Quilting is an International Art Form

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Tips to make the most out of traveling with US Quilt Tours.

Quilting is an International Art Form

The art of quilting is prevalent in the USA. Quilters regularly organize and meet other quilters at quilt shows like the Houston International Quilt Show. However, the art of quilting is not just limited to the USA. Quilting is a popular hobby and art form all around the world. Australian, German, and Brazilian quilters travel to the United States to join Tour to quilt show in Houston, Texas, and attend quilt shows like the Houston International Quilt Show designed for quilters. In contrast, Americans travel to Europe and Japan to visit quilt shows and enjoy other quilters’ camaraderie.

An insight into quilting in Iceland

Quilting is a reasonably new hobby in Iceland compared with the U.S.  Stores started to carry quilt fabrics in the late 70s, even if quilting was popular long before that.  Now there are quilters worldwide and active quilt guilds in many small towns. A National Quilt Guild meets regularly in the capital, Reykjavík.

Some quilt enthusiasts from different parts of the world set up an online quilt shop back in 2000, and with quilters being able to order online, the rural community of quilters grew.  Icelanders take to quilting easy and fast as they are raised with all kinds of handwork from an early age.  Children are taught to knit, crochet, embroider and work a sewing machine in elementary school, so getting into quilting is an easy progression.  

Issues faced by the Icelandic quilters

Iceland’s first issue is the unavailability of the raw materials required for quilting. Iceland has to import almost all the raw materials from different countries. Access to quality fabrics and supplies is a significant challenge for the budding quilter in Iceland.

The other problem that quilters face in Iceland is the high taxes and availability of only a few shops. Imported raw materials and high taxes can scale the price of the quilts in Iceland. But this does not prevent hardcore quilters from following their passion and making supreme-quality quilts inspired by the Icelandic culture. The creativity and uniqueness of the Icelandic quilts are what make them unique.

Iceland is the perfect destination for American quilters to visit. It was one of the 1st countries to take control of the COVID-19 pandemic situation and open the country for international tourism. The clean waters, fresh air, and pristine nature attract visitors from all corners of the world. Photographers point their cameras to the sky for the best shots of the Northern Lights; painters set their easels near a magnificent waterfall, while the more adventurous visitors enjoy the Icelandic horses, whale watching, or exploring ice caves. The visiting quilter can do all this and enjoy the camaraderie of Icelandic quilters at the same time. They can closely examine the creative, unique, and exciting Quilting in Iceland and Icelandic natural phenomena.


Your Must-visit List on A Trip to Iceland

Iceland is not only famous for its creative quilts and rich biodiversity but also offers many unique tourist attractions. Many people are interested in exploring the Icelandic Natural Phenomena, Icelandic cuisine, Icelandic Culture, and Traditions. But sometimes tourists are so concerned about cold weather, high expenses, communication, etc., that they sometimes miss the best places of Iceland to explore and understand Icelandic Culture and Traditions. There are few tips that people need to know before planning a trip to Iceland.

Tips to keep in mind while planning a trip to Iceland

· Iceland is not a costly affair

While planning a trip to any destination, the cost is an essential point of discussion. If one plans a trip to one of the countries in enigmatic Europe, the budget can quickly skyrocket. However, this doesn’t have to be the case when planning a trip to Iceland.

– AIRFARES to Iceland are relatively inexpensive. The roundtrip airfare from the US (economy) will cost you between $500 – $600, depending on departure city.

– FOOD is expensive but delicious in Iceland. Buying a package tour that includes all breakfasts and most dinners will save you money.

– ACCOMMODATIONS in Iceland are available in all categories. Again, a tour package, including clean and proper 3-star hotels, will be affordable.

– The best tip: There is no tipping in Iceland!

