Tuesday, February 24, 2015

QUILTCON memories

Quiltcon 2015 has come and gone. So much goes in to planning a convention like this and to all those involved: THANKS for the MEMORIES!

Delays forced me to miss out on opening day festivities. Alas, this was also the only day I would have had to leisurely explore the show…
Over scheduling can ruin a convention.. for me, it lead to much frustration.  Rushing to full day workshops left little time to actually view the quilts on display or vendors present. On brief lunch breaks, I would rush through the show trying to take in bits and pieces. I missed out on so much that made up Quiltcon.  
What I did view & experience left me with many questions about modern quilting... 
What truly defines a quilt as modern? 
Who decides what is a Quiltcon worthy quilt? 
What directions will it lead us in the future? 
What new techniques will come along to inspire us? &  
What, if any, might be  my contribution to it?
In my initial excitement & eagerness to register for workshops- I failed to think through my over scheduling. I promise myself after every quilt convention I will not over plan. But then I do anyway :(  This time it nearly made the weekend a place I was too tired and frustrated to be— I will NOT allow myself to do that again. (So if you are reading this now and I post an absurd workshop list for an upcoming convention- please remind me of this declaration!) 
My first workshop was "Bias Strip Curves with Sherri Lynn Wood". It was my first experience improvising with both curved & bias strip piecing. Joining these fabrics required just the right pull on the bias & against the bias for the correct seam. We were to give a shout out of Wooohooo each time we hit a wall using her techniques. Alas, I needed this shout out far too often. Before I knew it, my bias puckers were taking over & Sherri was cutting through my distortions with her rotary cutter for me to sew back together to flatten them. It was listed as a “beginner’s technique”… but many of us shouting Wooohooo would not agree. (This would be further discussed the remainder of weekend by chatting with other frustrated fellow participants). The more I tried to press my seams flat- the worse they got. Perhaps it was the pressing and not just the stretching and stitching? Honestly… I will never know… this one won’t even make it to the WIP pile

Mine are the two small multicolored, multi pieced ones on the bottom...
But at least I shared the workshop with some new friends!

Saturday was a very full day & I was still frustrated from Friday. I participated in the workshop "Strings of Florid Blooms- A Big MAMA of a double wedding ring quilt". Victoria Wolfe is a very good teacher & this quilt allowed a good opportunity to once again try to get over my fear of curves. I had some problems cutting fabric from the start because of cutting mat limits… so I had trouble with shapes & matching seams. She was very thorough and made sure I could follow through though without wasting further fabric. I plan to put to use the techniques and fixes I learned ASAP. I really like the quilt pattern and opportunity for the bold & brightly colored curves it provides.

That evening was the Keynote: The Quilter’s of Gee’s Bend. These Alabama woman are filled with southern inspiration & spirituality that left me eager to further  improvise. 

My final workshop was with Lee Heinrich. Her prep work to teach "Off the Grid: Creating Alternative layouts" seemed nearly as involved as my own! It was fantastic and I learned how to design creative layouts that would not look like “everyone else's”.  Her handouts and demo’s allowed our own layout creations alternating repeatedly on the design walls. We took turns laying out our own blocks, as well as wandering around room encouraging each other. I have 4 different sets of pics of my blocks in different layouts! 

Weather threats required I head home before the actual afternoon of sewing… but it won’t take long to piece & I left inspired to do so. 
I am glad we left when we did & made it home before the ice storm hit East Texas. I know to East coasters that a few inches of snow and ice are no big deal… but in the south, it can be deadly. We lack the supplies & most also lack the skills to deal with it.

As I unpacked today, I hung my Quiltcon badge up & admired all the pins shared. The pins are a fun way to remember new friends. 


  1. Looks like you had a lot of fun. I would love to hear your take on what is modern after seeing what 'they" say is modern...and where to you think it is all going?

  2. Two years ago Quiltcon left me wondering if I had any desire to join the modern parade.
    I attended as a last minute decision for a quilters weekend only a few hours from home. I did not know what to expect. People I met were great... but I disliked the neon solids, lacked the internet savy to keep up, and it simply did not call out to me. My conclusion was NO... I was not destined to be a modern quilter.
    My true passion is portrait and art quilting. BUT- it is isolating. I joined SAQA to share a national art quilting passion... but there are no groups near me, so I merely read about challenges and featured artists.
    Next, I joined my local VERY TRADITIONAL guild.
    Alas, the civil war, traditional prints, & patterns my local quilt guild seems determined to preach are not for me. I am giving it my all... but I am not one of "them".
    So over the past year- I have returned to following modern. I have met others, learned how to blog, and helped form a small group of beloved modern misfits who also don't fit the traditional local guild habits.
    Over the past year I have been more drawn to modern.. and decided to give Quiltcon another try. (I had 3 quilts rejected... but they really never stood a chance or met their standards).
    So here goes, MY opinion... and I likely am alone in feeling this (but, you asked-)
    I feel modern quilting seems to be developing its own "quilt police". It's own rules and own expectations. The quilts I had time to view at Quiltcon (and over scheduling really limited that) seemed to have a theme. The quilts all seemed to represent well known bloggers and authors of popular modern books and articles. And while I know all the quilts were to have been blindly chosen, let's face it- we all have our own style. A style that is recognizable... evolving... morphing... maturing. But recognizable.
    I had no time to dye my hair neon ahead of show, no desire to get a tattoo at the show, or spare time get to do any shopping at all! I did meet a lot of great people and learned a lot.
    But, I concluded:
    I am really not their kind of modern quilter...
    I am not a traditional quilter...
    I am not what SAQA defines as an art quilter.
    I don't really "fit" in any category... but
    I am a quilter. I love it & it keeps my creative juices flowing.
    Modern quilters are accepting of all of us and in that way, we can all be a part of the group. And though it feels they are beginning to have their own special rules and requirements... I do not think they will ever exclude the rest of us. One thing I do not think modern quilting will ever be defined as is exclusive. But,
    I do believe each year it will grow more defined and it's lack of traditions morph into an expected routine tradition of its own. Perhaps it is already there.
    These folks are very talented visionaries... but it saddens me to see them develop their own form of quilt police.
    I am not sure I answered your question... or my rant only answered my own.