Oh my goodness. I can’t believe it’s been a week already since I was at QuiltCon. I’ve been trying all week to figure out how to process and share and I still don’t think I can do it adequately. So, I’ll just have to give it my best shot. Hopefully the pictures will do it some justice, because I know my words can’t.
If you are wondering what QuiltCon is, it is a convention put on by the Modern Quilt Guild that includes a juried show, 4 days of lectures, classes, and workshops, as well as a vendor’s hall where you can gawk some more and even shop from vendors who come from around the country to participate.
This year QuiltCon was held in Pasadena, California, which was wonderful! It was my first time attending QuiltCon. I loved so much about the experience – meeting so many people, being inspired by the amazing quilts on display, and taking a class. (And blue skies and 75 degrees wasn’t bad either!)
I was so honored to be invited to come and teach a few classes. One of them was a Strip-Piecing class. I shared some techniques – including projects from my book, Fabulously Fast Quilts – and LOVED watching all of the creativity that emerged.
We were the lucky beneficiaries of pre-cut 2 1/2″ strips from Riley Blake and Robert Kaufman. Those strips saved us so much time in class and gave everyone more time to play as well as experiment with new colors and fabrics.
I also taught a couple sessions of an Advanced-Piecing class where we talked about partial seams, Y-seams, etc. I was so proud of how much everyone learned so quickly. (I have to say, one of my favorite parts of attending classes is seeing the variety of colors and fabrics people use. )
I was also lucky enough to get to take a class from Cristy Fincher – we learned her “Paperless Paper-Piecing” technique which was so cool and totally mind-blowing to me. It’s something I never would have figured out on my own. And Cristy is such a good teacher. I learned so much!
And then of course, there were the quilts on display. They were just just amazing. The variety and the creativity were mind-blowing to me and totally inspiring. (Top left, going clockwise: (Ebb by Carolyn Friedlander, Cotton Sophisticate by Chawne Kimber, Mixed Cassette Tapes by Lysa Flower, and Holyoake, 1938 by Timna Tarr.)
Loving the saturated colors. Clockwise starting top left: Handcrafted Triangles by Jennifer Johnston, detail of Colorfall by Timna Tarr, Melon Wedding Ring by Karin Jordan, Scrapy Side Trip by Leslie Tucker Jenison, and A Kiss for Paul by Tricia Royal.
One of my favorites: Eichler Houses by Mickey Beebe. I think I have a thing for trees in quilts. 😉
Check out that mind-blowing matchstick quilting. It was flawless. This one is called The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts by Cassandra Beaver.
Another personal favorite was this saturated solids Double Wedding Ring by Tara Faughnan.
This year’s Best in Show went to Melissa Avernios’ quilt, My Brothers Jeans. The dark crosses are pieced from the jeans that belonged to her brother which she rescued from the dumpster following his suicide. Such a moving, personal quilt.
And here’s a close up of the Best in Show ribbon, hand made by Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft.
Other inspiration (as well as some nice shopping *ahem*) was also to be found in the Vendor’s Hall. These are all glimpses of some of the fabric manufacturer’s booths including bolts in Free Spirit (top left) Cotton + Steel, a mini wall in the Andover booth, and paper dresses and pieced curves in the Windham booth.
Gorgeous color in Malka Dubrawsky’s booth including her hand-dyed prints.
Details in Anna Maria Horner’s beautiful Sew South booth.On the right, adorable Japanese Imports from Bunny’s Designs. I didn’t have a quilt in the official show, but I did have this quilt on the left in the EZ Quilting booth. 🙂 I’ll be sharing more about this one soon.
But definitely one of the best parts of the QuiltCon experience is connecting with so many other
fabric-weirdos quilters! It’s fun to meet people in person that I’d only ever stalked on social media, as well as so many new friends and faces. I loved running into people who’d been in my class later during the weekend and feeling like I had so many new friends. It really is fun to connect with other people who “get” this addiction form of artistic expression.
Finally, one of my favorite highlights of my experience was hearing from this lady. The first morning I was waiting for a shuttle from my hotel and talking to a friend who was with a nice, chatty older lady. It was halfway through the conversation that I realized who she was – keynote speaker Gwen Marston. She was so darling and un-affected, and delightful.
Gwen has been a “modern” quilter for over 30 years. Her keynote speech Saturday night was so funny, inspiring, charming, and motivational. She spoke about learning from old, antique quilts as the inspiration for her ‘liberated’ quilts. She felt like old quilts are more spontaneous and playful and not worried about precision and perfection. I love that thought, because I’ve always loved old quilts for the same reason. They’re not perfect and they have more of a “make-it-do” quality, than a worry about being coordinated and perfected – as a result they have so much more personality.
More “words of wisdom” nuggets from Gwen:
“Worrying about points will hold you back”
“You can follow the instructions, but what’s the fun of that?”
On seeing an antique quilt: “It was so delicious, it would just make you weep.”
On being yourself: “We sew the way we sew. And that’s good enough because that’s the way we do it.”
So there you go. QuiltCon 2016 in a nutshell. For more glimpses and insights, check out Jennifer Moore’s Sewing Report video. You may even catch a glimpse of your’s truly being a dork.
And last, but not least, I’m throwing in this postscript. Two of my sisters came and spent the last night with me at my hotel. They are not quilters and got a kick out of (and were impressed by) the abundance of quilt-y people milling about our hotel. (One of them asked, “So if QuiltCon were like ComicCon, are you like the Spiderman of QuiltCon?” Not quite. Maybe more like the Green Lantern side-kick or something. 😉 ) We visited the beautiful Huntington Library and Gardens Sunday afternoon, drove through beautiful Pasadena neighborhoods, and all around just had a great time. If there’s one thing that’s even better than a bunch of quilters, it’s sisters. But it’s pretty dang close.