Solo At The Quilt Show

melissa • August 29, 2016 • 22 Comments

By Melissa Kanovsky

Some things are just meant to be “done” with friends, like wedding dress shopping, TGIF drinks and quilt shows. Normally I do go to quilt shows with friends, or if I’m really lucky, with my mom, but this time no one could come with me. And I really wanted to go to this show – it was one I’d never been to, in a place I’d never been to, and it’s been a crazy summer. (I will have four kids in college in just a few weeks! What?!) I decided to be brave and go alone.

That’s how I ended up at the Bayberry Quilters of Cape Cod’s 35th Annual Quilt Show recently, sandwiched in the admissions line between groups of friends who were happily chatting as we waited our turns to pay and enter.


Cabins at the Beach, a raffle quilt at the recent Bayberry Quilters of Cape Cod quilt show.

I’m not going to lie – I did feel a touch sorry for myself as I watched the other women enjoying time with friends. And I might have wandered aimlessly for a bit (because it’s more fun than looking at the map in the show book) until I found my way into the exhibit area, and started looking at the amazing quilts. A woman and a young girl joined me in front of a fabulous Lone Star quilt, and explaining to me that she was the quilter, the woman picked a few threads off the quilt and started talking to me. I had just made my first friend of the day, Maryann Bowman! Her machine quilting is beyond wonderful, and the quilts she was showing were all showstoppers. It was not a surprise that she had been chosen as one of the two featured quilters for the show. She was friendly and made me feel so welcome. I left feeling much better about being there alone but not lonely.


Maryanne Bowman, one of the featured quilters at the Bayberry Quilters’ show, with one of her stunning quilts.

Next I met another friend, Michelle, as we walked through the exhibit looking at the quilts and discussing our favorite fabric designers (we both love Kaffe), techniques, the search for new shops wherever we go, the fabric license plates from Row by Row, life, the universe and everything. I gave her a copy of Generation Q Magazine as a token of my appreciation for her friendliness.


Cape Cod Whales, another eye-catching–and regionally flavored–entry at the Bayberry show.

Feeling positively giddy, I took myself shopping at the Quilt-ish booth – I was dying to see what wonderful things the owner, June, had, and I was not disappointed! I got some Falmouth Fishies and Run Herring Run fat quarter bundles as well as two other gorgeous fat quarters. June even explained herring running to me – I had been unaware! Then I visited another fave shop, Follow That Thread. Donna is awesome!

Next stop: batik beauties. See, I had heard from my magazine colleague Teri Lucas that SewBatik added a whole bunch o’colors to their gradient collection and she needed them, right now! Poor Teri has to wait until I see her to get them. I wonder if she knows that Bruce gives the best hugs EVER! (Shhh…Don’t tell Diane either, but I suspect she knows.)


She Crab Soup, the quilt that probably made me realize how hungry I was!

I was on a roll now! I was feeling the love! But I was also hungry. Really hungry. Like what-can-I-eat-right-now hungry. The lunch place was crowded, so I found a bench and pulled out a package of mixed nuts, which I keep in my bag for such emergencies. And yes, you guessed it–I made more friends! We chatted; I gave them copies of Generation Q Magazine, and they gave me recommendations for lunch (Captain Frosty’s lobster roll was delicious) and told me not to miss Tumbleweeds Quilt Shop. And wouldn’t you know it? I ran into them there! My day was complete when they invited me to have ice cream with them, which was such a treat. Twin Acres Ice Cream Shoppe was the perfect end to my first day on Cape Cod.  I can’t wait to go back!

So, how about you? Do you only go with the gang or do you sometimes go solo, immersing yourself in a quilt show experience in a new way? Tell us about a time when you went solo.

Quilt. Sew. Live. Breathe.


Melissa Kanovsky is advertising manager for Generation Q Magazine, and really will have four kids in college this year. Quilting—and Paso Robles wine—saves her sanity. She hails from Kansas but makes her home outside New York City with husband Jon, about 500 FQs and 125 cases of wine.

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Categories Needle Gypsies


  • Susan • 4 years ago
    COMMENT #1

    I have gone solo at times. Sometimes though, I think that I miss things that other eyes may pick up on. I always meet friendly quilters who share thoughts, ideas and opinions.

    • Melissa Kanovsky • 4 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Quilters are the best, aren’t they? Instant friends.