· Jaeja to find your way on the streets

Icelanders speak Icelandic, one of the more challenging languages to learn. Most Icelanders also speak English, so communicating in Iceland is not a problem. In preparation for your trip to Iceland, you might just learn one Icelandic word: “Jaeja” – pronounced as ya-ya, and you are on your way. Jaeja has multipurpose use and can mean different things when used under different contexts. Jaeja can mean yes, okay, maybe, well, all depending on its use.

· Iceland is not that cold

Iceland is not as cold as people think. It is a lot warmer. Iceland enjoys an oceanic climate, affected by the warm Gulf Stream, which flows along the southern and western coasts of the island.  This causes the climate to be much milder than one would expect, considering the name and location of the country.  The downside of the Gulf Stream is that it brings the milder Atlantic air mass in contact with colder Arctic air, making the weather in Iceland unstable and often windy. Even in the winter, the capital of Iceland’s temperature is close to Boston and not Chicago. Light woolens and waterproof coats are recommended attire for Iceland.

· Food in Iceland: Excellent

Depending on your budget, there are many ways to enjoy International and Icelandic cuisine in Iceland. Reykjavik, the capital, offers restaurants in any category and food from all corners of the world. Smaller towns, such as Heimaey on the Westman Islands (pop. 4500), prides themselves on excellent restaurants that serve up meals that satisfy the highest demands,

Breakfast in Iceland is included with your hotel stay in most cases. It is served buffet-style and includes various delicious cold cuts, such as smoked salmon, Icelandic cheeses, herring, and “skyr” – the Icelandic kind of yogurt.

– Lunch – particularly when you travel out in the country is often a tasty meat soup, while hamburgers and pizzas are also available. The Icelandic Hot Dog is touted as the world’s best, a secret combination of lamb and beef.

– Dinner can be something exceptional in Iceland. Icelandic lamb is outstanding and featured on any Icelandic restaurant’s menu. This is because the Icelandic sheep graze high in the mountains, where the grass is clean and green. This is also where you will enjoy various fish meals, fresh from the ocean.

The more adventurous visitors enjoy the traditional Icelandic specialties, such as “hangikjot” (smoked lamb), “hardfiskur” (dried fish), or fermented shark, and try a shot of “brennivin” for good measure, to wash it down.

Some must-visit places in Iceland

· Geyser geothermal area

The great geyser geothermal area of Iceland has a rich history. Its first-ever accounted description can be found in the books of the early 13th century. That is how the word “geyser” found its way into the English language. It is one of the best places to witness the Icelandic Natural Phenomena, which has wowed people worldwide.

Geysir is the main attraction when you visit the Geothermal area. It has a long history and has been active and inactive since the 12th century; an erratic and unpredictable natural geyser. Tourists often get confused between Geysir and Geyser geothermal areas. Strokkur geyser can always be relied on in case Geysir doesn’t spout. Strokkur erupts every 4-10 minutes. Other than Strokkur and Geysir, there are three smaller natural geysers in this geothermal area, Blesi, Fata, and Konungshver.

· Where mother nature is the artist

Iceland is known for its spectacular natural beauty. The country has many barren and desolate lava fields, where active volcanos have shaped the land. This is evident on the Reykjanes Peninsula, where the current volcano eruption makes its mark about 20 miles from Reykjavik, the capital. Visitors hike to this area to witness the force of nature; to see the spectacular lava flow at a safe distance.

· The World’s Oldest Parliament

The Alþingi (Parliament in Icelandic) is the national parliament of Iceland. It is the oldest surviving parliament in the world. The Alþing was founded in 930 at Þingvellir (“assembly fields”), situated approximately 28 miles east of the country’s capital, Reykjavik. It was moved to Reykjavik in 1844, where it has resided ever since.

The present parliament building, the Alþingishús, was built in 1881, made of hewn Icelandic stone. The unicameral parliament has 63 members and is elected every four years based on party-list proportional representation. The current speaker of the Alþing is Steingrímur J. Sigfússon.


