QuiltCon 2018 starts next week in Pasadena. I'll be there with my family. Maybe you are attending. Maybe it's your first time. I thought I would share a few tips. If you have additional tips or questions about QuiltCon, please feel free to leave them in the comments.
Download the App
Download the CrowdCompass AttendeeHub app to get this year's QuiltCon app. It's an easy, in-your-pocket way to keep track of all your events and connect with others. You can use it to take notes and to set reminders for events. View the Event Directory to find your friends and add them as contacts or send messages through the app. I *think* you can also access online here. (Someone tell me if that doesn't work.)
My first QuiltCon (Pasadena 2016) I took a million classes. I don't advise that. ;-) Take classes. They are great. But consider how much bandwidth you have for sitting in a classroom and taking in new information. Also consider leaving yourself plenty of time for seeing the show, visiting the vendors, seeing the town, and socializing with quilty friends. (Most classes are currently full, but there is availability in some and numerous people are trying to sell their spots. Check at registration.)
Lectures are great info and a low price point. They are more likely to have space available at this point. Lecture passes are available for a whole day of lectures as long as no individual lectures that day have sold out. Check the schedule for which lectures appeal to you to see if a day pass makes sense as a way to save over the price of paying for each lecture individually. Be sure to bring paper and pencil for notetaking. Any lecture or panel is sure to be a wealth of info!
Schedule time in advance to meet up with people you want to see while you're there. (For walking the show together or a meal, etc.) This may include a guild dinner on meeting up with your online quilter friends in real life! I think scheduling in advance is especially important for online friends you want to connect with. A friend and I missed each other entirely in Savannah because we were trying to connect on the fly and were never in the same place at the same time. Now is the time to reach out to the online friends you want to be sure to connect with and make a plan for when that will be. One great option is to plan to meet up at one of the QuiltCon organized evening social events.
Related to social time with people you already know... be open to just meeting people while you are at the show. 99% of us will be there because we LOVE quilts. (The other 1% will be dragged along by someone who LOVES quilts.) I am a super big extrovert, but I sometimes struggle with small talk with people who are new to me. I found this to be a particular challenge in Savannah when I was basically going to bed at late California time and getting up at early Savannah time and I was sleep deprived all weekend. There are many ways to connect with people. Consider chatting with someone sitting next to you at a demo, waiting in line for food at the concession stand, or another person admiring the same quilt as you at the show. If you have a hard time thinking of what to say, try one of these questions to get the conversation started:
- What have you been most inspired by today?
- What do you love most about quilting?
- Are you working on a project that you're excited about? Tell me about it.
- Where did you travel here from? (There are many people who travel internationally for QuiltCon.)
- Are you here with any friends? (If you meet someone who isn't traveling with a group, it would be nice to invite them to join your group for dinner. The crowd I've encountered is very "the more the merrier" at QuiltCon.)
- Have you found any fabulous deals in the vendor booths?
- What's the next thing you're checking out today?
Another point worth mentioning in the "meeting people" section is the strangeness of meeting people in person for the first time that you only know online. There are many of us who are connected online in one way or another. I have online quilter friends who I'm super excited to meet in person. Some have become such close friends that we keep in touch by email, or even chat by phone or FaceTime. Then there are people who I feel I've gotten to know through conversations on social media. There are also numerous people whose work I really enjoy online, but who I don't really know. To complicate matters, numerous people don't use their name for their social media handles and maybe never post any photos of their face. So... when meeting someone who I "know" online I like to remember that they may have no idea who I am and offer them a little context if I think they might know me. If it's someone whose work I admire, but whom I don't expect to know me, I may say something about what I like about their work. Even when you meet one of the industry sewlebrities, remember that just like you, he or she is there because they love quilts and any of those above questions will do. ;-)
The show of quilts in Pasadena is in two rooms. The main room with the vendors and a hall next door. Super close. But be sure not to miss those quilts! And leave yourself plenty of time. There is a lot of very fine work to take in! Also, be sure to make your way through all the vendors booths, as they have many additional amazing quilts to awe and inspire. Remember, that while it's great to take pictures of the show quilts, you should ask vendors before photographing anything in their booth. And be sure to credit makers if you share photos online. Again, quilts in the show are fair game to share, but check with vendors before posting their work.
Things to Do
If you aren't taking classes or attending workshops, there is still lots to do! There are demos both in individual booths as well as the main demo area. Many vendors have games and activities in their booths. And don't forget to do some shopping. Be on the lookout for book signing schedules in some booths. Enjoy the warm Southern California weather with a walk or a meal outside.
There is convention center food available for purchase, but in Pasadena there are many dining options just across the street in Paseo Colorado, an outdoor retail district.
Things to Bring
- Business/Contact cards -- for connecting with others.
- Handwork -- for while you're resting or waiting for class/lecture/demo to start.
- Notebook and pen/pencil -- to keep track of all that is inspiring you!
- Spending Money -- cause shopping... 'nuf said.
- Comfortable Shoes -- you'll be walking a lot!
- Buttons (or stickers) to swap -- don't have buttons, check here to see if there's still time.
If you're attending QuiltCon I hope you have a great time. Get even more info on the QuiltCon site. If you see me, please stop me to say hello. I'm not taking any workshops this year, but plan to attend the following lectures:
- Thursday 2/22 @ 1:20 - Panel: Social Media and Quilters
- Thursday 2/22 @ 3:00 - Quilt as Desired: Choosing Walking Foot Friendly Designs for Your Quilt with Jacquie Gering
- Friday 2/23 @ 12:00 - How to Design a Quilt in Five Easy Steps with Latifah Saafir
- Saturday 2/24 @ 12:00 - Featured Lecture: You Make The Rules: How I Use Design To Guide Work And Life with C. Friedlander
- Saturday 2/24 @ 3:00 - Lessons from Art Critique - with Chawne Kimber
Aside from those times, I'll most likely be bopping around QuiltCon with my quilter kiddos (ages 5 and 7) who each have a quilt (from Kids Quilt Round Robin) in the Youth category of the show.
Let me know if I'll see you there!