilt in time for the show. While I didn't quite get there, we had a big section sewn together and it was really fun sharing it. Especially, since Moon Garden is finally shipping! 

Modernistic Stars

 Modernistic Stars

Erin: I was most excited to show "Traverse" by Tara Faughnan, which is the sample I was working on stitching during demo time, and the 2023 Argyle Quilt Along by Katja Marek.

Traverse Quilt Along


Be honest-- how many purchases did you make?

Kali: Too many, and not as many as I'd have liked! Having to carry your items home on a plane is a drag! 

Jess: Only two! You can tell my husband I behaved! I purchased a necklace bobble for my beloved thimble from Jan at Thimbles for You. I also grabbed a new bedazzled zipper pull thread cutter from Thread Cutterz to add to the necklace. I'm full of bling when I sew now!

Erin: Several! I purchased two sewing patterns and a beautiful book, plus some fabrics that we don't have access to in Paducah- hand dyes, wovens and some beautiful Ruby Star Society prints. I also enjoyed spending time outside of the show, there was a wonderful international market called Phonecia just a few blocks away where we picked up lots of different cheese, tea, spices and breads, in addition to some unique candies for my kids. 

What was the best purchase you made?

Kali: Prior to leaving, my favorite pre-trip purchase was my Jammin' Threads Tag with a cutter attached from Thread Cutterz. I put it on a retractable keychain, which ended up being indispensable during my flights!

Erin: My favorite purchase was prior to the show, my Keds Rifle Paper Company Scout Boots. I spent quite a bit of time walking, and they were both functional and cute. 

Describe your favorite quilt in the exhibition.

Jess: I couldn't choose just one quilt but I think my favorite exhibit was the Kaffe Celebration, not only because several of the quilts were EPP, but oh, that color! 

Erin: There was a really interesting Mid-Century Modern House quilt called “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mid-Mod World” by Julie Limbach Jones, that inspired a call for entries for 2023 for "Tactile Architecture". I'm not sure if I'll have time to design and make something in the next few months, but it certainly makes me want to explore the idea more in my sketchbook!

Its a Mad, Mad, Mid-Mod World Quilt

It's a Mad, Mad, Mid-Mod World

What kind of inspiration did Quilt Fest provide?

Jess: After I took a few naps, I came home eager to CREATE. I was feeling a little stitching burnout the last few months, but now I'm excited to get back into it.

Erin: As always, it was such a treat to see the full range of quilts and techniques in the show, from traditional to modern, low-volume to explosions of color!

Kali: I'm just feeling really gung-ho about finishing a pile of WIPs, like my Wanderer's Wife, so I can start working on new quilts guilt-free!


What booth (besides ours of course) should someone definitely stop at next year? 

Jess: Obviously, I recommend all of the above-mentioned shops and love their products, but I also have so much fun every time I visit the Villa Rosa booth! First, you dig through the table of gorgeous FQ bundles - they come in several sizes - then you move to the next table which has POST CARD PATTERNS! So, if you fall in love with a bundle containing 7 Fat Quarters, you find a pattern that uses 7 Fat Quarters! Add in some background fabric, and you have built your own little quilt kit!

 Erin: I'm looking forward to seeing "Threads and Ewe" for more gorgeous fabrics, and "Material Goods" for the minimalist quilts, woven material, and hand-quilting supplies. 


We want to know, did you make it to Houston? If so, tell us your favorite part in the comments!

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It would be VERY nice if you would come to the AQS show in Grand Rapids


I wish you would come to the Grand Rapids, Michigan show, it is not nearly as big as Houston or Paducah but it is a great show and I have not seen any epp vendors in a long time.

Judy B.

I loved everything you wrote!! It was like walking down Memory Lane reading your comments!! I, too, loved your booth as a new EPP’r, plus Villa Rosa, Phonecia was a great place for food, for sure!! I came home with lots of goodies and wonderful memories!

Charyl Sieler

What an enjoyable read, unfortunately I did not make it to Houston this year and hold the memories from my last market dear. Sounds like it was extra special since it had been so long coming.

Barbara H

Your booth was stunning..I am hoping you have reached out to Matt Reese at Road and I look forward in seeing you in California! in January

Pat Yamin

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