A trip to Iceland in summer is a rewarding experience for anyone. The spectacular nature and warm people of Iceland will capture your heart and soul. The tourist attractions in Iceland carry the essence of the Vikings’ bravery and the power of nature. Iceland is a paradise for those who wish to get away from pests and politics; the ideal destination for photographers, naturalists, horse lovers, whale enthusiasts, gourmands, hikers, geologists, historians, writers, AIRFARES, and, – Yes Quilters.

The must-see animals & birds on a trip to Iceland

Several tours to Iceland for Quilters are scheduled this coming summer, fall and winter. Iceland is an emerging powerhouse of quilting in Europe. Summer is considered the best time to visit Iceland when temperatures are ideal, and the area is filled with birds and animals unique to the country. Fall is also pleasant in Iceland, and winter is suited for those seeking to experience the Northern Lights in the ideal surroundings. 

Iceland has indigenous species of sheep, dogs, and horses. The sheep are known for their resilience, sturdiness, and strongly built. They survive the harsh weather conditions and are occasional breeders. The Icelandic sheepdog moves swiftly through the Icelandic highlands, helping out at the farm. They are affectionate, loving, friendly, and adaptable in the family. The Icelandic sheepdog is alert, intelligent, and has a loud bark.


During summer, some of the attractions to Iceland are the adorable puffins – “The Flying Fishermen of the Sea” and the Icelandic Horses. The puffins are best seen on the Westman Islands, where some of the world’s largest puffin colonies are located. The Icelandic Horses are much in evidence throughout any tour to Iceland. The best experience is the Horse Show at Fridheimar, where their unique qualities are explained.

A glance at “The Flying Fishermen of the Sea” – The Puffin

The Icelandic Puffin, otherwise known as “Lundi” in the Icelandic language, is a seabird that spends almost 60% of its life ravaging the fishes of the Atlantic Ocean. They come to the southern Icelandic shores for breeding.  Over half of the world´s population of the Atlantic Puffin breeds in Iceland, somewhere between 3-4 million pairs each year. Air photographing and counting of the puffins’ nesting burrows has enabled ornithologists to assess that the Westman Island habitat contains 1/5 of the world’s total number of puffins. There are millions of Puffins in Westman Islands, confirming that the Westman Islands in Iceland host the largest puffin colonies in the world.


The ideal time to visit the nesting areas of the Puffins is from late April to July. The female puffin only lays one egg, and both the parents take responsibility for the incubation period. The average lifespan of the puffin is 30 years. Puffins thrive on fish and crustaceans. The food they bring to their nestlings is primarily small fish, especially herring, capelin, sand lance, cod, etc. Crustaceans may include shrimp, mysids, mollusks, and marine worms. Puffins in Westman Islands are a sight to behold. Witnessing Puffins’ behavior in their natural habitat is a rare beauty.

The majestic Horse show at Fridheimar –Meet Icelandic Horses

Icelandic horses are loved and admired by all visitors to Iceland.  Horses were first brought to Iceland by the Vikings, who settled the country in 874 > 930.  For nine centuries, no other horses were brought to Iceland, and now the breed is one of the purest in the world.  Over time the horses were toughened by harsh weather conditions, volcanic eruptions, and other natural disasters.  They developed into the now famous Icelandic Horse, known for its exceptional strength, sure-footedness, and endurance.

There are over 80.000 horses in Iceland, and there are many interesting facts about them. The Icelandic horses are not as tall as the other horses, but they have a lot of strength. These horses are the only ones in the world who can perform the five gaits. The Icelandic horses are also famous for their eye color. Some of them have beautiful ocean blue eyes.

Icelandic horses can be found in over 40 colors and around 100 variations. There are several equestrian centers in Iceland where horses are bred and sold.  There are riding schools, where young people learn to ride and care for the horses.  Horse races and events, including the Icelandic Horse, are common in all parts of the country. The Fridheimar Farm organizes horse shows to witness the Icelandic horse performing the five gaits.


