Tag Archives: quiltcon

Scenes from Savannah: QuiltCon East 2017

The past few weeks have been spent in preparation for our trip to Savannah, Georgia for QuiltCon, the wild travel adventure that was required for us to get there, the excitement of the event, and finally the long trip home. We arrived home late last Tuesday night after a day of flights and then a fully day’s drive with all three kids, having picked up the big kids who spent the week with my parents in New Jersey. When we left home, Maine had 3 feet of snow and highs of 35, yet we arrived home to rain, patches of mud, and just a layer of snow in the yard. It’s amazing what a week can do! There are so many things I’d love to share with you about what I’ve been up to over the past few weeks and my experiences at QuiltCon, so I figured a quick post of highlights would be my best chance of getting it written clearly. I’ll aim to go into more depth for some parts in the days to come.

alison glass constant flux mini quilt for andoverFirst and most exciting is that Andover Fabrics asked me to make an Alison Glass mini quilt to hang in their booth at QuiltCon. How could I say no to that honor?! I decided to go with my pattern Constant Flux, but printed the templates at 90% and rearranged the blocks a bit so that the large focal square was in the middle. I used all fabrics from the Seventy-six, Insignia, and Sun Print 2017 fabric lines by Alison Glass. I added a Wild Boho-inspired bee applique which I embroidered with 12wt Aurifil thread. Both dense 1/2″ machine quilting and colorful hand-quilting finished it off, and from what I heard, there was quite a buzz about it (har har buzz!).

constant flux with alison glass fabric in andover booth quiltcon 2017Here I am proudly standing next to the quilt hung in the fabulous Andover booth.

Andover Booth Quilt Con 2017

alison glass constant flux mini quilt andover booth quiltcon 2017

Workshops and Lectures

Trying new things and stretching my mind are among my top favorite things, so I was sure to register for some workshops and lectures at QuiltCon. I focused on areas I felt I could most benefit from improvement or practice: improv, sewing curves, and improv free motion quilting on a domestic machine.

my minimalist improv mini with Season EvansI really loved the Minimalist Improv class with Season Evans. Her minimalist mindset and explanation of her process was so enlightening, and actually forcing myself to *try* a minimalist palette with improv piecing was so liberating. I made an entire mini quilt during the class, and didn’t touch a rotary cutter or ruler once (except for squaring the finished block). As much as I tried to go into the class with a blank slate mind, I had a preexisting idea to create a minimalist quilt focusing on a trianglesque shape in the upper right hand corner. I abandoned the angular construction plan to try my hand at Season’s style, but still snuck in the little triangle. It’s not as minimalist as Season would create, but it’s VERY minimal for me, I created it entirely improv, AND I love it. Total win!

I also was inspired by Sherri Lynn Wood‘s lecture on finding the Flow with Improv, and took some really great ideas home with me as a result. I’m excited for the next chance I get to play with improv, since Sherri’s lecture inspires me to take a different perspective and tap into other experiences to help me overcome (or flow past) the usual brain-breaking path of uncertainty I traipse while attempting improv.

sewing all the curves with Jen Carlton BaillySew all the Curves with Jen Carlton-Bailley was another fun one! I was encouraged to learn that I am doing everything right when it comes to traditionally piecing curves, I just need more practice for it to feel smooth! It was also really fun to see the many styles and varieties of quilt patterns that incorporate curved piecing, photos of which Jen shared many!

Improv Machine Quilting with Christa Watson was everything I hoped and more. It was such an organized class, with introductions to different motifs and then opportunity to practice on our practice pieces. I LOVE the idea of improv free motion quilting, since it takes some of the pressure off of my self-inflicted desire for perfection. One tip shared by Christa that I especially love was, “The best way to hide imperfections is with more imperfections.”  The human touch adds so much personality, story, meaning, depth…. and imperfections. I’m newly inspired to densely quilt the bajeezus out of some of my quilts, and embrace the flow that emerges.

If you ever have an opportunity to take a class or attend a lecture with any of these talented women, I highly recommend it! I came home ready to celebrate my mistakes, find the flow whether I’m happy with the progress or not, sew curves until the cows come home, free motion quilt all the things, and allow myself to create minimalist creations from time to time as a stress-free palate cleanser. Plus, my husband really likes the mini quilt I made, so that’s a double win!

