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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Road to California Conference & Quilt Show

One of the highlights of the year, is the Road to California Conference and Quilt Show.  I'm currently attending a two-day class with Sarah Vedeler and have plans to attend the show on Thursday.  While I plan to later share insights with you, I wanted to raise the topic of "Do you have a strategy for attending quilt conferences and quilt shows?".

Some attend quilt shows to shop with the large selection of vendors, which is certainly a great reason to attend the Road to California Quilt Show.

Some attend quilt shows to take a class, to develop their skills, which is actually how the Road to California Quilter's Conference and Showcase began.  To clarify, they have a large number of classes for teachers throughout the world, in a variety of quilting techniques.  If there is a skill that you are wanting to learn and/or improve, this is definitely a great place for you to pursue this.

There are those that like to be inspired by the quilts on display.  Road consistently has quilts to inspire quilters of all interest and levels.

I was recently asked what was my strategy for attending a quilt show, so I thought this would be a good time to share my perspective, but I also hope you'll leave a comment and share yours too.

For me, I look at a show's class offerings to seek out teachers and class topics that align with my annual goals.  When I tour the show, I come prepared with notes on what I want to be sure to see.  I also treat the day as an opportunity for great exercise.  I move thru the aisles quickly, avoiding when groups may pool around a particular quilt.  While it may take only a few seconds to get a better view, I move on and ultimately make 3-4 passes through every aisle.  Initial passes are to see all the quilts and take photos, where allowed.  I also seek out quilts, to spend more time admiring, that reflect areas I'm trying to learn (e.g. free motion quilting, color, etc.).  The last 3-4 passes through the aisles are done with the focus of spending time with my favorites, to really absorb the beauty.

I take a similar approach of visiting vendors, as I do with viewing the quilts.  I make an initial 1-2 passes of all the vendors to take in all the unique items that they have, that I may not necessarily find in my local quilt store.  I may also come with a list of gift ideas, or items I want for my projects, and essentially use this as I search thru the vendors.  On my 3-4 pass of the vendors, I'll focus on vendor booths that may have a demonstration, or have products that I'm interested in. 

My approach may sound time consuming, but it really isn't.  I move quickly, getting in my exercise for the day, and try to avoid spending time following slow moving groups, realizing I'll be back in that spot before I leave.

If you don't have much time to see a show, I think my approach also helps you see as much as you can, in the time you have available, whereby you can come home inspired.

I do hope you have a chance to visit this show next week:

Road to California Quilter’s Conference and Showcase
“The Best in the West”
at the Ontario Convention Center, Ontario CA

January 19-22, 2012
No Rolling Carts Allowed, and Strollers on Sunday Only

Show Hours:
Thursday - Saturday 9:30 AM - 6 PM
Sunday 10 AM - 3:30 PM
Ticket Prices:
$10 Per Day - $25 Multi Day
(Multi Day Pass includes Preview Event)
Children 12 and Under Free

You can also like them on Facebook:

Road to California Quilters Conference & Showcase

I also want to share that Hoffman Fabrics is the Best of Show Diamond Sponsor for this show, with a $3,000 grand prize!    For those going to this show, be sure to see the display of the 2011 Hoffman Challenge entries and pick up brochures for the 2012 Hoffman Challenge too.

Kaleidoscope Collections - stop by and see their demonstration, sample projects and new design packs.  This is a fun software package  that you'll be amazed how much fun you'll have creating with it.

Cozy Quilt Designs will be showing new books, patterns and rulers.  They also have some exceptional fabric kits created specifically for this show.

Quilted in Clay has unique jewelry for quilters, at an exceptional price.  Definitely pop into their booth and check out their beautiful jewelry.  They also have several new pieces that will be shared at this show.

PCP Group (Pellon) has a  booth that you should definitely visit to see some new quilt battings that are environmentally friendly and help create spectacular quilts, that will last for years.  They also have some wonderful battings perfect for those interested in free motion quilting too! 