Iceland is blessed with unique flora and fauna. Trips and tours are organized to Iceland throughout the year. However, some tourists miss witnessing the Puffins and Icelandic horses in the wilderness. A trip to Iceland without attending a horse show and visiting the Puffin nesting grounds seems incomplete.

Quilting & Travel – The Ideal Combination

Quilters love to visit quilt shows. They cherish the many beautiful quilts, they learn about the latest in quilting, they enjoy like-minded people, meet old friends and foster new friendships. That is what quilting is all about; it is a feel-good activity that takes place all over the world. It is a language spoken in the mountains of New England, in the bayous of Louisiana, in the islands of Japan and in the fjords of Iceland. It brings joy and comfort to many a quilter when lights are low in the depth of winter. It provides the occasion for fellowship at the monthly quilt guild meeting; where quilters gather for “show and tell” and to enjoy each other’s company.

All quilters dream about going to one of the famous AQS Quilt Shows in Paducah, KY, Lancaster, PA or even the big one in Houston, TX. Quilters travel with another quilter friend or with several members of their quilting bee, guild or club. This is where travel enters the picture and makes it complete. First, you may drive to the quilt show that takes place closest to you. Next, you say: “Aha! This is fun.” You will want to see different shows, in other parts of the country; even abroad. Now, – a quilt show may take a day only or up to 4 days, in the case of the biggest show. To travel from your place in New Hampshire to Paducah or to Houston is a big investment. The cost is even bigger for the Australian quilter coming to the Houston show or the Californian quilter who may travel to the biggest show in Europe, in Alsace, France.

This is when the word TRAVEL is written in capital letters. Quilting & Travel become part and parcel of the same experience. The Australian quilter shops for fabrics in Maine, but enjoys the spectacular New England nature at the same time; the visitors to the Paducah, KY quilt show enjoy an evening at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on the same trip. American quilters travel to Alsace, France to the biggest quilt show in Europe, and enjoy exploring the vineyards of the Rhine Valley and wonderful Paris. Now, – the money is well spent!

The world of quilting takes you to the far corners of the world, and that is what we do as well. Check our website: usquilttours.com and you’ll find tours to places close by, or to places far away. Travel with a relative or a friend. Should you be traveling solo, we’ll match you up with a suitable roommate. One thing you can be assured of: Each tour with quilters becomes a “circle of friends” – a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Discover a New Culture on Our Tours for Quilters Through the Land of The Amish

Amish people follow a simple style of living that makes their culture fascinating to visitors from around the world. The Amish are farmers and many live in Pennsylvania, where some of the most popular quilt shows take place. The women wear plain dresses covered with apron and cape, while the men wear long beards, black hats, and dark-colored suits as well as straight-cut coats without lapels. Their clothing is an expression of simplicity in a culture that believes in plain living. The Amish are also called “The Plain People.”

The Amish are known the world over for their handicrafts, – in particular for their Quilts. You’ll stay in hotels in the heart of Amish Country (Lancaster County) and travel by bus from one Amish Quilt Store to the next. Many of these stores are located on Amish farms, without electricity or telephones. The famous Amish Buggies; the local mode of transportation, are a beautiful sight out on the narrow country roads. You will be amazed at the wide selection and quality of the Amish Quilts as well as the quantity of fabrics; you can choose between thousands of bolts. Quilters come from far away places, such as Australia and New Zealand to take advantage of the excellent prices on both quilts and fabrics.

We offer three tours to the “Land of the Amish,” two in the spring and one in the fall. Two of the tours include participation at some of the biggest and the best Quilt Shows; one takes place in Lancaster (AQS) and one at The Oaks, outside Philadelphia. Our tours are fun and the quality of accommodation and transportation are based on many years of experience, – the best. And all the while you have a professional tour manager to make sure your itinerary runs smoothly. We provide private docents or guides for any museum visits and local guides for city tours. A local Mennonite guide will escort the group for the Lancaster county tour – she has access to the Amish and knows their customs well – and knows where to find the best deals for you on fabrics.