QuiltCon 2015 Reflection: Friends

There’s a hashtag going around social media that reads #quiltconhangover. Even though I’m with child and didn’t have a single alcoholic drink during my trip (that’s more than I can say for some others, though!) I definitely am feeling the effects of my post-QuiltCon return to reality. After a full 19 hour travel day Monday, I’m exhausted. My head is spinning, too, although not in a dizzy way. The ideas and inspirations from those four whirlwind days have left me on a sleep-deprived “high”, ideas spinning around my brain, leaking out in the form of little sketches of pattern ideas and names. One such pattern idea, as an example, will be entitled “Mind Blown: The Aftermath of QuiltCon”

A couple people have already asked me to tell them about my favorite part of QuiltCon. To be honest, I don’t think it is possible to express in words the vast amazingness of the experience. This was not only my first QuiltCon, but it was also my first quilt show or event of any kind, AND my first time meeting any of my quilty bloggy friends and fiber world heroes. The only word I could use to describe the week was “whirlwind”, but in an absolutely good way. Everywhere I turned, there was another familiar name (usually the blog or internet tag name–I’m so grateful for the huge nametags!), a gorgeous quilt, an admired designer, or a fabulous booth to take in. I was fortunate to attend two uber informative and appropriately comfort-stretching all-day classes, as well as three great lectures. I honestly could talk for days about everything I saw, everything I did, and everyone I met.

For now, though, I will answer the question: what was your favorite part of QuiltCon? You. Over the past year (can you believe I’ve only been blogging for one year!?) I have formed some fabulous friendships with quilty bloggers across the country and world. Even without having met a single one of you in person, I can say that I feel like I am a part of your lives, and you a part of mine. We have swapped ideas, we’ve offered each other encouragement and advice, we’ve shared fears and unexpected pains, all via the reading, commenting, and replying to blogs, Instagram posts, and other online communications. Sure, technology poses new challenges to the balance of life, but boy does it also enrich our lives and create unprecedented opportunities. I’ve said it before–you are my quilt guild. QuiltCon was my first time meeting ANY of you quilting, blogging friends. The experience of walking around, seeing a face I *think* might be familiar, looking down at the name tag to confirm my suspicions, officially introducing myself (“Hi, I’m Kitty Wilkin… aka, Night Quilter”) and then hugging like old friends, was simply amazing. Mind blowing. Whirlwind. Time and time again, meeting up with cherished “old friends” and meeting face to face for the first time ever, hearing voices, taking in mannerisms that are impossible to convey in blogland, firming and reaffirming these friendships–that was my favorite part of QuiltCon. I won’t try to name all the names of the amazing blogger friends I met, so if you’re wondering if I mean you, the answer is YES! You!

new bloggers at quilt con
Here I am with some of my fellow New Quilty Bloggers from Plum & June‘s blog hop this year. L to R: Afton from Quilt Mod, Daisy from Ants to Sugar, Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl, Anne from Hudson Valley Quilts, and me (and baby belly) in front of the Best in Show quilt, “i Quilt” by Kathy York.

Three quilty bloggers in particular stand out, though, so I’ll do a *little* naming of names. First of all, I was finally able to meet (and stay with!) my sewing soul sister, Stephanie from Late Night Quilter.

night quilter and late night quilter

Over the past year, Stephanie and I have met, discovered we are totally sewing soul sisters just living across the country from each other (she lives in Austin, TX and I’m in Monroe, ME), decided to start a Late Night Quilters Club facebook group together, watched that group grow to over 2,200 strong in less than 7 months with the help of Michelle & Mandy–and still stay overwhelmingly nice and supportive–, chatted pretty much daily via texts and messages online, and jumped into various other joint ventures, constantly supporting, encouraging, and helping the other. Needless to say, we have become friends. Great friends. And yet, before QuiltCon, we had never met in person. Stephanie is as wonderful in person as she is online, and it was SUCH a treat to meet her, meet her sweet husband and four energetic kids, stay with her, and have her as a steady, friendly, calm, peaceful presence amidst the whirlwind of the week.

Late night sewing session with Stephanie, Late Night Quilter.
Late night sewing session with Stephanie, Late Night Quilter.

The second “meeting” that stood out as epically awesome wasn’t even technically an in-person meeting! Before heading to Austin, I emailed another close bloggy friend, Angie from Gnome Angel, asking if she was headed to Austin. Sadly, living in Australia and having a little one, she wasn’t attending, but said that some of her Aussie quilting friends would be there and told me to hunt them down. When I found Gemma from Pretty Bobbins, and then finally put it all together that she was one of the Aussie quilters Angie had encouraged me to find (I’m slow), I was SO excited! Trying to resist the urge to jump up and down (okay, maybe I did a little bit) I swapped pins AND hugs with Angie all the way in Australia (thank you, Gemma!!), and was able to tell her and share the excitement immediately via Instagram. The world is an amazing place!

