I’ll get to the end of the story first – Lissa, Ducky, Julie and I were home before the freezing rain and sleet started in Dallas on Sunday night.
It helped that the Moda Bake Shop booth went from this…
…in one hour and 38 minutes – and for that we thank Bo and Claudia. The four of us could have done it but not nearly as quickly. Or as cheerfully.
QuiltCon commenced Thursday morning and ran for four days. That meant four days of demos, lectures, full- and half-day workshops, shopping a large vendor “mall” and lots of spectacular quilts to see.
This is one of the more memorable quilts from QuiltCon – Face #1 by Melissa Averinos of West Barnstable, Massachusetts. Melissa challenged herself to make a large pieced face quilt without using a photograph, drawing or computer. Drawing on her experience as a painter, she improvised with fabric squares and rectangles to create an image as she would a painting. She wrote that after making her whole life, she cried with happiness when she finished this quilt. Of everything she’s ever made, this is her favorite thing.
The short version – QuiltCon was inspiring, entertaining, informative, exhausting and a whole lot of fun. With one or two cranky exceptions, quilters are really nice people. Everyone was happy to be in Austin, happy to be at the quilt show and happy to be surrounded by so many other like-minded folk.
The long version – I loved every minute of it.
Longer? Okay. Depending on the day and time, I was in Moda Bake Shop booth visiting with people attending the show, meeting with a few folks for business-stuff, taking a lot of pictures of quilts and some pictures of people, seeing the show, shopping the vendors – of course, attending a few lectures, demos and classes, and pestering Jen Kingwell. (She brought TimTams – everybody was pestering her.)
That’s Julie and Ducky with Jen in the middle. Jen had just told them she’d found another package of TimTams. (I’m kidding! Jen was on her way to the airport for the journey home and a photo booth picture was required.)
I loved the two workshops I was able to attend – English Paper Piecing with Katy Jones and 15 Minutes of Play with Victoria Findlay-Wolfe. Both women exceeded every possible expectation anyone might have had about their skills and talents as artists, teachers and quilters. They were both smart, funny and engaging. Katy’s method for English Paper Piecing didn’t involve gluing the paper to the fabric, or basting through the paper so it was new to me. The little tack-stitches I used at the corners to keep the seams together worked perfectly for me. I enjoyed the stitching so much, the afternoon passed too quickly. Victoria’s workshop was more about an approach than a technique – piecing and making “fabric” that is then cut up to make the pieces for whatever “it” is that you want to make. While I was only able to stay for the morning session of the workshop, a couple of days wouldn’t have been enough. (If you don’t already have them, both of her books are must-haves in my very-biased opinion.)
Victoria Findlay Wolfe modeling a pieced, quilted jacket made with polyester fabrics from the 1970s. She collects polyester quilts and has quite a collection of them.
I also loved the amazing variety of people attending QuiltCon. Like many people, I wondered if the attendees would be noticeably younger. I would say “yes” and “no”. There were definitely more younger women than I see at most quilt shows, more women in their late 20s and early 30s. But in both workshops I attended, my guesstimate is that one-third of the students were 60 and older, one-third were mid-40s to 60, and the remaining third were mid-40s or younger. And from my vantage point in the Moda booth and walking around the convention center, I think the age-breakdown of the attendees was probably close to that.
The best part was that there were so many groups of friends attending together, and a lot of moms and daughters. I met groups comprised of three generations of women – daughter, mother and grandmother. And there were so many more kids that I usually see at a quilt show – infants, toddlers and kids as old as eight and nine. And yes, there were a lot of men there too.
The shopping? Terrific. Patterns and books, any kind of thread you could possibly want and lots and lots of fabric. I’d show you what I bought but rulers and templates aren’t very photogenic – I saw several Bloc-Loc rulers I hadn’t seen before. When I make something with any one of my purchases, you’ll be the first to see and hear about it. Scout’s honor.
As for the quilts, it was a spectacular show. As it is with every quilt show, the very best quilts in the show were amazing – a stunning design well-executed by a skilled quiltmaker.
i Quilt by Kathy York of Austin, Texas. This quilt won Best in Show and it is gloriously vibrant – I love it. In her description of her quilt, Kathy wrote… “At times I feel alone, but I am not. I am supported by many friends and family. These are the little “i” blocks that make up the big central “i”. The other “i” blocks in the field are for all the people I have never met that support my life.”
I wish I could show you every one of the quilts I saw at QuiltCon over the five days but this sampling will have to do…
- One Third Street Neighborhood by Amy Stevenson of Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Dots by Svetlana Sotak of Batavia, Illinois
- Paint Chip by Sarah Lowry of Carrboro, North Carolina
- Back to Basics by Melissa Corry of Cedar City, Utah
- Tune in Next Week by Chawne Kimber of Easton, Pennsylvania
- Playing with Little Bits by Rose Daley of Columbia, Maryland
- Floating Jewels by Tanya Heldman of Los Angeles, California
- Funky Junk by Renee Tallman of Aptos, California
- Geometric Rainbow by Nicole Daksiewicz
- The Rabbit Hole by Nydia Kehnle of Monroe, New York
- Squaring the Circle by Jo Avery of Linlithgow, United Kingdom
- Read Between the Lines by Stephanie Ruyle of Denver, Colorado
- Under the Sea by Barbara Cline of Bridgewater, Virginia
- The Power of Three by Kristin Shields of Bend, Oregon
- The Dishes Can Wait by Rachel Kerley of Hillsboro, Oregon
- Churn Dash 2: Complementary by Martha Peterson of Woodinville, Washington
I took a lot of pictures.
I’m already looking forward to the next time.
P.S. If you’re interested in attending QuiltCon, especially the lectures and workshops, I recommend joining the Modern Quilt Guild. You can join as a regular, not-affiliated-with-a-Chapter Member or you can attend a Guild in your area. http://www.themodernquiltguild.com/)