Navigate a big quilt show successfully with these tips. Plus, hear an interview with Sarah Bond.
episode 442

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Survive Your First Big Quilt Festival

Alison Gamm, the designer of Quilts & More, gives ideas about how to survive a big quilt festival. Your first festival can be overwhelming! But to really make the most of your time there, we have a few tips to share!

  1. Wear comfortable shoes. You may be on your feet for hours standing and walking, so make sure your feet are prepared! You may also want to dress in layers. Convention centers can be too cold or too hot, but never seem to be the perfect temperature.
  2. Don't forget the bag! If you're doing shopping, you definitely want to have something to carry your purchases in! It can be a backpack or large tote, but remember those can get heavy after awhile. If you're buying a lot, it may be best to bring a small rolling carrier to avoid shoulder strain.
  3. Think about snacks and water! Many shows have food on site, but the lines can be long and the food can be pricey. Pack your own water and some small snacks like a granola bar, fruit, or nuts to satisfy you. If you need a full meal, consider going off-site.
  4. Most festivals have a map available, a list of vendors, or an online app with that information, so that you can plan in advance who you want to see. If you're really excited to see a specific vendor, plan to visit them first. People are there to shop, so if you wait too long, they might run out of products before you arrive to them. After you've hit your must-sees, you can walk row by row to make sure you don't miss anything.
  5. If you're on a budget, you may also need to plan how to spend. When you're surrounded by so many quilting goodies, it can be easy to go overboard. Consider writing a shopping list before you arrive at the show, or bring yourself only so much money to treat yourself.
  6. And don't forget that many festivals also have quilt exhibits in the same building. So, if you need a shopping break, make time to wander through the exhibit and admire the quilts. Many times, the exhibit halls are quieter and less crowded, so you can truly recharge before heading back. You can even take some time to sit down, have some water, and recharge.

Alison also shares some often forgotten things to pack, so tune it to the episode to hear more!

Quilting Changes Everything

Alison shares the story of Chue, a young girl who left a refugee camp in Thailand to start a new life in the United States in 1979. She was sponsored by a local church and became close friends with one of the members named Pauline. After the birth of her first child, Chue wanted to show her appreciation for Pauline for offering so much help. Chue used her sewing talents to gift Pauline various "pan dow", which are sometimes referred to as story cloth because every stitch has a story. The squares that Chue stitched depicted stories of life back in Thailand. Over the years, Pauline was gifted 24 squares, each one stitched by Chue or one of her family members. Pauline later turned these squares into a quilt, which is now hanging in Chue's restaurant Mama's Noodle Bar on the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus.

BTS From the Crafts Lab

Alison shares some fun behind-the-scenes from her time at photoshoots. (You'll never believe what we actually use for mattresses!)

Get Organized with Elizabeth

Elizabeth Stumbo, the designer of American Patchwork & Quilting, recently came back from a quilt retreat with her family. She shares some packing tips, including the best projects to work on during a retreat, the supplies you can leave at home, and how to research the retreat center before you make your trip.

Getting Sewcial with Jess

On today's show, Jess Zeigler of Threaded Quilting Studio chats with Sarah Bond, a teacher, award-winning quiltmaker, and modern quilter inspired by classic designs. Sarah comes from a family of quiltmakers stretching back to the early nineteenth century. Her great-grandmother, Louvinia Clarkson Cleckley, was born a slave in 1858 in South Carolina. She was an amazing quilter and Sarah now owns her Blazing Stars quilt. Inspired by that quilt, she launched into her own journey of making Lone Star quilts.

Follow Sarah on Instagram and Facebook to keep in touch.