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 4.59.56 PM

Finally, meeting Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl was another highlight. I first met Yvonne through Beth at Plum and June‘s New Bloggers Blog Hop earlier in the year. I was trying to think of why I feel particularly close to Yvonne since we primarily converse through blog reading and comments, but then I realized that Yvonne not only reads blogs, she is also consistently the first commentator on a post, with a thoroughly thought out and sincere comment. These frequent comments have opened the door to conversations that have built deeper understanding and closeness over the past few months. Yvonne also has been writing more open and reflective posts about the deeper aspects of quilting, self, and community, which really help me to see inside her thought process and quilty soul (in an open and awesome way). I would definitely recommend her recent posts The Four Agreements and Community {Discussion}. Meeting Yvonne in person was such a treat, and I’m so grateful for the time (as sporadic as it may have been) we had to hang out in person. As I told her yesterday via blog comment-conversation, I keep catching myself thinking how I could see us being great friends if we lived nearer to each other. I catch myself because–duh!–we can be great friends even though we live across the country from each other. Just one more amazing aspect of this blogging community and the simple communication allowed through modern technology. Somehow, the only photo I have with Yvonne is the one above, with the other new quilt bloggers, so here she is modeling her Jetgirl flight suit pre-QuiltCon!

Yvonne modeling her QuiltCon Alter Ego flight suit--can you believe we did not get a single photo together in our Alter Ego attire!?
Yvonne modeling her QuiltCon Alter Ego flight suit–can you believe we did not get a single photo together in our Alter Ego attire!?

By highlighting these three wonderful women, I in no way wish to downplay the intense joy and excitement I had in meeting all of you quilty bloggers at QuiltCon. I am overwhelmed with emotion at the sheer number of fabulously talented and sweet people I was fortunate to meet and get to know during my week in Austin. Just look at all of these pins and cards! It’s only the tip of the awesome iceberg.

IMG_1701I also want to share my experiences from the classes and lectures I attended, and share some of my favorites from the amazing collection of quilts displayed at the show. Like I said, I could talk for days about QuiltCon! I plan to share more in the coming weeks, mixing my QuiltCon reflections in with my slow reacclimation to “real” life, as the changed quilter and designer I am. Thank YOU for reading.

 

14 thoughts on “QuiltCon 2015 Reflection: Friends”

  1. I love, love, love the photo of you and Stephanie sewing together in a late night sewing session. What was the latest you stayed up? I definitely think that the online blogging community is my “tribe” and having the extra benefit of getting to meet some of you all in person at QuiltCon really is just the icing on the cake. Whirlwind is such a great word for the experience, too. Just reading your post gives me that many more thoughts, ideas, and reflections about the experience. Oh, and the photograph of you and Gemma together is one of the most beautiful selfies ever. Also, are you sure you two aren’t long lost sisters or something? I look forward to more of your thoughts, especially on the lectures and classes you attended; that way I keep on learning, too. 🙂

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  2. It is amazing that was your first quilt show ever! how fun to get to attend the BIG ONE as your first! hope to meet you if you get to go to Pasadena next year, but with a tiny one by then, not sure if you will. I know Afton, too! she lives near me and is in our MQG, of course! She is a gifted quilter with a huge talent. so glad you had so much fun!

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  3. Kitty don’t hold back telling us about QuiltCon – this looks like something that I want to embrace once it is back on the east coast. I can’t believe you have only blogged for a year – it certainly comes naturally. It is an interesting world – with social media we connect all around the world. I have sent swaps to Australia, Turkey and Germany and received the same. Some have become Facebook friends though I am taking a 6 week break from FB. So… tell us more (in good time).

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  4. Have I mentioned lately how much I adore you???? You are so much fun. How did I get so lucky to come up with the same blog name as yours, leading us to meet? Oh yeah, and to answer Yvonne’s question, we stayed up til after 1 am that night. I felt guilty keeping the pregnant lady up, but we had a great time. Next year Yvonne, you have to join us.

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  5. I am so happy for you that you had such amazing time at QuiltCon and met some of the quilty friends you have made along your quilting and blogging journey. I closely followed you and Yvonne and my Aussie team via IG and basically drooled over all the photos you guys have shared. I haven’t been there in person but I felt like I was there as soon as I log into my IG account. I can imagine how amazing and overwhelming it might have been because by only looking at the photos and using my imagination, I felt the same way. I would probably cry when I saw my favourite quilty people there! LOL Glad it has been a great experience for you.

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  6. It was so awesome meeting you at QuiltCon! And I got to meet Yvonne as well. 😀 Meeting people is always the highlight when I go, yet I always pack my day too full of things so I don’t have much time to actually chat and hang out with people. Maybe the third time will be the charm. :/

    I’m so glad you got a chance to go this year, and I hope you will be attending in the future so we can chat more! 😀

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  7. Thanks for sharing, Kitty! It sounds like you had a really great time, and I am so thankful that you could meet quilty blogger friends. My first time sewing with other sewers was such a coming home experience that I feel I know what you’re talking about, even though I haven’t actually met any blog friends in person! (I am nervously excited to attend a MQG meeting though, as I’ve been stalking er *following some of the women from my local guild for a month or two now [SUCH AS ANTS TO SUGAR!!] ) Thank you for your reflections. I very much enjoy reading people’s reflections and experiencing QuiltCon vicariously through them. Good luck with the hangover 😉

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  8. It was such a great time pal-ing around with you although I must say….walking anywhere took significantly longer since you’d get stopped by blogger and IG friends. “Kitty, is that you?” Seemed to be popping up with every corner we took. 🙂

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  9. You’re making me so jealous!! I feel like I have friendships with so many blogging ladies that I’ve never met in person (especially because of the New Quilt Bloggers Group) but the chance to actually meet up with all you gals sounds priceless. What an awesome experience!

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