I registered for QuiltCon 2015 today! It will be my first-ever QuiltCon, and I am very excited. As a total newbie, I was unfamiliar with the registration process but now have a few observations and suggestions to share.
Expect delays. I expected the MQG server would be overwhelmed at the time of registration, so this wasn’t a total surprise to me. The fact that the site was already experiencing major delays more than a full hour in advance of registration worried me. At that point, I was able to connect to the site about 3 minutes after I clicked each link. By the time registration opened, there were delays around 10-20 minutes, depending on the computer, place in the queue, etc. It took me 30 minutes to complete my registration for all 4 sessions I wanted to attend, including 2 workshops and 2 lectures. I logged in at exactly the time registration opened. I type 115+ WPM. I copied the discount code in advance so all I’d have to do was paste it. I did everything right, and the fastest I could get through the server was still 30 minutes. (I saw the first Instagram tags about 10-15 minutes before mine.)
Use the email link. I thought I would be clever and link to the site directly, saving the link-from-email step. I got errors on both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox saying that my session had timed out and was never able to move past those errors to the website. When I clicked the email link, I still experienced a delay, but I was ultimately able to get through.
Use a computer instead of a mobile device. I saw this advice on the MQG website and Instagram, so I didn’t even attempt to use my phone for comparison purposes. But I figured I’d still pass along the advice.
Register in pieces. Prioritize the workshops you want to attend. If there’s a session you don’t want to miss, register for it first, then “modify” your registration to include additional sessions. There’s a tutorial for doing that here. Each time I clicked a link (including the “Add to Agenda” link for each session), it took about 5-10 minutes. If you consider all the people who could add one session in the amount of time you’re setting up your full courseload, it’s not surprising you could end up with a waitlisted status.
Prioritize workshops over lectures. Each time I added a session, I could still see the webpage listing all sessions while the request processed. I used that time to see which sessions were full already. Each session showed remaining seats available below the title. For perspective, about 20 minutes after registration opened, every lecture I saw still had 300+ spots available while at least 4 workshops were completely full (“Add to Agenda” changes to “Add to Waitlist”). Many more workshops had few seats remaining.
I was interested to see whether I could guess which workshops would fill up first. I did a pretty good job! Of course all this year’s speakers have impressive backgrounds. Some are always popular, like Anna Maria Horner, whose sessions filled immediately. Most quilters know who you mean if you simply write her initials: AMH. Similarly, Alison Glass and Lizzy House have great new fabric lines; their sessions were full in less than 30 minutes. And Lee Heinrich‘s popular book (she’s one of three authors) also meant her session filled quickly. If a designer or quilter is all over Instagram, (s)he is going to have full sessions. Duh.
I didn’t scroll through the whole list while I waited for my page to refresh–I only thought of it halfway through my registration–so I don’t have a comprehensive list of all the courses that were full; I did notice that the following sessions were full 20 minutes after registration, the absolute soonest I could complete my registration due to the crush of people on the MQG server:
- The Meadow with Lizzy House (031)
- Drive by Color with Anna Maria Horner (220)
- Advanced Piecing with Lee Heinrich (715)
- Creative Quilting with Your Walking Foot by Jacquie Gering (813)
By the time I got to my second run of registration (for the lectures) 10 minutes later–a total of 30 minutes after registration opened–I found the following additional sessions were full:
- Modern Appliqué Overview by Alison Glass (120)
- Composition in Modern Quilts by Bill Kerr (211)
- Mod Corsage by Anna Maria Horner (230)
- Intro to Embroidery by Alison Glass (420)
- Basic Improv Quiltmaking with the Quilters of Gee’s Bend (515)
- Little Changes, Big Variety by Angela Walters (812)
The courses above appear to be this year’s hot ticket items. If you got into these courses, congratulations!
Don’t “search” for courses. As noted above, each time the page refreshes (i.e. each time you click anything on the screen), you waste precious minutes. Running a search means that instead of scrolling down the page quickly, you have to wait for the page to respond to your search parameters and refresh. Instead, locate the course by scrolling down the page. Courses are listed numerically by course number, with the workshop section above the lecture section if you select the “All Registrations” option (versus only lectures or general admission).
I am only attending QuiltCon over the weekend since I have to save as many vacation days as possible for my wedding this year. I got into all four sessions that I prioritized!
I am nervous since I won’t know a soul at the conference center. If you’ll be there–and especially if you’ll be in one of my sessions–please let me know! I am most looking forward to making some real life connections.