I just got back really, really late on Monday from my trip to Austin for the inaugural QuiltCon, the first conference of the Modern Quilt Guild. I've been trying to think how I'm going to cover everything in one post, and I've finally come to the realization that it will actually take probably two to three (if not more!) posts to share everything that I want to share with you. I flew in last Wednesday and was busy prepping for my big day on Thursday, so my roommate and I walked down to the convention center that evening to register.
And then it was off to dinner. BBQ was a fitting choice, since it was our first night in Texas. I loved the character of this place...it was kind of dark and the smell of the wood burning in the smokers was amazing.
It was a fun little treat to find myself on a postcard in the swag bag with info on my demo for Creativebug...
and my Around the World quilt for Coats & Clark on the other side.
When I got to the convention center on Thursday, the first thing I went to the was exhibition of quilts by Denyse Schmidt. Her work is so stunningly beautiful and exquisite in its simplicity and these photos really just don't do it justice.
I have more to share on this part of the show, but for now, here are a few of my favorite details of some of her quilts.
That little bit of red print combined with all of the solid fabrics is amazing.
So beautiful, right?? Next up was my demo for Creativebug. I talked about strip piecing and showed some fun things that you can do with that technique. It went really well, and it was a really large crowd, and they all seemed to really enjoy it. Really!
Next up was my lecture, which was on Everyday Inspiration in Modern Quilting, specifically about my work. The photo above shows my view from the stage. I was really kind of nervous, and thrown for a bit of a loop right before I started, but I think it went really well. People seemed to enjoy it and I received a lot of positive feedback afterwards and throughout the rest of my time at QuiltCon.
And in case you weren't able to make it to the lecture, you can view it for free on Craftsy. Just click on this link, and register for free, if you don't already have an account with them.
See the quilt to the right in the photo? That's the charity quilt that the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild made for QuiltCon. It was really so great to have our quilt displayed so prominently throughout the convention.
My friend Ava from Creativebug took a few photos for me during my lecture and made me a sweet little note. I'm totally going to hang in my new studio once our move is complete. It was so great to spend the day with her on Thursday and she really put me at ease, with everything that I had going on that day. Thank you so much for everything, Ava!
I was a bit bummed that I didn't have the volunteers that I was supposed to, to hold my quilts up during my lecture, so I ended up draping them along the front of the stage. But everything worked out fine in the end, and after my lecture I was able to chat with quite a few people about my work, which was really great.
Friday I took Anna Maria Horner's Composing a Quilt workshop. Anna is such an inspirational designer and it was great to learn more about her process composing her quilt designs. She showed us some quilts that she's working on for her children, and she discussed how she designed the unique composition of each one.
Anna Maria's work is so bright and colorful, and she's truly a master at mixing prints together. She had some orphan quilt blocks that we could take, so I took a few of them as a basis for my work in the class. I used scraps that I brought with me and added some more elements to some of those blocks, and I also created some blocks there with my fabrics.
In this photo, Anna's work is to the left and mine is to the right, and I stitched the two blocks together. Someday all of the blocks from her class will be developed into a finished quilt and I really love the diagonal piecing and color palette of what I'm starting with. It was really wonderful to spend the day creating with her and the rest of our class.
On Saturday, I attended David Butler's lecture on lifestyle photography. I'm a big fan of Dave's work and I think his photos are so beautiful. His lecture was great and full of a lot of good information on how to set up shots for photographing your work. You can watch his lecture as part of the free series on Craftsy.
After that, it was back in the exhibit hall. I wanted to take a look at this gorgeous quilt by Maura Ambrose of Folk Fibers. I learned about Maura's work recently and I was so excited to meet her at QuiltCon. If you haven't seen her work, please check out her site.
Maura hand dyes all of her fabrics, and she hand quilts her pieces. And after seeing her work and spending some time with her, I'm so inspired to try my hand at dying and hand quilting too.
I spent most of the day Saturday with my friend Heather Givens of Crimson Tate in Indianapolis. She is amazing! We ran into Denyse as she was being interviewed for Martha Stewart Living and I snapped a quick shot of her in front of one of her gorgeous quilts.
Amy is such an amazing person, not to mention an incredible designer, and I really loved this quote that she ended her lecture with. It reads, "The world needs to see color through your eyes. You are a gift!" I couldn't agree more. You can check out Amy's lecture in the free QuiltCon Lecture Series on Craftsy as well.
Heather had a car, so we ran over to visit our friend Jessica's shop called Remnants: Fiber [Culture]. Jessica is a sweetie and her store is huge. It's amazing to think she opened it only a year ago!
Then it was back to the floor of the show. My Around the World Quilt was featured quite prominently in the Coats & Clark booth, which is so fun! The pattern is available as a free download on their site. It's a great project for beginning quilters and a rather fast project for more experienced ones as well.
Heather and I had a little fun in the photo booth at the Moda Bakeshop booth, too.
Saturday night, after listing to Denyse Schmidt's key note lecture (which I'm so bummed is not included in the Craftsy series), we were off to Swift's Attic, which was a few blocks from the convention center. It was such a great place and I'd highly recommend it if you're ever in Austin.
We had a great time with great friends.
Here are my girls Amy and Valori on Sunday morning, before I headed back to the convention center for Denyse's improv workshop.
I've made some improvisational quilts before, but I was so excited to take Denyse's class and create blocks using her technique. I'm such a huge fan of her work, and she has been so incredibly encouraging to me, so it was truly an honor to spend the day with her.
I had to document my first stitch in the class.
As we would stitch our blocks together, Denyse would lay them out on the design wall.
It was really amazing to see these gorgeous blocks all come together. The blocks, which all were so different from each other on their own, really worked so well together in a cohesive design.
Once the blocks were added to the design wall, Denyse and the class would talk about the process of making them, the intuitive nature of creating in this manner, and how they all worked together. It was really more like a fine art class with a critique instead of a quilting class, which is perhaps why I was so drawn to the workshop.
Heather and I would get a bit excited when we would pull an amazing piece of fabric out of one of the scrap bags. And I think we both agree that we'll never forget the experience of taking that class. If you have the opportunity to take one of Denyse's improv workshops for yourself, please do it. You won't be sorry.
I especially love this four patch from his collection.
Sunday evening, after a great dinner with friends, I ended up meeting up with some other friends and exploring a bit of the downtown Austin music scene.
And then I ended up in a tattoo parlor. If you have followed the #quiltcon hash tag on Instagram, you may have noticed that quite a few people, including Valori above, ended up with a tattoo.
While at the tattoo parlor, Monica, the tattoo artist, and myself participated in an impromptu #chuckcon. Gotta love the chucks.
And apparently everyone, including my husband, thought I ended up with a tattoo that night. But, I was just there for moral support because I'm just not a tattoo type of girl.
This little guy watched me pack on Monday morning. He kept trying to watch what I was doing, and thankfully he didn't hurt himself as he tried to fly into the window over and over again.
Due to some crazy high winds in Austin, my flight was delayed, and I didn't end up getting back to the Dayton airport until about 12:30 am on Tuesday morning. Although it was super late, these little cuties were waiting for me, and I was so happy to see them.
Stay tuned for some more about my time at QuiltCon!