The International Quilt Festival will be held in Houston, Texas from November 3-6, 2022. Often referred to as simply the Houston Festival, it is the largest showcase of fabric and quilting supplies in the world. If you can’t find it at the Festival, you don’t need it! Whether you go for the display of quilts or to buy fabric, the Festival will not disappoint you.
The International Quilt Festival started in 1975 and is the largest consumer quilt show in the world with over 50,000 attendees anticipated. Classes from leading experts are offered during the event and vary in length with many selling out quickly.
Here are our top six reasons to attend the International Quilt Festival.
A large portion of the convention center is set aside to display quilts. More than 1,300 quilts will be on display this year. The Festival sponsors over thirty different quilt categories for judging and the entries come from across the world. The quilts are awesome and awe-inspiring. The Best of Show this year came from Arizona and while 8 feet square consisted of 226,576 pieces. That quilt also came with a $12,500 cash award. Walking through the displays can easily take hours and will inspire you to finish those UFOs (unfinished objects) on your sewing table. They hold an early preview night on November 2, 2022, if you want to beat the crowds.
While your local quilt shop may have a treasure trove of fabrics and patterns, they cannot possibly stock all the possible options. There are over 600 shops at the Festival offering a wide variety of fabrics, machines, patterns, and notions. Your local shop might not carry the full line of your favorite fabric designer or sell out of some bolts quickly, so these shops are bound to have fabric that you never saw before from your favorite and new designers. Not only will you find “must have” purchases but often these are on sale at great prices. Trust me; if you are coming from out of town bring an empty suitcase (or two!)
The Festival offers so many classes they actually start holding them early on Monday, October 31, 2022. You may have seen these instructors on videos, read about their techniques, or bought their patterns. These in-person classes are small and personalized and nothing beats hands-on instruction with qualified teachers. Many classes are all day and allow you to finish some projects during the class.
During the Festival, vendors will offer 2-hour sessions demonstrating their techniques, offerings, and styles on the show floor. These events will give you an additional set of chances to see up close the quilting style and ask questions from the presenter. You can then follow up with more questions in the booth for that presenter if necessary
Don’t think these lectures are like high school. The presentations are from fabric authorities and offer their insights, ideas, and inspirations. The lectures are typically one hour in length with one person showcasing their information on a variety of subjects from embroidery to color choices. The forums bring together four or more instructors for short presentations and then the attendees can continue for fifteen minutes with each presenter in smaller groups.
Possibly the sweetest part of the Festival is knowing that just about everybody you see is involved in quilting, fabrics, and piecing. If you have a question somebody nearby can tell you how they quilt, what products they like, and what patterns they adore. You can check out fabrics somebody else bought, admire a photo of a quilt they finished, or ask what sewing machine they prefer.
Check out our article> on what to wear for the Festival
FYI – Just before the International Quilt Festival, the same convention center hosts the International Quilt Market which is a trade-only event for quilting businesses. When making travel arrangements be sure you are registering for the Festival and not the Market.
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