  • Joan Andrews • 4 years ago
    COMMENT #2

    Hey, Melissa,

    That’s about the finest tribute and shout out for Bayberry I’ve every seen. I’m so glad you enjoyed our show. The members put a lot of hard work into making this show happen every year and I’m sure they will all be appreciative of your wonderful comments, observations and the fact that you made friends. I hope you come back next year to enjoy another show and Cape Cod.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience

    Joan Andrews,
    Advertising Chair/Program Book

    • Melissa Kanovsky • 4 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Thanks to you and your guild for the great show! I’ll be back!

  • Becky Campbell • 4 years ago
    COMMENT #3

    I almost always go alone, but never feel alone.

    • Melissa Kanovsky • 4 years ago
      COMMENT #

      And now I know exactly how you feel!

  • Laura McFall • 4 years ago
    COMMENT #4

    When I go to Houston IQF, I ride on a bus from a local shop with friends, and then hit the show floor solo. I prefer to meander at my own pace, and look at what I am interested in and really LOOK at the quilts, not wander past while chatting aimlessly. It’s MY day to go to the show, and I enjoy every minute of it!! At the designated time, we get back on the bus and then share our experiences on the 3-4 hour ride home.

    • Melissa Kanovsky • 4 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Laura, you sound like a smart lady!

  • Melissa Kanovsky • 4 years ago
    COMMENT #5

    Be sure to check out the website for Quilt-ish of Cape Cod: June has an amazing shop!

  • Terry Donati • 4 years ago
    COMMENT #6

    I love going to quilt shows with friends, but really don’t mind going alone! I always end up talking to other people, and I look at the quilts and vendors at my own pace. Next time come visit us at the Clamshell Quilt Show in New London, CT – it’s always the same weekend as Bayberry, the first weekend in August.

    • Melissa Kanovsky • 4 years ago
      COMMENT #

      ooh, sounds like I’ll have two quilt shows to go to the next first weekend in August! Can’t wait!!

  • Rada Elegant • 4 years ago
    COMMENT #7

    Fun article. Thank you for coming to our show. So glad you had a good time and made so many new friends. Would you mind if we re-posted it on our Facebook page? And in our September newsletter?
    Rada Elegant, 2016 Bayberry Quilters of Cape Cod Quilt Show Chair

    • Melissa Kanovsky • 4 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Be our guest! Please do!

  • Beth • 4 years ago
    COMMENT #8

    I love going to quilt show with friends but I also love going solo. My husband and I travel all over the country to attend quilt shows. He searches for good resturants or interesting activities while I attend the show or take classes. Quilter’s are the friendliest people. There is always discussions of quilting techniques, favorite fabrics and pattern designers as well as quilting tools they couldn’t do without. I have made so many new friends that make each show special.

    • Melissa Kanovsky • 4 years ago
      COMMENT #

      If only I could get my husband to go anywhere near a quilt show …

  • Julie Dunn • 4 years ago
    COMMENT #9

    It is different to go alone, but nice sometimes, too.

    • Melissa Kanovsky • 4 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Trying new things is good, isn’t it?

  • quiltzyx • 4 years ago
    COMMENT #10

    I haven’t gone to a show alone – but I have done white glove work alone at Road to California and got to meet and talk with lots of great quilters. I also have “quilted at the L.A. County Fair”, where I didn’t know the other quilters when I got there, but we had a lot of fun working together.

    • Melissa Kanovsky • 4 years ago
      COMMENT #

      I’ve never done white glove work! That’s got to be my next challenge.

  • DJ • 4 years ago
    COMMENT #11

    I usually end up going alone but that also allows me to set my own agenda for the day, to stay as long as I like gazing at a single quilt that’s caught my eye or thoroughly exploring an amazing vendor booth–with no guilt about hurrying along to keep up with the group. And like so many of the others who posted, I always seem to have wonderful conversations with someone–a fellow quilter, a vendor, a show volunteer–conversations I likely wouldn’t have had if I had been part of a group. It also allows my imagination to run wild with new ideas, new techniques, new projects.

  • Pat Draa • 4 years ago
    COMMENT #12

    I usually go alone but sometimes I can corral my daughter to accompany me. I enjoy reviewing the pictures once I am home.

  • Chris • 4 years ago
    COMMENT #13

    I have one good friend I like to go with but I often go solo. Take my time and soak it up.

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