Friday, November 11, 2016

International Quilt Festival 2016

Better known simply as "Houston", the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX was another great success.  I've been home a few days and it's time to show you around.  WARNING: Photo rich!

As usual, I had to get up very early, 4:30 a.m., to catch early flights, first to Atlanta, then on to Houston Hobby airport.  After checking in for 13 days, I unpack and get my clothes in order for the two weeks.  We wear specific garments on specific days and I want everything in order so I am not scrambling around at 6 a.m. each day figuring out what to wear.

The view out my Hilton-Americas window--lots of construction  still ongoing

Closet is ready
The next day we start all the preparations for Market and Festival.  Market is just for the trade, credentials are required.  For 5 years I worked the Market as the Buyer for Patches & Stitches, ordering inventory for the next 6 months, and getting new ideas on how to better run the shop.  It is exciting to see what is new.  There were lots of bright fabrics, lots of hand-sewing projects, and so much enthusiasm from vendors and buyers.  Our industry is strong!

At Sample Spree Friday night I bought just a little fabric, from Windham Fabrics, one bright, one more reproduction-style:

The rest of Market I get ready to welcome 130 Faculty members to Festival.  This involves preparing their welcome packets, with name badge and lots of information, and stuffing the Festival Show Tote with a pin and Show Book, called the Q Square.  There were also special "goodie bags" and other gifts--they love to receive and I love to give those things out:

When I get a chance, I head down to the show floor from the Education office on the 3rd floor, to see the quilts.  Mostly, I go to the special exhibits.  Here is a taste of the ones I was most interested in:

I've been a fan of Susan Carlson since her book Free-Style Quilts  came out, 2000

20' long, for real!

Ribbon Quilts, a Special Exhibit curated by veteran Tom Korn, featured lots of quilts made to replicate Military Service Ribbons.  The exhibit was rounded out with military uniforms on display and a running video stream of military folks in uniform.  After much digging and having to order a new tie, I loaned my United States Marine Corps Dress Blues to the exhibit.  It sure brought back lots of great memories and I'm glad I participated in this way:

I am a huge fan of the 19th Century Patchwork Divas, a group of quilters who have been making quilts together for some years.  Here are just a few of the great quilts in this Special Exhibit:

I want to start a group like this some day--biggest problem? That great name is already taken, whatever could I call us??

Here is one of my favorites, a quilt inspired by 19th century work, this time from France, Quilts De Legende:

I wish you could see how tiny these triangles are, no bigger than 1.5" finished quarter square triangles--right up my alley!

There were Twenty Years of Dear Jane quilts:

And Millefiori quilts, which I know I'll never make, but really admire:

The quilts are great!  The vendors amazing! But for me, my two weeks in Houston is mainly about the people:

Melinda Bula--see the glamorous part of the job of traveling quilt teacher

Paula Nadelstern--showing how your kits/fabrics get to class

Dr Karen Nyberg, Astronaut, addressing a luncheon crowd

Alex Anderson

Karen Kay Buckley demo-ing hand applique' at Saturday Sampler

Kimberly and Kent Einmo--they had a blast at the show, smiling like this always!

2016 Education Team dressed in Eternal Sunshine by Amy Butler for Free Spirit Fabrics

One more important person to me, Brenda, an employee of the Hilton.  She has taken good care of me since I first stayed there, 2003.  We keep in touch a few times throughout the year--telling each other about our grand-girls, hers a recent college graduate just embarking on adult life, and my 18 month old Stella, just learning to talk.  I wanted Brenda to know how much I appreciate her so I gave her a quilt, about twin size, to wrap her in a hug, as quilters do.  Here we are as I presented it to her, complete with her name and the date on the label;

I've made hundreds of quilts and will keep making them.  Recently, I'm been looking for people to share them with, so my sons won't be stuck with all of them when I'm gone. The very best ones are safe in deep storage but it's fun to give some of the "every day" quilts to people who will appreciate them.

Have to show off a local guild member's quilt hanging in the 2016 Quilts: A World Of Beauty Judged Show:

Elaine Wick Poplin, a high school math teacher, sees things no one else sees.  Way to go, Elaine!  Check out her blog at  Or Instagram @messygoat

Want photos of the top winning quilts? Go here: 2016 Winners

Want more behind the scenes photos? Check out Humble Quilts blog  Lori is a blog friend I asked to join us this year, see what she saw.

Want to see different quilts?  See what Catherine Redford, a terrific teacher from IL found interesting:  Catherine Redford's blog

If you are on Instagram, search #quiltfestival for almost 7000 photos--what else do you  have to do today?

I have hundreds more photos and lots of stories I could tell but that's enough for today.

Let's Quilt!



  1. Great post Barbara! You are appreciated by many in Houston! I loved the military quilts and uniforms! How special to have yours displayed!

  2. Read Lori's blog earlier today. Love seeing your perspective. You are obviously a fixture there!!
    Maybe someday I will make it to Houston, but if not, I know I can see it through your eyes!
    Loved the Diva's quilts!!

    1. If I start a new group, I'll let you know...

  3. All so beautiful. What a great festival. You truly are a special, caring person.

  4. great Houston report. Thanks for sharing so many quilts.
    If you start a group count me in.

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