Quilt Show

quilt con quilt show 2017Thursday morning when I first stepped foot onto the showroom floor, and began slowly walking around to take in the vast depth of beauty, originality, workmanship, and meaning that was displayed in those aisle, I was moved to tears. I don’t have the opportunity to attend many quilt shows, and being in the presence of so many quilts created with such passion by talented fellow quilters and friends was an amazing experience.

quilt Con quilts 2017Despite keeping a fairly light class schedule, I am sure I did not get to see every single quilt that hung at the show, and more time was spent examining details than taking photos. It’s impossible to select favorites, so instead I will share a selection of photos I took of quilts that stood out to me. You can see all of the award winners on the Modern Quilt Guild website, here.

quiltcon 2017 Best in Show modern quilt award
Bling by Katherine Jones @twocatsquilts

Let’s begin with the Best in Show, since it was a pretty epic and gorgeous quilt. Bling by Katherine Jones @twocatsquilts was foundation paper pieced from solids based upon the inspiration of a princess cut diamond. It struck me that the quilt is entirely foundation paper pieced, since that confirms that paper piecing has a strong place in the modern quilt world. Sure, it can help you create perfect shapes and images, but it’s clear now that it can also help take an abstract idea and break it into manageable, clear chunks.

bling best in show detail
Detail: Bling by Katherine Jones @twocatsquilts

The quilting was dense straight line quilting on the diagonal, which did its job. Think about removing all of the papers after piecing this one! Astounding!

img_6240
Madonna by Brittany Bowen Burton @brittanybowenburton, Best Machine Quilting

I also saw a lot of curves in the show, the variety of which are demonstrated by this award winner (above:  Madonna by Brittany Bowen Burton @brittanybowenburton, which won Best Machine Quilting, Framed, Needle Moves),…

sightseeing-by-daisy-quiltcon
Sightseeing by Daisy Aschehoug @antstosugar

…the cover quilt on the QuiltCon magazine, Sightseeing by Daisy Aschehoug of Ants to Sugar @antstosugar,…

curves in modern quilting quiltcon 2017
Arches by Leah Pahlmeyer
arches modern quilt quiltcon 2017
Detail: Arches by Leah Pahlmeyer

…and Arches by Leah Pahlmeyer. There were many more quilts with curves, both improv and traditionally pieced, and probably your best bet at seeing as many of them as possible is checking out the #quiltcon2017 or #quiltcon hashtags on Instagram.

quiltcon 2017 quilt show
Tea and Skittles by Thomas Knauer @thomasknauer, 2nd place Applique

Statement quilts are still making a strong stand, which was both humbling and empowering to see. As Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl reflected in her recent blog post about QuiltCon, many people use quilt-making as a tool in processing events, or perhaps create quilts out of necessity to help them process, creating some of the most beautiful and powerful textile creations I’ve ever seen. (Read Yvonne’s full post here for more examples and reflection!) I wish I had taken more photos of these powerful quilts, but reading the descriptions and doing my own processing of the inspiration dominated in their presence. The quilt shown above is Tea and Skittles by Thomas Knauer @thomasknauer (Applique 2nd place), and stopped me in my tracks. Read the story here.

chawne kimber quilt quiltcon 2017 text
Autumn is Wistful by Chawne Kimber @cauchycomplete

Text in quilts also dominated, either boldly featured like in Autumn is Wistful by Chawne Kimber @cauchycomplete, subtly and not so subtly pieced like in Implied Consent by Colleen Molen @busybean (3rd place in Use of Negative Space), or quilted into the actual quilting, like in Minimalism with Meaning: The Story of Us, made by Hillary Goodwin @entropyalwayswins with the Bee Sewcial group blocks (below).

minimalism with meaning: the story of us by hillary goodwin beesewcial quiltcon 2017
Minimalism with Meaning: The Story of Us by Hillary Goodwin and her BeeSewcial mates
minimalism with meaning: the story of us by hillary goodwin beesewcial quiltcon 2017
Detail: Minimalism with Meaning: The Story of Us by Hillary Goodwin and her BeeSewcial mates
minimalism with meaning: the story of us by hillary goodwin beesewcial quiltcon 2017
Detail: Minimalism with Meaning: The Story of Us by Hillary Goodwin and her BeeSewcial mates

