Putting the International in International Quilt Festival

My friend Torun

Even though it’s been over a month, some things are just too monumental not to document! Such is the case with meeting up with friends from all over the world for the fall events known simply as Quilt Market and Quilt Festival held annually in Houston ~ think of it as a quilter’s Disneyland and family reunion all rolled into one!

This adventure started over a year ago when my friend, and fellow Studio 180 Design Certified Instructor, Torun introduced me to her friend Maria….seems Maria was planning a Swedish Quilter’s Tour for 2018.  Because Preview Night (opening) of the quilt festival was, as the name implies, at night (grin) the quilters had a day to fill and since I’m ‘local’ would I help her with a bus tour of the area? Would I indeed!

Let’s Do Lunch, Texas Style!

The bus tour actually began with the gals taking a morning tour of the NASA Space Center, just a few miles up the road from where I lived yet 30+ miles from their hotel near the downtown quilt show. My plans were to join them after their tour as I had things to prepare for our lunch. I couldn’t think of anything better than the best BBQ in the area! Dickinson BBQ ~ they have actually been awarded “best of” several years in a row so I’m not just bragging on my friends, owners Keith & Holly (Texans do tend to tell tall tales ya’know). To make it fun I decorated our dining room with homemade pumpkins and such (remember this was November!)

Turning Dickinson BBQ dining room into a fall festive atmosphere in preparation for my international friends.

It wasn’t too long before the tour bus arrived and everyone had the opportunity to order off the menu. I neglected to mention that in addition to my Swedish guests we had a couple of Aussies join us, friends Helen and Jo, as well as a few “locals” even though a few of our “locals” were technically from out of town, another fellow certified instructor Linda and her friend as well as a friend from our local guild. The room was overflowing with fun, food, and fellowship!

Welcome to Dickinson BBQ!


Real cowgirls! This is what happens when you let Aussies crash a Swedish party ~ shenanigans

A Word About Our Sponsors!

I need to take a moment and acknowledge a little help from my industry friends! Months before our big event I asked generous “sponsors” to contribute to a goodie bag that I wanted to present to the ladies at lunch ~ this is my belated thank you to those who “made me look good” by their generosity!  Here’s the bounty laid out the day before as I was preparing the gift bags.

And now a word about our sponsors!


Individual batting packages from FiberCo, a Texas manufacturer of wonderful batting that I personally use in my quilts and longarm business. Thank you, Gary!


Spools of Glide thread and a thread chart from Fil-Tec/Hab+Dash, thank you, Chris!


Precut 5″ square collection from Island Batik. Thank you, Caleb!


Migrating Geese Technique Sheet and The Quilter’s Magic Wand from Studio 180 Design. Thank you, Deb!

I was so excited to see that my international friends had everything to make a little souvenir quilt to remember their trip thanks to my friends ~   fabric, thread, technique sheet & tool, and batting! I just had to throw in one more item so they’d remember me too!

Random choice of The Quilt Rambler patterns was also included in the gift bag for my international friends

Maria had a surprise for me too ~ a beautiful set of crystal glass candle holders and TWO bars of Swedish Chocolate!!! The candle holders are gracing my kitchen island under the 3 foot Christmas tree, and the chocolate had been rationed one little delicious nibble at a time ~ can you believe I made it last until just last week! Me neither, but it’s the truth! Torun, I know you are reading this ~ bring more chocolate to the CI reunion this summer!!! (grin)

Swedish Chocolate


But Wait! There’s More!

Of course, there’s more to my belated tale….after lunch, everyone boarded the tour bus for a half mile ride to Teo’s Treasure’s Quilt Shop for a shop hop!!! Yep, why wait until Preview Night to get our shopping started!!!

Welcome to TEO’s Treasures! Sheryl is one of the owners and loves to make sure each person entering her quilt shop is personally greeted and assisted.


Fabric, fabric and more fabric ~ and notions, and patterns, and, and, and…


Maria, fearless leader, and darling demo gal

The ladies had about an hour to shop before loading up the tour bus again and heading a few more miles south to Texas City for a shop hop at Cactus Quilts, (fondly just called Carla’s by the locals).

Carla welcomed our international guests


Shop till you drop!


Time to say goodbye


After about an hour of shopping, it was time to say goodbye and load the tour bus once again, this time for the hour-long ride into Houston for Preview Night at the Houston International Quilt Festival, where the festivities continued for four additional days! I’d love to know if the gals brought empty suitcases to fill with their new found treasures or just how many international packages were shipped at the conclusion of the event!

I Get By With A Little Help of My Friends

As I have looked through my photos from Quilt Market and Quilt Festival 2018 I can’t believe another year has come and gone ~ much less how long it’s been since this year’s event and how long it’s taken me to blog about it! If you follow me on Facebook  I realize this is “old news” as I posted a lot of photos back then….but I did want to take the time to say thank you to Torun for introducing me to Maria, and to Maria for trusting me with the afternoon details. Thank you, Justin and crew, at Dickinson BBQ for your special attention to my guests (and it goes without saying thanks for yet another fabulous meal!) Thank you to Sheryl & Beth and Carla for your friendship and for opening up your shops to my new international friends. Thank you sew much to Gary, Chris, Caleb, and Deb for your generosity and your respected companies for making my joy complete in being able to share the bounty with my international friends ~ each of you holds a special place in my heart and I will be forever grateful to call you friends. And of course, you dear reader for your faithfulness in at least skimming the photos of my rather long rambles! Truly I have a lot to be thankful for!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, heading back to the studio to finish up those Christmas quilting deadlines! Happy Holidays!



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4 thoughts on “Putting the International in International Quilt Festival

  1. Susan the Farm Quilter says:

    What lovely gifts were gifted between you and the lovely ladies from Sweden. So glad you were able to show them some Texas hospitality with a private shop hop!! I hope they came over with a few empty suitcases to fill with goodies…the prices here are much lower than those found in Europe. Thanks for sharing pictures of the fun you had!

  2. Roseanne says:

    Hi Karen! What a lovely experience you created for all the visitors. And how nice of the sponsors. I will need to check out that local batting company! And that BBQ looks delicious – yum. You put a lot of thought and dedication into making it special for each of them, and that is so nice of you. I enjoyed seeing all the photos! Merry Christmas to you and your family. Happy Happy Wednesday to you. ~smile~ Roseanne

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