More and more shows are adding categories for modern quilts, but what about the rest of the show and venue? Outside of the educational and aesthetic aspects of a show, the vendor hall is one of the big draws. So, as a modern quilter, do traditional shows have a vendor hall for us?
In a word: yes. Outside of aesthetically desirable fabric (I’ll get back to that in a bit), big shows also offer the opportunity to try out a variety of machines, whether embroidery, longarm quilting, or serger. It’s often a great time to get a good deal thanks to show pricing, and it’s often possible to buy floor models if you don’t mind a bit of use beforehand. If you’re looking to really get your hands on a bunch of machines and try them out side by side, a big quilt show is where you want to go. If you don’t see a price listed, do make sure to ask if there are any specials being run for the show, and how long they will be honored after the show is over. Sometimes they can last a few days after everything has been packed away.
OK, back to aesthetically desirable fabric: as a former archaeologist, I love the thrill of the hunt, so I don’t mind poking around and seeing what’s in all the booths, no matter what show I’m at. A few years ago, solids and modern prints were often hard to find at many shows, but that really seems to be changing. While shows overall may not be all-modern-all-the time (there are a ton of quilters out there, and a ton of different tastes), I can pretty much guarantee there will be something of interest there for you. Besides, you might find something so inspiring and new, it doesn’t matter what category it technically falls under, right? Enjoy!