Thursday, May 21, 2009

Report from Spring Market in Pittsburgh, PA

It’s always a race to the finish line getting ready for quilt market. There’s the last minute proofing of patterns, printing, shipping and packing (and hoping that everything fits). Travel is the next challenge with all the large, heavy suitcases. You always hope that they all come in under 50 lbs and that they all arrive safely on time. This is especially worrisome when there are multiple stops along the way. We were fortunate not to run into any glitches along the way and arrived in Pittsburgh in one piece with all seven pieces of luggage – ugh.

The Westin Hotel was perfect as it is connected by a skywalk to the Convention Center. What a beautiful venue… lots of room and great lighting. It overlooks one of the three rivers in Pittsburgh. The benches on the balcony makes for a peaceful place to rest if you need just a few minutes away from the booth to refresh. There was a very curious stream of words running along the side of the roof. We tried to make sense of it but never had much luck. Do anyone out there have a clue as to what it is… are they just random words that someone “up there” is typing in, or perhaps a story or poem? Would love to know. We asked several locals and they had no idea… interesting.

After a long day of travel, then on to set-up the booth. This can take up to 2 full days depending on the amount of decorating that goes into it. It is impressive to see forklifts with containers of not only products but also props for the booths. Fortunately we finished early and had time to take one of the 3-hour bus tours of the city. What a bonus! We had no idea what a gem of a city this is. We always associated it with steel and coal mines but did you know that the city has over 900 bridges and many, many hospitals and universities? One of the stops along the tour was at the University of Pittsburgh to see both the Cathedral of Learning and the Heinz Chapel (a gift from Henry John Heinz, founder of Heinz Food Company & his children). The spectacular Gothic style Cathedral is a historic landmark and the 2nd tallest education building in the world. In addition to the libraries and learning centers, it has 26 classrooms each representing a different cultural heritage. They each embody the beauty and heritage of a particular country. This is definitely a must see if you are in the area (

Market was smaller this year and although attendance was probably down, it still held the excitement and enthusiasm we enjoy getting from this show. The locals were warm and friendly and the food excellent. In fact we ate at the same restaurant 4 out of the 5 nights we were there… the Sonoma Grille, it was great. Thank you Pittsburgh. We can’t wait to come back.

Be sure to check out our new patterns and take a few minutes to watch the video demonstrations we have added to the site.

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