Tuesday, February 24, 2015

QuiltCon Recap, Part 1

 QuiltCon was an overwhelming experience from the time I woke up at 3 am to start my journey from New Jersey to Texas on Thursday. Admittedly, I was extra pumped (like, actually dancing a bit in my seat without a care) when we landed in Austin around lunchtime. There is no way I can accurately communicate all of the joy that I felt this weekend, so I'll sum up in a few separate blog posts. Here are the thoughts I wrote down on the plane ride home.

 Both winning quilts I was a part of - 1st and 3rd place in the group/bee category! So proud and excited! More below about them.

Yes, it was a relief to escape the frigid Northeast (if only for a moment), visit a stupendous show of stunning (modern!!!!) quilts multiple times, shop for fabric and notions in person, and meet some of the quilting all-stars, but the best part of the convention for me, hands down, was meeting many of my beloved internet quilty friends for the first time. When the Internet was just a fledgling little bird (and I was in middle school, LOL), I remember thinking, "I'm sure I'll NEVER befriend someone just from being online. That's crazy." 

But, guess what? - this quilty community thrives on blogs, Flickr, Facebook, and Instagram. I feel infinitely grateful that I've befriended these amazing people. It was so fun to reminisce about how we'd gotten to know each other, and talk about quilty things IN PERSON. Like, what? Was that even real life? It felt like a dream. Also, walking around Austin in the 70 degree weather without a jacket and eating dinners outside was nothing short of heavenly.

 From the left: me, Jess, and Renee at the Moda Party. Two of my very favorite lovely ladies of quilting.

Let's just take a moment to admire how brilliant this quilt is. It was hanging at the C&T Publishing booth. Perfect to a T.

 From left to right: Me, Ashley, Michelle, Renee, and Laura
Not pictured: Liz (we missed you!)

What an absolute pleasure it was to meet my Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilts bee mates (most of whom I had never met) for dinner. I got to spend much of the weekend with Renee, arguably my best online quilty friend. We roomed with my fabulous guild friend Lori (@gratitudequilts)! It was utterly thrilling to bump into Jess and Sandi, two long time online friends, and Karin, my Supernova swap partner for the last year, at the Moda Party. I got to spend time with them all weekend!! It was a pleasure to meet Debbie, Leanne, and Christa, who I have not only corresponded with many times but also admired greatly. They are just as dynamic, gracious, and beautiful as you would expect them to be!

 Christa and I

 It was a thrill to make new friends, like Jo! I loved having lunch with the lovely Heather, who I met last year at Mid-Atlantic Mod.

 From left: Jo, Karin, me, Renee. We had some kick butt barbecue!

I had a blast talking with Adrianne and Gemma, and I had breakfast at a lovely cafe with a huge table of Aussie quilters. I had the privilege to meet up with 6 of my own guild members who made the trip from NJ (CJMQG, represent!) and share the experience. It's impossible to list everyone I saw right now, but if I met you this weekend, please know I'm thinking of you and treasuring it!

 From left: Lori, Sonia, Jessica L., me, Laura, Krishma (not pictured: Meg)

 It feels like my friendship with all of these people have been enhanced so much more just with the simple joy of meeting face-to-face. Take that, 21st century technology! :)

Some major highlights:
-The Moda party on Thursday night. It was a bit hard to find people but there were so many friends there! It was a great way to start the whole weekend. Great job, MQG!

-White-gloving the quilt show as an MQG volunteer (showing the backs to attendees, helping them find quilts, explaining the exhibit, etc.). I was there for 3.5 hours and still didn't see the whole show. That's how many quilts were there!

-Giving a 3 minute talk about our 3rd place winning group/bee quilt, the CJMQG Banner, for the Quilt Alliance. I'll let you know when the Youtube video is up - here it is! I'm so proud to represent our guild! Apparently, Bill Volckening wanted to buy our quilt for his collection - what an honor!

-Jess Levitt and I were also a part of the 1st place winning group/bee quilt, Playing with Little Bits, which was pieced entirely at the inaugural 2014 Mid-Atlantic Mod. Congrats to Rose Daley, who beautifully quilted and finished the quilt. By the way, you can see ALL the quilt show winners here.

-Only at QuiltCon do you see people all around a city wearing handmade clothes and bags in recognizable fabrics! I wore all four of my handmade outfits and it was worth all the work to be recognized as a sewist but also to be comfortable!

