Quilters appreciate educational opportunities. You can learn independently via a book, DVD or online class, but an in-person class with an instructor still seems to be the preferred method for learning. What’s the going rate for quilt classes these days? It depends on the event venue, teacher and sponsor. Let’s explore.
Three big national quilting events all happen the same week in February 2023:
QuiltCon – Atlanta
AQS Quilt Week – Daytona Beach
Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival – Hampton Roads (Virginia Beach), VA
QuiltCon’s brochure states the fees are $120 for a 3 hour class and $240 for a 6 hour class. I am amazed when I look at some of the classes being offered, given one could easily replicate said class with a couple of YouTube videos or a book from the library and save $120. I get that it’s QuiltCon and classes are geared toward newer and younger quilters, but still. Many will sign up and happily get whatever class they can simply because it’s QuiltCon. The event organizers are well aware of this and take advantage of the opportunity to charge a premium for their class and lecture offerings.
Contrast this with AQS and Mancuso Quilt Fest who charge about half of what QuiltCon does. These groups host multiple events around the country throughout the year. I believe they have a better handle on what the average quilter is willing to pay for a class. I paid between $75 and $95 for my classes in Greenville and Pigeon Forge, depending on the instructor. Half-day classes at the Garden of Quilts event in Utah (where I’m headed in three weeks) are $69 per class. 3 hour classes at the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival were $75 in June 2021. The going rate for national events seems to be about $75 for a half-day class before any member or package discounts.
Prices for local events vary regionally. That said, I’m sure you have one business in your area that, like QuiltCon, charges a premium for instruction because they can and have customers who will pay their price. As with the previous discussion, we have a business in my area that advertises classes for about double what the local quilt shops and hobby stores charge. They can charge this fee and get it because the nearest competitor is at least 30 minutes away and ATL traffic reeks. PSA: If you want to learn how to make a French seam pillowcase: Google hot dog or burrito method pillowcase. It’s the same thing!
In my area, class fees are $25-$40 for a 3 hour class taken at a quilt shop. Fees may be slightly higher if the shop brings in a special guest. My local guild charges $50-$60 for an all day workshop with a nationally known instructor.
My advice is to try to take a class locally through a guild or quilt shop first. You’ll save some money and support a local business. Supplement with resources found online and at your local library. If there’s an instructor you’d like to learn directly from, see if they have an online course you can take. You’d be amazed at how much you can learn by following quilters who offer video tutorials on YouTube – Missouri Star, Fat Quarter Shop, JK Quilts, Lori Holt and Edyta Sitar – just to name a few.
As for me, AQS-Daytona looks to be very promising based on the instructor list. I’ll see what the class offerings are and make my decision in November. Fortunately, the show is scheduled before the spring breakers arrive.
Mountain Quilt Fest, Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival and Shipshewana Quilt Festival are all on my potential list for June 2023. Have a feeling I’ll be going to Indiana as more than one person has told me I need to experience Shipshewana.