Beyond Class Supplies: 5 Important Things to Bring to QuiltCon

February 16, 2024

Have you packed your sewing kit? Do you have your clothes and toiletries ready? What else do you need to have a great trip to QuiltCon?

The show floor for QuiltCon 2023

(While this article is geared towards QuiltCon, much of this will apply to any major quilt show.)

1. Charging Bank for your phone

Convention centers are notorious for sapping the power from your phone, and you want to retain power throughout the day. I always take tons of photos at the show, and QuiltCon has a super helpful app to help you know where to go and when so you don’t miss out on anything. A portable charger for your phone and any necessary cords will keep you powered up for the whole day without tethering you to an outlet to get a charge.

2. Items to Share

Are you ready to meet up with all of your online friends in person? Many QuiltCon attendees hand out personalized stickers to the people they meet at the show. While stickers are currently the most popular item, buttons were all the rage a few years ago, and I’m seeing handmade friendship bracelets popping up on Instagram, too. Custom ribbons to wear on your name badge are another fun giveaway item starting to gain popularity.

If you have a quilty business, make sure you bring along some business cards, too!

These are the stickers I am handing out at QuiltCon 2024


If you are flying to QuiltCon, unpack your stickers and spread them out in your luggage. If you pack them in the plastic-wrapped block they come in, security will stop you for a bag check. (Guess how I know this!)

3. Snacks and a Hydration Plan

A lot is happening at a big show like QuiltCon, and it’s easy to get caught up in the moment, forgetting to take a break to eat and drink something. I always try to keep one of the sweet and savory snacks with me to fill in gaps when I can’t get away from the convention center.

Staying Hydrated is the best way to have a good quilt show experience, even if that means buying that $5 bottle of convention center water. Consider bringing a refillable water bottle to keep costs down, although I have been in convention centers that turn water fountains off during events to prevent you from filling these.

Regardless of your hydration method, ensure you use a bottle with a tight seal that can go into your bag or purse since QuiltCon (rightfully) doesn’t permit beverages on the show floor.

The show floor at QuiltCon 2023

4. Health and First Aid Items

Bring along some of your favorite over-the-counter painkillers. I rarely get headaches, but I end up with one at nearly every convention I have ever attended. I can’t tell you how many times I have purchased a seriously overpriced aspirin packet at a hotel gift shop. Now, I try to be smart about it and bring some with me to have it when needed.

Blisters are real, so bring some Band-Aids. You will be on your feet for long periods and want to make that as comfortable as possible. Good shoes are also critical to a good experience.

Masking is not required, but even before 2020, many people always came home with what we called “the QuiltCon Crud,” and last year, a bunch brought back the dreaded C—-. If you want to avoid getting sick, consider bringing masks to wear, at least in the most crowded parts of the show.

The show floor at QuiltCon2022

5. A QuiltCon Plan

While this isn’t something you can tuck into your suitcase between your toothbrush and fabric scissors, it’s a good idea to think about your priorities for the show.

Do you have any can’t-miss vendors on your list? Do you want to look at quilts when the floor is less busy, or are you hoping to run into lots of people to talk to about the quilts? Everyone’s priorities for QuiltCon are different, so consider what you want to spend the most time doing before you reach the show floor.

Seeing the Quilts

At QuiltCon, the entire show floor is almost always busy, but the afternoons are less crowded as people break for a late lunch or attend a workshop. Sunday afternoon is the least crowded time, so it’s a great time to take photos if you are there that day.

The show floor at QuiltCon 2023

Visiting the Vendors

If you have a specific item on your list, pick it up on the morning of the first show day. Vendors do sell out of popular and unique items. This is particularly true of the pin cushions from Fish Museum and Circus. This booth is legendary for the number of shoppers it draws the first morning. If one of these fantastic ceramic items is at the top of your list, you should bring your patience and carefully follow any instructions they give you for how they are handling crowd control.

Follow any vendors you are particularly interested in on social media to find out if they have anything special happening in their booth during the show.

At QuiltCon 2023 quilts winning the top awards were placed at the front of the vendor space.

Taking Classes

A few workshops may still be open, but most sold out months ago. The good news is that most lectures are still open, and you buy a ticket at the door. Usually, a bulletin board is available where classes that another attendee is suddenly unable to take are posted. If you watch the board, you may snag something awesome.

Are you already enrolled in a class? Locate the classroom beforehand so you know exactly where you are heading when carrying your supplies.

Plaid Matchstick Quilting at QuiltCon 2023


My experience has been that most convention center food options are minimal, especially for anyone with specific food needs, such as vegetarian or gluten-free, not to mention over-the-top expensive. Whenever possible (and it isn’t always possible), I leave the convention center for meals.

Take a little time before you head to the show to see what food options are available near the convention center. Most of us get so wrapped up in the show that we forget to eat until we are overly hungry. Knowing which restaurants have a menu and price range that works for you or your group helps you make better choices more quickly.

Are you heading to QuiltCon?

What advice do you have for other attendees?

1 Comment

  • Reply
    February 17, 2024 at 11:00 am

    All excellent advice, Cassandra. Looking forward to another fun QC.❤️

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