10 Things I Never Go to Quilt Market Without

In a few days I’m heading to St. Louis for Quilt Market, a trade show for those in the quilting business. This is my 11th Quilt Market and I always come back feeling refreshed and inspired!

I meet with fabric companies, designers, book publishers, product sellers, and more. I get to see beautiful fabric and projects, see new products and books, see trends in the industry, and meet others who are as passionate about quilting as I am. It’s a blast (but it’s good to be prepared so you get the most out of it).

Here are the 10 things I always have on my must-pack list:

1. A suitcase that’s bigger than you need. You’ll be bringing home business cards, catalogues, product samples, and fabric. Don’t forget to leave room for all the things you’ll collect there.

2. Your comfy shoes. You’ll be on your feet for at least 8 hours each day. Because you’ll be walking around a huge convention center, running to meetings, standing in line for lunch, and walking around the city (which is sometimes quicker than driving and finding parking), a few good pairs of shoes are a must.

3. A handmade bag. This is actually the first time I’ve brought a handmade bag to Market, but so many people have them (or a handmade clothing item). It’s a way to show off your unique style, it becomes a talking point with others, and you can tailor it to fit your needs — I made mine with boxed corners so I could easily fit lots of paper and products in it.

4. Your fave notebook, writing utensils, and tape. Even though you think you’ll remember people by their business cards, quilts or fabric by a picture, and important points about a product by the catalogue, you won’t. You’re seeing so much that when you get home you won’t remember details. It’s best to take notes of things you love and things you take pictures of. I’ll even tape business cards or handouts into the notebook and write notes next to it so I’m sure to remember!

5. Flair. Cute lanyards, name tags, and pins are common at Market. I use my lanyard to hold business cards at the ready (better than digging around in your bag). Bring your fave pins, but leave room for all the new ones you collect!

6. A handwork project. I’m bringing a cross-stitch Sampler (more info about it here). It’s a nice thing to work on while traveling or in the morning or at night. Plus, if you make new friends, you can suggest a craft night in the hotel room!

7. Reading material. Although I love talking quilting, after hours and hours sometimes your brain needs a rest. I always bring magazines and books on the trip to help me unwind at the end of the day and help shut my brain off from all the things I’ve seen.

8. Special personal items. I know sometimes packing is tight, but I always make sure to bring some of my fave beauty products to help with relax, feel my best, and stay in my routine. The lavender oil room spray reminds me of home, the face mask is a weekly indulgence, the chapstick is a fave, the face spray helps me feel refreshed after a long day, and the lotion is perfect for a foot massage.

9. A phone. It seems obvious, but there’s a lot I use my phone for at Market. I use it to keep appointments, set alarms, take pictures, search social media to see what other attendees are excited about, find local restaurants, listen to podcasts (my fave thing when I’m getting ready in the morning), and read books on my Kindle app.

10. A smile. It can be an exhausting week, but a smile makes everything better. It gives you energy, lifts your mood, makes you more approachable when meeting others, and helps you appreciate everything about the trip.


Thanks for joining me for “happy  hour,”


What are your must-have essentials for Quilt Market? Let me know in the comments below!

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