Hillary tasked her beemates to make blocks that told a story about themselves and then quilted their words into the fully pieced quilt. Quilts tell stories, truly, a fact that is abundantly clear at a quilt show like Quilt Con.

modern quilts quiltcon 2017
Go North by Maritza Soto @sotosewn, Free Spirit Award of Quilting Excellence

Solid fabrics seemed to dominate, with tone on tone and subtle prints playing a stronger hand that bold large-scale prints. This Free Spirit Award of Quilting Excellence winner, Go North by Maritza Soto @sotosewn is a good example, as is the amazingly improv quilt Lincoln by Kim Soper @lelandavestudios (below), which won 1st place for Improvisation.

abe lincoln quilt quiltcon 2017
Lincoln by Kim Soper @lelandavestudios, 1st place Improvisation
canary meets gold mine by stephanie ruyle spontaneousthreads quiltcon 2017
Canary Meets Gold Mine by Stephanie Ruyle @spontaneousthreads, 1st place Handwork

I also was excited to see quite a bit of hand quilting and even embroidered details on quilts, which is right up my alley these days! I loved this quilt Canary Meets Goldmine by Stephanie Ruyle @spontaneousthreads even before I realized it had won 1st place for Handwork.

canary meets gold mine by stephanie ruyle spontaneousthreads quiltcon 2017
Detail: Canary Meets Gold Mine by Stephanie Ruyle @spontaneousthreads, 1st place Handwork

The full amazingness of this quilt cannot be realized until it is inspected from a nose-distance away. French knots!! Amazing, right!?

There were so many amazing quilts and seeing them firsthand, from a nose-distance away in many cases, truly inspired me to continue making beautiful things, to stretch the “rules” and create whatever moves me, continue fine-tuning my skills and techniques, and to attend as many quilt shows as I possibly can.

faces melissa alverinas quiltcon 2017
Moonie McMoonFace by Melissa Alverinos @melissaalverinos
modern quilts quiltcon 2017 savannah
Inside Out by Susan Bleiweiss @suebleiweiss, Applique 1st Place

 

Booths & Vendors

booths and vendors at quiltcon 2017The booths and vendor hall was much fun at QuiltCon. I was able to find replacement milliners needles right before my Facebook Live chat with Aurifil thread, thanks to Red Thread Studio, with quite a few offers of a loaner if I had not been able to find the right needle to purchase. It was exciting to see one of my local quilt shops, Alewives Fabrics, rocking the vending floor, too. Their weekly Lucy Boston kits seemed to be a big hit. I loved playing around on a Handiquilter long arm machine, and can certainly see the appeal of a long arm after having tried it out first hand.

booths and vendor hall quiltcon 2017I did not spend as much time at the booths as I would have liked, both because of fullllll days, but also because most of the time they were absolutely mobbed! These photos were taken Sunday afternoon shortly before the end of the show, which is how you can see the booths.

Special Exhibits

the pulse of quilting quilts for pulse exhibitThere were quite a few special exhibits at QuiltCon, including the quilts of Angela Walters, Siddi Quilts, Quilt Design a Day, Charleston MQG & Emanuel AME Church Project, The Modern Quilt Guild’s 2016 Quilts of the Month, Kona Color of the Year 2016, and The Pulse of Quilting (shown above). I honestly could have spent all four days just exploring these exhibits–there was so much to see, and so many powerful things being done through the gift and art of quilting.

Quilty Friends

Stretching my brain to learn new things in classes, finding renewed inspiration in lectures, seeing row upon row of gorgeously mind blowing quilts, shopping a hall of vendors filled with all of my favorite things–all of these are wonderful, but none compare to the delight of seeing quilty friends in person. A highlight of QuiltCon will always be the personal connections made between friends old and new, the laughs shared over lunch, the deepening of friendships forged through blog comment exchanges and social media posts. Call me a sap if you must, but seeing so many fellow quilters so full of enthusiasm and spirit fills my social quilting cup until my next chance to attend a big event.

quiltcon-selfies
From top left to right, me and: Giuseppe @giucy_giuce, Michelle @michellebartholomew, Mathew @misterdomestic, Erin from @Aurifilthread, Finnnnnn!!!, Anne @playcrafts, Christa @christaquilts, Stephanie @latenightquilter, Karen @karenlewistextiles

I took only a handful of selfies, but enjoyed meeting so many new friends, old friends, and even more new friends.

