Friday, April 12, 2013

6 Tips for Quilt Show Shopping

Hi everyone:

I'm sure you're like me and love going to quilt shows (although you probably don't spend the kind of $$$ I do at shows - I just can't help myself!). All those wonderful quilts - and all those vendors! It's such fun to spend the day at a quilt show with quilty friends, but it can be such a pain - literally! If you're not properly prepared, you can end up with sore feet and an aching back and that's not fun. So, to keep you feeling as great at the end of the day as at the beginning, follow these 6 suggestions.

Okay, not the outfit I wear to quilt shows,
but this girl is obviously a savvy shopper - look at all those bags!
Wear proper footwear You're not on a catwalk, so those 5-inch stilettos aren't going to cut it at the quilt show. Believe me, no one's looking at your feet - they're wondering if you're really going to purchase that 40% off quilt kit in your hand or if they have a chance to scoop it up when you put it back on the vendor's table. Good walking or running shoes and proper socks will keep your feet cool and supported through the day - and that's exactly what you want. Happy feet, happy shopper quilter.
Photo courtesy of
Pretty, but not practical

Getting there - they're really comfortable,
but maybe a little flashy for the quilt show
Photo courtesy of
Just right!
Dress in layers This is especially important if the quilt show is outside. In Calgary, it can be near 0 celsius in the morning and warm up to +23 celsius by the afternoon. It can also get warm at indoor shows as the shopping frenzy escalates. Dressing in layers is critical to successful shopping. I suggest a cotton t-shirt with a cotton hoodie or sweater over top - if the show is outdoors, a Goretex jacket is not a bad idea, especially in Calgary. Anything that can be bundled up and stuffed stored in the bottom of your shopping bag is perfect.
Cotton t-shirt - good as first layer
Not that kind of jacket!
Carry your purchases properly I used to take a backpack to shows, but am starting to use a rolling bag. It has several outside pouches, good for snacks and a water bottle, an extendable handle and a zippered top. I think that the rolling bag carries more than the backpack (oh joy, oh bliss!) and is certainly better for my back. I'm not nearly as sore at the end of the day with the rolling bag.

Okay for small quilt shows and minimal shopping

Photo courtesy of
Perfect for the entire-day-quilt -show
Stay hydrated I always carry a water bottle when I'm at a quilt show. I can refill it at the water fountain and it reminds me to keep drinking my water. All that competitive shopping burns through calories and it's easy to become dehydrated and tired if you forget to drink throughout the day. Pack a water bottle, it's as essential as your credit card.
Yes, this is actually my water bottle
Muppets rule!
Eat! I usually tuck a few snacks into my shopping bag. Not much, a few granola bars, some fruit, maybe some almonds and definitely chocolate (although I did forget the chocolate this past week-end and had to wait until I got home to restore my chocolate balance). Grazing throughout the day helps to keep up your shopping stamina and we all know how important that is.
Photo courtesy of
I love these and usually pack a few in my shopping bag
Sit down This is an easy one as there are usually chairs somewhere at the event. I know these are for husbands who have to wait while their wives are shopping, but if you see an empty chair, take a few minutes to put your feet up. They'll thank you later that evening.
Put your feet up for a few minutes - it will really help!
What are your tips for successful quilt show shopping?


Lee D said...

go with a friend and take some chocolate!

Peggy said...

Fabulous tips! Need to go get me one of those rolling bags!

Colleen said...

Great tips. I have also learned to walk around and look at all the vendors first, then go back and buy. More than once, I have bought something at one stall, only to find the identical product at a lower price at another stall. However, if the show was really big, I'd just take my chances.

I don't think I should get one of those rolling carts. If I did, I might get the idea that I need to fill it up!

Andrea said...

Great tips! I zooom around once to check everything all out, and then my second round I become serious and look more carefully :-)

Chatterbox Quilts said...

Thanks for the comments, ladies! Great tips from Colleen and Andrea about checking out all the vendors first to get the best prices. I guess I know the vendors too well as I usually already know who will have the best price on certain items :) Yup, you can sure put a lot of things in those rolling bags!

Cathy (Corbin) Keevill said...

Great post Kim!
You forgot my number one tip...bring along a friend with a rolly bag. :)
I always forget a good bag.
My tip is have a budget and stick to it. This is a multi purpose tip. Keeps hubby happy. Not too much to carry. Leaves room in studio for me to work.

Chatterbox Quilts said...

Yes, Cathy, I forgot that one tip. Now you best quilting friend actually has one of these bags and may even let you put your purchases in it if we're at a show together! :) Having a budget is a good one and I struggle with this. Will definitely have to work on making and sticking to a budget. Yes, it does make the hubby happy :)