Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Back from Hiatus and Quiltcon 2015

Hello blog readers out in blogland.  I have been on an unintentional hiatus since February.  

In February, I attended Quiltcon 2015 and there was much preparation that went into getting ready to go and getting everything to fit into my suitcases.  Then once I came home, I was exhausted.  And since then, I've been having a lovely flare (sarcasm) with my Lupus and Fibromyalgia.  Also, somewhere in there, I switched meds again for my Lupus.  I'm now on an immunosuppresive which basically just knocks out your immune system that way your body can't fight itself.  The theory being that the Lupus can no longer damage your body.  So yay!  Of course, you could get the flu and it could kill you so there you go.

Anyhoo, lets talk about something more fun.  I'm going to share some of the things that I liked best about Quiltcon but I won't be showing a lot of quilt pictures.
I've seen lots of pics on the internet of the quilts at Quiltcon and different things but I have not seen any of the Riley Blake booth.  This dress was made out of paper butterflies.  I asked before I took the picture.

Last year the Modern Quilt Guild did a Michael Miller Couture Cotton challenge with all pastel fabrics.  I didn't participate because I couldn't imagine a quilt with all pastels that wasn't a baby quilt.  They had a few of the winners in a display at Quiltcon and I have to say, my mind is changed.  You can make a pastel quilt that is not for a baby but you have to be very mindful of what you are doing.

 The name of this quilt was "Pastels Aren't My Favorite" by Janet McWorkman from Anchorage Alaska - an individual member.  It was my favorite of the pastels though I took several pictures of others.  Some would have looked like baby blankets if they had been larger so I think you have to be very careful when working with only pastels.
This is the Gypsy Wife quilt.  I have the pattern for this quilt and it's something that I've been wanting to make for some time.  The fabrics used in the pattern are so busy that it makes the quilt look more complicated than it is.  When I saw this version, I was so excited because it makes the quilt seem doable.  This was made by Catherine Mosely from Australia - an individual member.  

These lovely handmade ribbons were made by Elizabeth Hartman and are the ribbons that are placed on the winning quilts.  Our local guild spends so much money each year on these big fancy, really expensive ribbons for our local quilt show but I found the smaller handmade ribbons to mean so much more.  I would be ten times more excited to win a handmade ribbon from Quiltcon than to win a fancy purchased ribbon from my local guild.

 This was my all time favorite quilt at the show.  It didn't win any ribbons but it was still my favorite.

And now my thoughts and feelings on Quiltcon 2015.  
It was a wonderful show.  The classes I took were a lot of fun and I got to meet some of my favorite quilting bloggers (Elizabeth Dackson from Don't Call Me Betsy - squeeeee).  I did schedule time to look at the quilts and to shop the vendors but some of the vendors were always so busy that I didn't get to look in their booths.  The vendors were definitely more modern than the ones at the Houston Quilt Festival.  I enjoyed meeting them and I now have some new favorite online stores.  The atmosphere at Quiltcon was so inspiring and just overall happy.  Everyone I met was so encouraging and helpful.  I had 2 lectures with Angela Walters and I think I may be in love.

There is definitely a difference in the atmosphere of a modern quilt show compared to my very traditional local show or even the Houston show.  Modern quilters seem to respect each others aesthetic and skill level more than traditional quilters.
I would definitely go again and I hope I can in the future.

Here is what I didn't like about it. 
For some reason, Quiltcon only used about 1/3 the space in the Austin Convention Center.  If they had used more of the space, they could have had accepted more quilts into the show, had more vendors and more classes.  It was confusing to me.  Maybe they already had it planned and didn't realize how quickly classes would fill or how many quilts would be entered?

And here is my BIG complaint:
I found it more than a little ODD that the quilts that were entered in the juried section of the show were mostly quilts that had either been published as patterns, or in books or were in books that were about to be released by StashBooks or C&T publishing which was a large sponsor of the show.  In fact, the soon to be released books were released the weekend of Quiltcon so that the authors could be there for signings.   There were multiple quilts from each book that were in the show.  For example, the new book Modern Rainbow by Rebecca Bryan - which I purchased there and it has some great quilts in it.  Lots of them were at Quiltcon. 
Maybe it was just a coincidence and those were really the best quilts entered?
Is that possible?  Really?
Out of all the thousands of quilts entered by regular people who don't have book deals, these quilts were still the best?
Some modern quilters have years and years of experience having started first in traditional quilting or another area.
Maybe I'm just paranoid but I buy a lot of quilting books and I look at them.  And I got to look at the quilts in person at Quiltcon many of which won ribbons.  They are all beautiful quilts and I loved looking at them.
Did anyone else notice this?  Some of the quilt bloggers had 3-4 quilts in the show all from 1 book.  Why is it that those were the ones that caught the judges eye?  Is it because they were all familiar to the judges having seen them so many times in books and internet patterns?

I'll stop ranting now.  I just noticed this right away and it really bothered me.  It made me feel that no matter what I create, I won't get juried into Quiltcon unless I get a book deal from C & T publishing.


  1. Hmmm. I had noticed multiple quilts by one person and thought it odd, but not noticed that they were from books. Perhaps what QuiltCon needs is a requirement that entries not have been published anywhere (including blogs and instagram) before the show, as some shows do. I most likely will not enter again unless they limit the number of quilts one person can enter. Claire aka knitnkwilt.wordpress.com

  2. Claire, thanks for your comment. Seeing how few quilts were actually in the judged part of the show was kind of a shock for me. I'm hoping they will increase the number of quilts in that section next year. I enjoyed looking at all the special displays of quilts but it just seemed off to me. Sooo many special displays and so few judged quilts. Then with the majority of them being patterns from major blogs or published in books.... I don't know. It just didn't sit well with me. Of course, this is all just my opinion.


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