Quilt in a Day also has a coupon that you may want to print and be sure to take with you to the show.

Gosh, I could go on and on. There are so many wonderful vendors at this show and they always have amazing quilts, to delight quilters of all interests, from traditional, contemporary, mixed media and more.

Don't forget, if you have a strategy for how you visit quilt shows, please share your approach. 




wackywoman said...

I'll be walking the show on Thursday and taking a class on Friday.

Jacquelin said...

Cuando voy a ferias también me organizo y averiguo que cursos se van a dar y si estoy interesada en alguno me apunto o lo tengo presente para poder asistir. En cuanto a las compras: de entrada existe un presupuesto y generalmente alguna cosa determinada que quiero comprar y naturalmente todo apuntado y estudiado de manera que siempre termino contenta: puedo verlo todo, comprar lo que planeé y además siempre queda tiempo y dinero para una vuelta más y algún que otro caprichito de última hora.

YankeeQuilter said...

These shows can be a lot of exercise! Sometimes when I upload my photos after the first day I have photos of quilts I don't even remember seeing...

Leah Day said...

Enjoy the show and keep and eye out for Winter Wonderland!

QuiltedSquid said...

Thanks for posting great info...i do about the same as u when i visit R2ca. I print the vendor list n mark the ones i am intersted in w my wishlist. I too try to stay away from the crowds. Lookin forward to my visit on friday!

Joyce said...

I have been to the Houston Show 4 times, Paducah once and never gotten out to see the CA show, but it is on my list to see someday. Since I have been quilting for many years and seen so many shows I do have a strategy. I don't really take classes any longer. I like to see the quilts first and foremost. So I try to get in early and take photos of the ones I really like, then go back later to look at them in more detail. I love having my photos to share and to look at when I am designing a new quilt. The shows are getting so large that they tire me now so I always try to schedule rest periods so I don't overdo. Enjoy that show and hopefully take some photos to share here!

Stray Stitches (Linda G) said...

I'll be going! Looking forward to drooling in awe and amazement over all the gorgeous quilts that have been entered.

Newbie Jen said...

I go for both the classes and to view the incredible quilts on display. When touring the display, I tend to walk a grid. I don't want to miss anything! Sure if there is a crowd in front of a quilt, I might visit others in the area until a spot is free, but I won't go too far for fear of forgetting to come back. I also take pictures, where allowed, of quilts that interest me in particular. I might also zoom in on a feature of a quilt that I find most amazing (the quilting, the use of color in the border, whatever). Sometimes when I look back at the pictures, another aspect of the quilt jumps out at me. Brilliant!

Becky said...

Great strategy! One tip that has helped me is to pack a peanut butter sandwich, nuts, and power bar in my purse. Convention food can be expensive and not what I want to eat. I also bring a bottle of water if possible. I wear comfortable walking shoes so that I can do lots of walking and standing.

This past year, I volunteered as an ambassador to a major show. It gave me an entire different view of the show. I greeted and checked for tickets (saw lots and lots of quilting friends) and assisted in a class. It was a totally different experience. I had fun and didn't spend as much time in the vendor booths.

Enjoy your class and quilt show! Thanks so much for sharing with us! I've not been to the Road to California so your reports are interesting!

Rachel said...

I am going tomorrow morning :-) I might (maybe!) get to squeeze in Friday morning too! I sure hope so! I have been every year since I started quilting. I was considering not going this year, but I just can't bow out...LOL...As for how I do it, well, in the past I have been very methodical, up one aisle/row, down the next. However, this year my time is super limited so I am going try your idea out. Exercise is good!

IHaveANotion ~ Kelly Jackson said...

Oh I know you are having fun...tell our mutual friends I said hello.

I'm with you about staying focused...otherwise the time passes and you may have missed several important things you wanted or needed to see.

I make a map of all the booth and a time line so I can get the information I'm looking for. It's way to easy to get side tracked...and it does happen :)

Have fun!