QUILT CORNER : Get ready for the International Quilt Festival, be it at home or in Houston 
Billie Ruth Standbridge | �The Quilt Lady� - Lone Star Heritage Quilt Guild

Oct. 28, 2006 - You may remember I mentioned in last week’s article that I would give you some information about the upcoming International Quilt Festival in Houston, produced by Quilts Inc. The dynamic lady Karey Bresenhan, president of Quilts Inc., started this whole thing with her cousin Nancy O’Bryant and their mothers (now deceased) back in 1974. Quilt Inc. has been named one of the top 50 woman-owned businesses in Houston, as reported by the Houston Business Journal. Its attendance of 54,000 in 2005 made it the largest quilt show in the world. Think of the revenue quilters bring in to that city.

Don’t you know they love to see them coming!    

As thrilled as you might be in anticipating seeing literally thousands of beautiful quilts and being in vendor heaven, there needs to be some preplanning. Going to a show of this magnitude you need to start a walking regimen weeks in advance; I have no idea how many thousands of square feet are in the George R. Brown Convention Center. Also, at the show, wear your most comfortable shoes and clothes (this is not a style show); have a bag that has wheels (your shoulders can hold only so much, and you cannot go to this show without buying); carry water with you (any oasis is far away); keep your layout map with you so you’ll know where the free teaching areas are so that you’ll have a place to sit and rest; know where the restrooms are and try to go at odd hours. If you go at the time everybody has to go, the line goes for about a mile, obviously to the women’s restroom, while almost nobody is using the men’s restroom. When I was there, some thoughtful lady said she would watch the door while several went in to the men’s side and she would warn us if a man wanted to go in. Well, maybe she got tired of her guard duty, because the next thing I knew, I ”heard” a man in there. I flew out of the stall and kept my focus on the door. I didn’t try that shortcut again!

You can understand the problems of lodging for the Paducah, Ky., Quilt Show in a town of 28,000 when you have 35,000 quilters show up. Houston doesn't have a problem with rooms, it’s how far those rooms are from the convention center. Naturally, if you want to be near the center, then you need to make your reservations months in advance.

How to actually get the attendees to the doors of the convention center is also a major issue. Due to construction, there are no parking lots adjacent to the convention center, however, some hotels are close enough for the quilters to walk to the center. Beyond that proximity, plans have been developed to utilize parking areas of other centers and lots. Also, three 16-passenger shuttle buses will run regularly to hotels throughout the day in the outlying areas. From Park & Ride locations, the METRO will shuttle riders directly to the convention center. If a shuttle doesn’t fit your schedule, you could take a taxi and be dropped off at the door. You can easily see how lodging can affect your enjoyment of the quilt show. 

The show itself, with a general admission fee per day of $10 for adults and $8 for seniors, consists of many facets. Classes, with a separate charge, start on Monday, Oct. 30. under the auspices of the Quiltmaking Academy. Of the more than 400 classes and lectures spread throughout the week, you can take classes all week or a portion of any day. The classes, taught by experts from all over the world, are designed to meet the needs of all levels. In fact, some are free. Every technique that you can imagine is represented. How much you’re going to do depends on how much you can afford and how long you’re going to stay. There are over 1,000 vendors to entice you with their products and demonstrations and at least 2,000 quilts to view. You have to decide how much your mind can take in and your feet can stand. 

�Stay at home� quilters, as well as guild quilters, may be thrilled to hear of the following: Everybody who cannot attend the show and who has access to the Internet can enjoy a �Quilt Festival At Home.� (Yes, you can sit and enjoy in your jammies.) On Nov. 2, go to:

http://www.quilts.com/home/

and click on the ruby red slippers and you’ll be transported to the official show webcast. You’ll see many of the quilts and garments on display, activity on the show floor and in the classrooms, and all the winners from the annual Judged Show of the International Quilt Association. 

If you come to our next Lone Star Heritage Quilt Guild meeting on Nov. 27 at the Senior Citizens Center, 150 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, you’ll have the opportunity to meet Carol Morrisey, a published art quilter from the Dallas area, and an entrant in the juried international quilt show in Lyon, France, who will be presenting some of her work as well as the patterns she designs.  

The Welcome sign will be out. 

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