MQX is a large quilt show, spaced out over 2 rooms, and a huge portion of space is dedicated to special exhibits (more on that below). First, let's talk about the modern category, titled "Machine Quilting the Modern Way."
"Quo Vadis" - pieced and quilted by Birgit Schueller, modern category
Modern quilting was one of the larger categories, boasting 27 quilts (super exciting!). I'm always very interested in how the modern quilting movement is portrayed in different quilt shows. The movement itself is still fairly new, especially to shows themselves; according to my friends, it was nice to see modern quilts interspersed amongst all the quilt categories this year. I had to agree even though I had not attended in the past. Modern quilting officially broke out into almost all the categories!
"Rainbow of Colors" - pieced and quilted by Karlie Grable, Kids Can Quilt category (Postcards from Sweden pattern by Jeli Quilts)
"Aerial" - pieced and quilted by Hannah Robinson (Aerial pattern by Carolyn Friedlander)
- The quilting was the star, and it was very detailed and dense (which I loved!!). My ultimate goal is to inspire more modern quilters to experiment with creative quilting. Many quilters at MQX used different colored, variegated, and metallic threads. There were even some embellishments. You'd be hard-pressed to find much of that at QuiltCon, where quilts seem to be curated towards minimalism. Not that that's a bad thing - it's just different!
"The Big O" - pieced by Lisa Mason and quilted by Rachael Dorr (I LOVE Rachael's work!!) (Free Wheeling Single Girl pattern by Denyse Schmidt)
- Lots of printed fabrics. Anyone who attends QuiltCon knows that there's an emphasis on solids. Not at MQX.
- Very little improvisation. My quilt may have been the only improv quilt in the category (I could be wrong but this is what I remember days later).
- A couple quilts were decidedly minimalist. There were several sampler quilts, including the gorgeous first place winner, and I saw some experimentation with alternate gridwork.
"Morse Code" - pieced and quilted by Patricia Washburn (pattern by Alexandra Ledgerwood in her book, Improvising Tradition)
- Lots of variety. If you've made a quilt focused on machine quilting, you can probably find a category to enter. Mike noted that many of the quilts fit into other categories.
- I LOVED that so many of the quilts' backs were on display! This is the only show I've been to where quilting really was the star. In a similar vein, there seemed to be less of an emphasis on creating original designs (unlike QuiltCon).
Quilt backs!! A show all on their own.
- Victoria Findlay Wolfe had a huge, gorgeous special exhibit of double wedding ring-inspired quilts. This was my favorite part of the show. When you walked into the smaller show room, this quilt was the first thing that greeted you, down a long row of vendors.
"Color Play" - pieced by Victoria Findlay Wolfe, quilted by Mandy Leins
- There were several instances of the same pattern being made twice but quilted differently. Sometimes these were in separate parts of the show (but I'd recognize them and marvel at the differences). Sometimes, they were in the same exhibit (there were 2 Tula Pink butterflies in the modern category, and another in the next aisle over - it was a little confusing!).
- I was somewhat disappointed that the wholecloth quilt category was small this year (11 quilts). These were the quilts I was most looking forward to seeing. However, the section was still mighty; there were several unique takes on the idea of a wholecloth quilt. Here are a couple pictures that came out well:
"Majestic Mandala" by Jody Bowyer - fabric hand dyed by Dan Groth (made just for this project) - wholecloth category
"Today I Feel" was there, too! It looks totally different in every picture.
- I'd heard about the Cherrywood Fabrics Lion King exhibit for a while, but never had the pleasure of seeing it. Luckily, over 100 mini quilts were on display at MQX this year! It was absolutely fascinating and fun to see which quilts Disney had chosen as their favorites (as evinced by a special ribbon). Eye candy for miles.
- Compared to other quilt shows I've attended, most of the vendors were selling thread and/or longarms; there wasn't too much fabric. I still managed to find a souvenir (no, it wasn't really that difficult)...
All in all, MQX was a unique experience that you can't miss if you love quilting. The next show is MQX Midwest - in Springfield, Illinois, this September 27-30. I'll be curious to see from afar what the modern category looks like, if I can find pictures!
Did you attend MQX, or have you in the past? What are your thoughts about modern quilts in other quilt shows outside of QuiltCon?