Savannah

And finally, Savannah!

savannah georgia treesThis post would not be complete without at least a collection of photos from gorgeous historic Savannah, Georgia. It was especially fun to explore since my husband Garrett (who incidentally began an instagram account @knightquilter while he was there) and youngest son Finn were also there with me.

hugging trees with Finn in SavannahI was sure to teach Finn the fine art of hugging trees, and he was a big fan of the birds chirping in the trees (I couldn’t hear them, but I confirmed their presence on several occasions to make sure I was understanding the source of his excitement).

hugging trees with Finn in SavannahSavannah is a gorgeous city and I would absolutely return to explore more!

trio in savannahI’m so grateful to my family for supporting me in my travels.

Gare and Finn exploring SavannahBetween my parents watching my older two kids, my husband not only taking time off work so that he could be with Finn full-time so that I could attend workshops, lectures, and “do my thing” with quilty friends I rarely see, but also begging for Night Quilter t-shirts to wear during the event, and taking an actual legit interest in quilting and the industry to help support and understand my passion, I am surrounded by the most amazing supports.

Gare and Finn exploring SavannahWithout that support, none of this would be possible, and no reflection on an event as amazing as QuiltCon would be complete without a huge, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. What an amazing week it was!

QuiltCon 2015 Reflection: Quilts

I’ve been home from QuiltCon for a good month now, but I cannot let the experience pass without some mention of the amazing quilts that hung in the show. I wish I could say that I spent hours gazing in awe at every quilt there, but to be honest, I’m SURE that there are quilts I didn’t even see. Every time I turned around, I found another quilt I had yet to see.

quiltcon 2015 quilts
Best of show – i Quilt by Kathy York.

QuiltCon was my first quilt show, and it was an amazing place to begin. Every single quilt was just one more bit of inspiration, and made my brain swirl with possibility. There is a lot of talk about what makes a quilt “modern”, but I think that the quilts hanging at QuiltCon definitely fit the bill, as vague and openly as that “modern” label extends. Being fairly new to quilting, there were quilts where my gut reaction was, “wow, THAT’s a cool idea/technique!”, where I had not even fathomed the possibility of a quilt made in such a way or in such a design. Like I said in earlier posts, I didn’t take nearly as many photos at QuiltCon as I would have liked, so here is just a collection of a few of my favorites. Click here to see most of the quilts from the show, care of Sew Mama Sew.

quiltcon 2015 quilts
Akhaten by Shannon Page. Description said: “This resulted from deconstructing my original design. I cut up the original top to make this and I could not be happier with the result.” –Can you imagine!? Now THAT is a bold idea that resulted in a cellularly fantastic outcome!
quiltcon 2015 quilts
Geometric Rainbow by Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft
quiltcon 2015 quilts
Iceberg by Crystal McGann
quiltcon 2015 quilts
Group or Bee Quilt: Churn Dash 2: Complementary by Martha Peterson, Deborah Ferguson, Chandra Wu
quiltcon 2015 quilts
Spiraling Out of Control by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts
quilts of quiltcon 2015
Deconstructed Lonestar by Amy Struckmeyer
quiltcon 2015 quilts
Museum Windows by Melissa Fontanese
quiltcon 2015 quilts
Catenary by Carolyn Friedlander: even more amazing in person, if it can be imagined!
quiltcon 2015 quilts
Holy Sh*t Sherlock by Kristy Daum

I debated waiting until the crowd in front of Sherlock dissipated, but decided I really liked seeing him peek out and took the photo as shown. This quilt was one that begged to be visited multiple times!

quiltcon 2015 quilts
Chess on the Steps by Krista Hennebury of Poppyprint
quiltcon 2015 quilts
Quilting Excellence Award Winner: Coral Reef by Marla Varner
Check out that quilting!
Check out that quilting!
quiltcon 2015 quilts
That Twitch by Cara Sheridan

Some may be surprised that I rank this quilt in my top picks, since one might think my typical OCD tendencies might twitch at the sight of this one. To be honest, it makes me giggle with glee. What a simple yet completely unique idea. It’s a collection of yellow squares, with one out of wack. Tell me it’s not brilliant!!?

paper pieced modern amy garro icy waters quilt
Icy Waters by Amy Garro of 13 Spools (pardon how cropped this one is. No excuses.)

