I always get so excited when I know a quilt show is approaching. Imagine my excitement when I learned this year’s spring International Quilt Market was taking place in my home state of Minnesota! Needless to say, I was thrilled to find myself in Minneapolis last weekend, attending one of the biggest (and in my opinion, best) quilting shows around.
IQM is the place to be twice a year, spring and fall. Exciting new product and fabrics are revealed during these shows, and you see a gathering of the most amazing and talented people in the quilting community. We all come to gather, reconnect, learn, and SHOP!
I thought I’d give you a glance into the world of Market in case you weren’t there – the chaos and fun all the way to the new friendships made. Here are my ten favorite things about this year’s event – listed chronologically because it’s impossible to pick the best!
Click here to see an album of our photos from IQM on Facebook.
The first event offered, before the masses arrive for the shopping extravaganza, is Schoolhouse. This is an event where there are about 30 classes offered every half an hour or so throughout the entire day. We were introduced to new fabric lines and products and learned cool new ways to them, we met with talented designers and authors, and anything else you would imagine quilters might love. It was a fun, information-filled day that was such a great way to kick off the weekend. A few pointers if you attend someday: don’t forget to eat! Make sure to grab some dinner or you might start to feel faint – trust me on this. I chose not to take a lunch break because I was afraid I’d miss out on something!
2. Samples and Giveaways
Did I mention we got free samples at Schoolhouse? And they had massive drawings at each class for giveaways. Aurifil was handing out bags full of information on new threads as well as a 5-pack of thread. When the drawing began, they gave away large thread kits valued at $175. And this is just an example – there were also giveaways for fat quarter bundles, bags, kits, books… you get the idea!
3. Sample Spree
Sample Spree is an event that is really exciting. People line up three to four hours early just to be the first to enter a ballroom filled to the brim with merchandise. We were able to pick up some really great values for our customers and shops. It’s super crazy, but the best part is all the new and old friends you meet up with while shopping. Everyone leaves with tired arms from carrying their heavy, loaded down bags. (Yep, me included.)
4. Make-and-Take Classes
Before the showroom opened, there was an offering of classes for make and take. This was a fun opportunity to learn new skills that we could bring back and share with the consumer. I really liked this because the projects were small and easy to kit, giving more time for class opportunities from independent instructors. I took mine from Helen Stubbings of Tasmania, Australia. She has some magnificent patterns for stitching (embroidery) and template quilting.
5. The Market Itself!
International Quilt Market, in and of itself, is one of my top ten favorite things about Market! There was so much excitement among the industry professionals. The moment I entered the showroom I was overwhelmed with color and texture. There were quilts everywhere – all styles, sizes, trends, shapes, and textures to an extent that you couldn’t even fathom. I think there were more talented individuals here than you would ever have under one roof.
Oh the fabric. WOW! Yes, I will admit, I am an addict. I just love the way it feels, I love the way it looks, I even love the way it smells. The different lines that they are introducing this year will decorate the shelves in every quilt shop within the next few months. The colors are more vibrant than ever, and the textures that are being introduced are fantastic. I certainly could not resist the beauty and subtle designs in some, and the boldness in others. I loved getting a sneak peek at what’s to come.
Okay, in addition to fabric, I also love candy! And there was tons of candy at every booth. I was in heaven. But really that little boost of sugar was needed to keep us going throughout the day. I loaded my pockets with chocolate, mints, chocolate mints, Godiva, suckers – any type of candy you could imagine. I think I lived on candy and Diet Pepsi for four days straight.
8. New Products
New products were scattered throughout the market, and it was fun to check them all out. I enjoyed the many demonstrations and got to try out many of the products myself. There was a printed stabilizer for making photo projects, as well as new fabric cutters, rulers, fibers, embellishing products, longarm sewing machines, domestic sewing machines… the list goes on. I am certain you will find whatever your heart desires coming soon to a fabric or sewing shop near you.
This part was so much fun! I ran into old friends and made tons of new friends. My favorite experience was an evening spent with many great quilters, instructors, and authors. That day I was planning on just having a quick dinner at the hotel restaurant and calling it a night because I was so tired, but as I turned the corner I ran into Helen Stubbings and she kindly invited me to join her group of friends for dinner. I was honored to be invited to dine with these amazing women – Pat Wys, Gail Pan, Debbie McEwen Frey, Kathy Brown, Debbie Brown Busby, Cindy Marie Park, and Debbie Field. Earlier in the evening I saw Eleanor Burns too; it was fun to reconnect with her and Sue Bouchard. If you aren’t sure who any of them are, give them a glance on Google. All these women are all really amazing and very kind… not to mention extremely talented.
10. The Love of Quilting
I also visited with Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Vicki Hoth, Linda Pumphrey, Karen Miller, Angela Walters, Carrie Bloomston, and many others. We all agreed that one of the best things about IQM was the opportunity to just get together with so many people who were all there for the same reason – to share in our love of quilting. I also ran into Pepper Cory – it was a treat to speak with her because she was so kind and helpful. She really does exemplify the love of the quilter. This is why I love quilting so much – we surround ourselves with exceptionally kind individuals.
All in all, it was a fun, exciting, overwhelming, and exhausting week! I came home not only tired, but inspired by all the great new things I saw and lovely people I met. At the end of each day, I found myself thinking “Well done, IQM. Well done.” A very special thanks to all the vendors, instructors, authors, and artists who made IQM such an enjoyable time and successful event. (Not to mention the candy.)
I’m already marking my calendar for the next one!
The next International Quilt Market is in Houston, October 24-26. Click here to see the full schedule of upcoming events and shows.
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