-Taking Anna Maria Horner's Mod Corsage class on Saturday with several friends (Denyse Schmidt took the class, too!). It was a blast. That will have to be a totally separate post. I'm itching to work on that quilt now... like I need another WIP! Anna Maria was so wonderful. It was such an inspiring class. I know, I'm just gushing.

-Seeing our charity quilt, Modern Bracelets, hanging in Ballroom B with about 60 other charity quilts from around the world! I owe you a blog post about this one - I designed it and pieced the top together (blocks were made by many guild members). The quilting was done by the ever-wonderful Jessica Levitt.

-Andres Rosales and Luke Haynes make a Jess sandwich. Can you tell how much I love Luke Haynes? I enjoyed meeting Andres too, of course. ;)


-Meeting the ladies of Cotton and Steel and making a headband at their booth.

-Listening to the dynamic women of Gee's Bend at the keynote lecture. Next time, I want to attend more lectures.

 -Seeing my Oakshott table runner hanging in the Oakshott booth (block tutorial here)!

-Meeting Benedict Cumberbatch - he's just as fetching in quilt form, thanks to the illustrious Kristy (who I also had the pleasure of finally meeting!).

Finally, huge props to the Modern Quilt Guild. As we learned at the MQG General Session on Sunday, membership has exploded since 2013 to 139 local guilds and 8161 members. Clearly, with around 4000+ attendees this weekend (according to the Austin Convention Center website), they succeeded in pulling off an amazing, multi-faceted event and international quilt show. Yes, there are things that might be changed (which I'll be suggesting - have you filled out your surveys yet, positive feedback included?), but it was a success. Thank you, MQG board and fellow volunteers, for an outstanding and forever memorable event.

 Crazy amounts of swag from the swag bag and vendor booths. I'll be sharing my fabric purchases separate for Sunday Stash!

I don't know when I'll be able to attend QuiltCon again (MAYBE 2017 in Savannah because it's drivable, though I'm not counting on it yet) but I'm so grateful for the memories and the experience of attending this downright fabulous party of all kinds of quilters. Returning to real life after a trip has never been so difficult!

Part 2 of this series will be more on AMH's class, and Part 3 will be some of my favorite quilts from the show! Phew, this was a lengthy post. Thanks for sticking with me if you read this far! I didn't want to skip over anything. :)


  1. Attending virtually via your blog post :D

  2. Sounds AMAZING! I'm so happy to experience Quilt Con through your post! And congrats on all the accolades for your hard work! Woo hoo!!!

  3. OMG that sounds amazing and I feel like I have been there through your post. So glad you had such a great time and your clothes you made looked great on you. Can't wait for more posts.

  4. What a fun recap of the weekend!

  5. The recap posts are almost as fun and exciting as being at QuiltCon! It was a pleasure to meet you, and I need to go figure out how to give feedback... hmmm...

  6. Fantastic recap post! I should have taken more pictures. Yours are great! (As were your outfits!)

  7. It was so nice to meet you too, next time I hope we have a chance to visit more too. I love all your photos!

  8. Loved reading your recap. We couldn't do it without participants and attendees like you!

  9. Loved reading your recap. We couldn't do it without participants and attendees like you!

  10. Oh yes, I'm from Central Jersey and I would love to buy that quilt! I know, I know, it's not for sale! Central Jersey MQG RAWKS!!!

  11. Great recap, it was awesome meeting you!

  12. A terrific post--feels like you didn't miss anything. I'm so glad you had so much fun and it met your (high) expectations. I would love to meet the woman who made the "She was a nice girl..." quilt. Very funny.

  13. And do you really know 2 Lelands? That is so unusual!

  14. Thanks for sharing. Fun to see your viewpoint. I've never been to a large quilty event like Quiltcon. Your swag is amazing. Who knew?

  15. What a great recap, Jess! Thanks so much. I hope to be in Savannah for the 2017 QuiltCon too!

  16. It looks like you had such an amazing time. Of course, I was living vicariously though your IG posts, but I wish I could have gone in person. That's amazing that the MOD progressive quilt won 1st place :) I'll definitely be going to Savannah in 2017 -- maybe we can carpool!

  17. Great post Jess! - it was so lovely to meet you, and it's great to realise you were part of two quilts that I loved in the show! I was on the table of Aussies you met at Jo's - plus Jess had already introduced us. I'm so happy I went to QuiltCon, it was such a treat to meet and hang around people who completely "get" what I love to do - since they all love to do it too! Enjoy your weekend. Cat x

  18. As someone who didn't go to Quiltcon it has been lovely reading about your experiences and seeing all your lovely photos has made it seem like a virtual trip there.


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