Machine Quilters Expo

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I spent three days at the Machine Quilter’s Expo in Providence, Rhode Island. During that time, I attended eight classes. I’ll share them with you over the next few days.

This morning I’ll talk about my overall impression, because this is unlike ANY other quilt show that I’ve ever attended. First of all, the organization was impeccable. These guys know their stuff! My favorite was a mini-class list (with class name and classroom location) that fit inside your name badge. No need to paw through your purse to find out where your next class was …  the info was always handy!

Although there were hands-on classes, all of my classes were lectures. They started and stopped exactly on time. I liked that!  They had camera’s set up over the long-arms and other demonstrations, so that you could see what was going on —  which was another big plus.

The teachers were all amazing. They were much younger than the teachers on the traditional quilting circuit, and were very professional and knowledgeable. Most of the people that I talked to in my classes had long arm quilting businesses. They were there to learn. And there was a ton of information packed into those 2 hour classes. Most people admitted that they were on overload!

There were only a couple of negatives for me, and it mainly had to do with the fact that I do not have a long arm machine. First of all, some of the info just didn’t apply to me — even the best free motion quilter on a domestic machine can’t manipulate it like a long arm machine. Some of the quilting was amazing and it made me a little jealous. These women literally danced with their machines! Secondly, it got a little boring watching people quilt for 2 hours at a time on a camera. I learned a lot … they were amazing quilters … but after about 45 minutes the stitches started to look the same and I was ready to do something else.

The classes I enjoyed most were more about the nuts-and-bolts of quilting, and less about the nitty gritty of the long arm. But I’m not the typical demographic of the show.

The quilt show, as expected, was beautiful.

I found the overall tone of the show to be very serious. However I did not go to the ice cream social, or the fashion show, or the banquet. I just went to classes. However the students were quiet and attentive. They were not there for fun … they were there to learn!

And, as always, I’m glad to be home. My head is full of new ideas. I didn’t buy any fabric. I did buy some thread.

Rhode Island Convention Center

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