Quilt Show Etiquette

I saw this cute quilt at The Hemet Quilt Show.  I thought it was cute and reminded me how often I’ve seen a new quilter, at a quilt show, touch a quilt with ungloved hands.  It is an innocent action, as we do so appreciate not only the visual beauty, but the tactile feel of a quilt.  Unfortunately, many new attendees to a quilt show do not realize that quilts on display are placed on loan, with the understanding they will not be handled by ungloved hands.  We carry oils in our hands and they can build up on a quilt, with a lot of unprotected touching.

I do not recall ever seeing anything that provides insight on proper etiquite at a quilt show.  So, I decided to search the internet to see what I could find.  Here are a few insights on what I found:


  • Do be on time


  • Do make use of childcare facilities (if available) and/or follow shows guidelines for children at the respective show.  Many shows will not allow you to bring children, or strollers.  So do not just show up with children, if you do not know that the show you are attending will accept them.
  • Avoid wearing perfumes, as many participants have allergies!
  • Ask permission to take photographs in any vendor booth.   Photos taken of the quilts are allowed for personal use only. Photos posted to a website need permission from its maker/owner.
  • Verify if the show you are attending will allow you to take pictures of quilts on exhibit.  Some shows will, while others will not.  Do not assume you can take pictures. 
  • Remember to  not touch quilts, unless you are wearing white gloves! 
  • No food or beverages are typically allowed near quilts on exhibit or vendor booths.  Many quilt shows will not allow you to bring food or beverages into the show.
  • No smoking!


  • Do keep your booth open for the hours posted.  {do not pack up early}

You need not become the Quilt Police, but it is ok to gently inform another if you notice them violating proper etiquette.

As I’ve been working to compile this list, I’d love to hear your feedback.  Anything else that you’d recommend be added to this “Quilt Show Etiquette” list?


12 thoughts on “Quilt Show Etiquette”

  1. Most shows also have white-gloved hostesses who walk around the show, helping to make sure the ‘no touch’ & photography rules are enforced and to assist attendees with questions and seeing the back side of quilts (if that’s allowed). I’ve both been a hostess and been on the sharp-tongued side of a hostess as well. Hostesses should remember that we’re trying to encourage public interest in our art!


  2. I’ve done white-glove duty at our bi-annual quilt show. It’s fun. I love that cute way of reminding folks NOT to touch the quilts!!!


  3. I bring my own gloves to a show, and if I see someone touching a quilt (or PICKING at it, if you can believe THAT!) I go up to them and ask if I can turn the quilt for them. Most of the time the person doesn’t know you’re not supposed to touch, but occasionally I’ll get someone who is embarrassed to be caught, then they ask me where I got the gloves. I tell them I buy my own at a drugstore, which for some reason always surprises people.I wonder how good those cotton gloves would sell at a quilt shop…


  4. What a timely reminder as the UK’s biggest show is coming up. Most people actually know these things but sort of get carried away or think their little touch won’t hurt, it’s all those other people who do the damage!! Can I add – be thoughtful and careful what you say about a quilt? Be critical by all means but be constructive, you never know who’s listening and you won’t know the whole story of the quilter and the quilt on display.


  5. I wish there was quilt shows near where I live. I was so used to going to them when I lived in Lancaster county. Here there are none, and I can not believe how cold the quilt shop owners are, its no wonder their stores are always empty.


  6. Excellent list! One suggestion for the attendee list: Avoid using pens as a pointer when showing your friends elements of a quilt.Often I see folks at shows with pens in hand (presumably to take notes or make a sketch) when suddenly the pen gets alarmingly close to the quilt. aargh!


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