Day Trip: The Chicago International Quilt Festival


As I mentioned in my last post, last Friday I took a trip to my first “major” quilt show. The show was very good and the vendor section was great. Never having been to Houston or Paducah, I don’t know how it stacks up to other national shows, but it was enough to satisfy me. The experience was something like white water rafting. The first part of the trip was relaxing, satisfying and deceptively calm. Upon entering the exhibit hall, the crowds were thin and there was ample space to wander around viewing the quilts at leisure. As I slowly made my meandering way toward the end of the exhibits, I sensed things were changing. The background noise grew perceptibly louder and I began to be buffeted by more and more people. Suddenly, I turned a corner and plowed headlong into the vendor section and more people in one place than I’ve seen in a very long time. I bounced back and forth between quilters and exhibitors and it was thrilling.

Some of my favorite exhibits at the show were the Country Living Classics, Traditional Treasures VI and 19th Century Patchwork Divas displays. I am including a few of the pictures I took.
There were many vendors’ booths that enticed me to add to my pattern, fabric and notions collections. I’ve already mentioned Schoolhouse Quilts (the bag is still missing). I was also particularly pleased to see Lori Smith’s (From My Heart to Your Hands) samples in “real life.” The photos on her patterns do not do justice to the rich colors and texture created by the quilting stiches on her models. The way she frames her finished small quilts makes them look like expensive antique quilts.


I have a favorite Chicago area shop, The Quilt Merchant, that I discovered on a business trip last fall. They were featured in Quilt Sampler magazine within the last 2 years and I do believe I heard angels singing the first time I stepped through their doors. They specialize in reproduction fabrics! I cannot wait until business takes me back to Chicago next fall so I can visit them again. Their samples are delicious and their staff is wonderful. On my first trip, I had a very tight timeline and wasn’t sure if my schedule would allow me to visit the show and finish the business that took me to Chicago in the first place. I called the shop to get directions and the person who answered the phone (I am sorry I cannot remember her name) actually mapped my route from the airport to the Quilt Merchant to my event in downtown Chicago and emailed it to me! Needless to say, they were on the itinerary for my second trip to town, as well. I bought the kit pictured below at the show and if you look closely you will see the red bundle that caused TSA such consternation.

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  1. Thank you so much for posting these! I love to see your work and it was so nice to virtually take part in your excursion. Thank you also for your kind comments on my blog. I cannot seem to find your e-mail adress to thank you “personally”. It would be nice to do so. Take care, Una

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