Quilt Show Etiquette

Quilting etiquette, is there is such a thing.  Yes, there most certainly is.  Whether you are vending, or attending, there are do’s and don’t’s to being a part of the quilting show world.  And although some of the “appropriate” behavior should be obvious, you would be amazed how many neglect to engage in the “Quilt Sh0w Etiquette”.

There are few major rules of Quilting Show Etiquette I’d like to share.

#1 Whether you are meandering the quilting venue or in a quilter’s booth, please be mindful that there are other people around you.

Like it, love it, or hate it.  If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it until you are securely locked in your car or hotel room.  It’s so frustrating listening to an individual rip apart a quilter’s project, a piece that has taken them much time and effort to create.  Remember, you never know who is standing right next to you and no one wants to overhear unkind words regarding anyone’s work.

#2 No Touchy

That’s right, unless you own the design it don’t assume it’s okay to feel the fabric,  or pull the quilt towards you in order to obtain a closer view.  That delicious chocolate bar you ate a few minutes ago might have a few tiny specs of sweet treats left on your fingers which will, according to  Murphy’s Law, find its way on that quilter’s prized project!  Or that Starbucks Mocha Latte Grande that you are slowly slurping while viewing the vendor’s quilting, again according to Murphy’s Law, will dribble onto the lightest portion of the prized quilt.  All a big:

Keep in mind that the owner is most likely standing within mental slapping distance!

#3 Conversing with the vendor.   The opportunity to speak with the owner of the booth is exciting. But again, please be mindful of others waiting to talk, or ask the vendor a question.

I love assisting guests with questions whether it’s regarding which ruler to use, insight on which classes to select, or simply exchanging quilting experiences.  That being said, I am very conscientious of other visitors who are taking the time to stop at my booth.  I encourage everyone to meet the designers they love (trust me, we want to meet you too!),  but I kindly suggest that you take note of others standing nearby who also may need a minute or two of the owners time.

What is you’re top Quilting Show Etiquette rule?

25 thoughts on “Quilt Show Etiquette

  1. I go to the IQF in Houston every year, and last year my biggest peeve was the people wearing scent. Women with perfume and men with cologne. Just wear soap when you go to these things so people aren’t distracted and have to relocate, not able to linger over a particular quilt that they’d like to study closer!

  2. Part of going to a Quilt Show is to learn from other quilters who have exhibits there. So are you saying that you should only say good things? I don’t like Modern Quilts but that doesn’t mean that I don’t look at them. In one quilt at a recent big show, the quilter used 3 different colors of black and it was very noticeable. Was it wrong for me to point out to a relatively new quilter with me that it would have looked better if the blacks were all the same?

    • No. That’s not what I’m saying. However, it’s subjective that you thought it would look better with one black. Maybe that’s what she wanted. You just need to be mindful of what and how you say something.

      • Also commenting quietly to a friend next to you is different from speaking in a voice loud enough for others to hear. Tone of voice has a lot of affect, too. Something pointed out objectively — “I notice she used three different black fabrics. It might have been for a reason, but I might have liked it better if there were only one…” is different from “Oh good grief! Why in the world would she use THREE blacks?!? That looks stupid!”

        Taking note of things you don’t like isn’t really the issue.

  3. Boy Lisa…what I expericed was way different…I knew I was going to purchase a long arm at the Daytona show…which I did by the way but walked away with a Handi quilter fusion with the pro stitcher and not the Bernina I wanted to try…the vender was not friendly and treated me like I was a pain in the you know what and I never got to try out the machine. I have decided to sell my bernina sewing machine because of my experience!!! Venders should also be kind and not down their competitors turns me off!!!!

  4. #2 Don’t even touch a quilt if it is yours (at a Show)…..LOL. I got a telling off at a Quilt Show because I unthinkingly picked up a corner to show a friend how I did the label on my quilt.

  5. What a great topic. The only ones I can think to add are people who stop and chat in a very busy isle and clog the flow of traffic. Also be aware of people wanting to photograph quilts. I try not to walk in front of them and block their view. I also have volunteered to be a white glove lady who watches out for quilt touchers, as well as showing the backs to others. The fun part is threatening to tackle very nice people if they don’t stop touching.

  6. Pack patience, kindness, and forgiveness. I find that everyone visiting the quilt show is always looking at the same quilt that I am, when I am…Patience. Making sure that I wear a welcoming smile, goes a long way to that tired person who just drove four hours to get there through bad traffic…Kindness. In the course of a quilt show, someone will step on my foot, or elbow me by mistake…Forgiveness. Quilt shows are joyful and wonderful! Reminding myself of these things, helps me enjoy the beautiful gift of a quilt show!!!

  7. Getting hit in the heels by the carts that are not allowed, and the scooters that are. Ouch! Makes the show just as much fun as a trip to the grocery store.

  8. If you are at a show with a friend, instead of finding something negative to say about each quilt, look for something positive to say about each quilt…perfect points, color choices, fabrics, binding, quilting design. There is always something positive to say about a quilt, even if 99.9% of it doesn’t appeal to you. Look for that .1% and comment on it…if by chance the quilter is nearby, you will encourage her/him beyond belief.

  9. Cell phones! The show floors can be noisy, and people who do use their phones for conversation often turn up their own volume and get even noisier. But my ickiest phone experience at a show was in the women’s bathroom. A couple of stalls away someone was on speaker phone. yuck…

  10. I think you make a couple of nice points, but as with all things, it is not black and white- when I go to a show I not only want to look at the quilts but I want to discuss (with friend) what I like/don’t like about a quilt, helps me see what I might have missed or a different perspective …. or might like better, or effective use of a technique, color or where I could maybe make it better for my particular taste or use???? Photographs help me to remember a quilt, but a conversation about what I saw, helps me remember why I took the pictures when I look at them later. Because pattern, color and art are all ‘artistic choices’ and are subjective. Criticism, can also be an enlightening growth mechanism too, and if you are hanging around your quilt, hung in a show, you are inviting criticism- Good and Bad. Construction and techniques generally are prescribed and can be judged on merit, and kindness should be observed.
    My biggest Pet Peeve? When at a show, the aisle blockers-greetings and conversations that take place in the walkways completely oblivious to the traffic jam they create!!!

  11. HI Lisa. Nice conversations. My concern is when I am at a vendor’s booth trying to make up my mind ( which I try to do quickly because I have already been around the booth once) and another shopper rudely reaches over me or past me or puts their arm right across me to obtain what they are “eyeing” I want to say, “Excuse me, I didn’t’ realize I was in front of you!”! But I don’t say anything. It’s not worth it! Lol

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