Sunday, June 20, 2021


When I proposed a Special Exhibit of my life's work for International Quilt Festival in Houston, called My Joyful Journey, there were a few things that didn't cross my mind.

Like, how does one send 20 quilts to Houston, TX, safely and securely? I have shipped two quilts to various shows, two quilts = two boxes. But 20???

Here is the official Announcement from Quilts. Inc:

Joyful Jourey
pieced by Barbara Black
quilted by Pam Dranfeldt

A look back (and ahead) at the life and work of quiltmaker Barbara Black.

She began in 1985 

with simple baby quilts from pre-cut fabric, and today
creates challenging quilts filled with small pieces and complex design. 
This journey shows her progression from new quiltmaker to quilt artist. 
Precision piecing and beautiful color and design are the hallmarks 

of Barbara’s passionate quilt journey.

A few months ago it was time to really think about just how getting my quilts there would happen. My husband insisted the easiest plan would be for us to drive them there. Not my idea of a good time, two days in the SUV, the first day long, so the second day could put us at the Quilts Inc. office by mid-morning. Then a few more days on the road as we visit family along the Gulf coast.

But compared to the cost and worry of shipping all those quilts, he might be right. He kept asking, "what is the Volume of all those quilts?" He is an engineer... I said I wouldn't know until I gathered them from around the house into one place. 

Here is what the Volume looked like. The spare bed is covered with piles of quilts:

The engineer went to work, researching box sizes and determining how many boxes would fit in the SUV or the pickup truck. Then he tried to buy the boxes online. He found a ten-pack of big boxes at a reasonable price BUT the shipping was over $100--for empty boxes! 

This is starting to get complicated... He did find the local FedEx store had THREE of those boxes on hand. He bought those and the logistical plan began. The boxes are 24" x 24" x 18". Three of those will fit in my SUV, with room for two small pieces of luggage. 

Let the folding begin:

Three boxes, 20 quilts, lots of plastic for the inside of the boxes, and lots of padding and additional plastic bags to protect the best of these quilts. It worked--they all fit in three boxes:

After the first two boxes were packed I came up with the brilliant idea that my spreadsheet should list which quilts were in which box. The boxes weren't sealed yet, that will be done right before we leave. So we took the quilts out so I could indicate which quilt was in each box. Done, all set.

There are two more quilts included in the Special Exhibit that I no longer own:

Red and White--By the Numbers
in the Corporate Collection of Quilts Inc.

in a private collection

These will be delivered by the owners for inclusion in the Special Exhibit. I love both of those quilts and am very glad they will be included as they tell part of my "Joyful Journey" as a quiltmaker.

Several of my friends have let me know they will be attending Houston this year, some of those for the first time. That makes me so  happy. It's not too late to make your plans. Find hotel information here: Hotel Discounts

The Faculty was just announced this week--check out this esteemed list of amazing teachers: Faculty and their Classes. A lot of safety precautions will be in place, lots of space for each student, for example. There is no better place to find so many first-class teachers you can learn from. Classes begin Monday October 25.

Preview night for students is Wednesday October 27--students get an extra two hours to shop and see the quilts before Preview night opens to the public. The show itself  is Thursday-Sunday October 28-31, 2021. Can you see it all in ONE day? Absolutely not. Two days? Also, no. Plan for at least 3 days and wear your most comfortable shoes--it's a BIG place. 

I hope to see you there. I will be there for both Market and Festival, as usual, and will get down to the show floor as time permits. 

Let's quilt.



  1. I am so excited to be attending and see your exhibit!

  2. Oh this is so awesome! I love how you worked all of this out with the boxes too. I am even more sorry I will not be going this year for a variety of reasons, but my thoughts will be there during the show for certain!

  3. Love your post..... time to start thinking about my logistics ....

  4. Congratulations on your exhibition and very very successful quilting journey!

  5. I feel like I know a celebrity! I can't wait to attend my first quilt festival and to see all of your beautiful quilts! I'm so proud of you Barbara!

    1. You will have the time of your life. Take a longarm class while you're there--the schedule is available now on the website, enrollment starts in July.

  6. I am so happy for your quilts to be exhibited for in-person viewing; a lot like the movie version (virtual exhibit) premiering the live version on Broadway. Your are a rockstar! Now, if only I get figure out how to convince hubby to visit Houston in October or relocate to Huntsville! (He, too, would calculate the stuff and determine box sizes. Once an engineer, always an engineer!) Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition!

    1. Terri, I would LOVE to see you there! This will be the BEST year to go to Festival as I don't expect the typical crowd of 55,000-60,000 people. You will really be able to see all the quilts and vendors. And I will hug your neck.

  7. For future reference, Tennessee Valley Packaging & Container will make custom boxes, while you wait, at reasonable prices.