Traveling square by square – Quilting tourism

Art QuiltsWhen I read about the National Quilt Museum and heard about friends who had organized a quilting seminar at a major New Mexico hotel, I quickly realized that quilters travel. They travel to museums, to seminars and to quilt shows. In case you are a quilter or a person who appreciates the art of quilts you might consider organizing a vacation around a quilting theme. And, with Mother’s Day on the horizon, you might consider a nice trip for your quilting Mom.  Here are some ideas.

Visit the National Quilt Museum – Paducah, Kentucky is home to the National Quilt Museum. In the three galleries, there may be as many as 150 quilts on display on any day. There are always new, frequently changing exhibitions, as many as a dozen a year. The museum collection includes quilts from 46 of the 50 states and 16 countries. More on the National Quilt Museum.

National Quilting Association Annual Show – The National Quilting Association (NQA) puts on a huge show each year with 400 competition quilts, special exhibits, classes, lectures, an extensive vendor mall, and special events. More on the National Quilting Show. NOA also keeps a calendar of regional shows.

Studio Art Quilting Associates – For those most interested in art quilts, SAQA has a conference as well. Every year SAQA holds a conference that is geared towards art quilters who want to learn marketing skills, further the development of their business, and network with other art quilters. There are also pre-conference workshops. More on SAQA.

Art Quilt Tahoe – Imagine enjoying quilting seminars at beautiful Lake Tahoe. Art Quilt Tahoe is an annual art quilt educational conference where you will spend four days studying with the quilt artist of your choice and enjoy presentations by other faculty members at lunch and dinner. This is just one example of the many travel opportunities for art quilters. More on Art Quilt Tahoe.

Quilt Shop Hopping – In Western Washington Quilt shops have banded together to put on a weekend of quilt shopping. The Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop is an annual event sponsored by locally owned quilt shopsQuilt Shop Hop in Western Washington.

Each shop designs a special quilt block to give away with one piece of Shop Hop theme fabric, one coordinating fabric, and a fabric of the shop’s choosing.  Some shops will have a finishing kits available for purchase. More on the Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop.

Quilt Tours and Cruises – There are tour companies that specialize in quilting. I found one offering a tour to China. Imagine combining a passion for quilts with travel.  World of Quilts Travel. Just Google “Quilt Cruise” and you will find a myriad of travel opportunities via cruise lines. Quilters can cruise anywhere and enjoy seminars and networking with other quilters right onboard ship. Here is one company that specializes in quilting cruises, Quilt Retreat at Sea.

Look for Quilting at Every Turn – I am not a quilter but have great respect for the art of quilting. I’ve found that quilting can be found in many places… in fiber arts shows, Native American art and craft shows and in museums. I once ran across some amazing art quilts on exhibit  in Denali National Park. I saw a Native American quilter honored for her quilting skill. And, have found quilt collectors looking through antique shops in pursuit of beautiful American quilts for their homes.

As an example of the unusual places you may find quilts and quilters, here’s an  article on a Hopi Quilter.

From Quilting Bees to Travel
Gone are the days when women gathered only at a home or church and quilted for an afternoon. Women have changed and so has quilting. With strong roots in the tradition of quilting, including the networking aspect, groups now focus on quilting as art, and international quilting travel.  If you are a quilter, you can travel the world, block by block or stitch by stitch.

More Information
All About Quilting
Quilts, Inc. Listing of Quilt Shows

Photo Credit: Quilts at the Santa Fe Community Gallery – Elizabeth R. Rose
Poster: Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop

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