In all the known quilting world, I find myself the most drawn to modern quilting and paper piecing. I’ve been designing paper pieced patterns for about a year, but still struggling with finding a way to mix the two: modern and paper piecing. Enter: Amy Garro. This quilt is from her new book Paper Pieced Modern*, and when I first saw it and realized it was from an entire book of awesomely paper pieced modern quilts, my reaction was, “Yesssssssssssssssssss!!!” Let the fun begin!

Modern Quilting Trends

A lot of quilter bloggers have written about trends in the quilts that were accepted into the QuiltCon show, and rather than repeat what has already been said, here are a few excerpts that I also definitely noticed in the show:

I most agree with Lee from Freshly Pieced‘s observation that “design is the single most important element of a modern quilt” and that “walking around the floor, it was pretty hard to miss the layout creativity that was on display.” Lee totally nailed my gut reaction mentioned above; the layout creativity blew my mind and explored design elements beyond my wildest dreams. Read her full post here. Of course, taking Lee’s Off the Grid: Alternate Layout class was an eye-opening highlight of my trip, so I may be a bit biased, but I really think that she hit the nail on the head regarding the direction modern quilting is headed.

Afton from Quilting Mod noticed a prevalence of dense free motion quilting, straight line or matchstick quilting, circles or quarter circles, pixelated quilts (swoon Sherlock), quilts with actual words, gemstones, architecture, bold saturated rainbow colors, and a more lenient look at perfect craftsmanship with more of a focus on design. I definitely noticed a strong prevalence of dense free motion quilting and matchstick quilting, which is one more motivator to improving my free motion quilting skills!

I also loved Christa from Christa Quilts‘ reflections on modern quilting post QuiltCon. My favorite bit of wisdom I got from her post was “…just because you enjoy modern quilts doesn’t mean you have to BE a modern quilter. And just because you consider yourself part of the movement doesn’t mean you have to make exclusively modern quilts.”  Christa mentioned being able to see the quilters’ heart and soul going into the quilts, and I agree that so many quilts not only were aesthetically gorgeous, showed masterful craftsmanship, and exhibited a thinking-out-of-the-box design element, but they also expressed emotion. Maybe I’m just a quilting sap who found my creative niche in the mostly-modern quilting world, but the quilts spoke to me. (No, I’m not weird. Just humor me, ok?) The quilts at QuiltCon were a huge inspiration for me to continue playing, creating, and stretching my boundaries.

Here are a few of the blog posts specifically about the quilts at QuiltCon, if you want to get a more in depth look at other bloggers’ observations and thoughts:

Bryan House Quilts QuiltCon in a Nutshell
Christa Quilts Christa’s Soapbox – My Thoughts About Modern Quilting Post QuiltCon
Christa Quilts My Experiences from QuiltCon 2015
Christa Quilts More Quilts from QuiltCon 2015
Don’t Call Me Becky QuiltCon 2015
Freshly Pieced QuiltCon: My Thoughts
On the Windy Side QuiltCon Recap 1: The Quilts
Quilting JetGirl QuiltCon 2015: Quilts!
QuiltingMod QuiltCon: Trends Part I
QuiltingMod QuiltCon: Trends Part II
QuiltingMod QuiltCon: Trends Part III
The Plaid Portico Multiple QuiltCon Quilt posts

Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl has a pretty extensive list of quilt blogger posts about QuiltCon HERE.

Are you a quilter blogger who also posted about the quilts shown at QuiltCon? Let me know and I’ll add you to my list above!

*Amazon affiliate link included, which means if you buy Paper Pieced Modern by clicking through, I receive 4% compensation with no extra cost to you.

Color Inspiration Thursday {40}

It seems the QuiltCon blog posts are starting to slow to a trickle, but the influence of the experience lingers on. Before heading to QuiltCon, I had visions of finding and photographing dozens of fabulously talented quilters in front of their quilts for future people palettes. I didn’t take dozens. In fact, I only took one. But it’s a fabulous one, and of a woman I’m so fortunate to have met.  Today’s star is Krista Hennebury, quilter, retreat organizer, and author of her new book Make It, Take It for Martingale, which is meant to feel like a retreat in a book–sewing fun things with friends. I was fortunate enough to meet Krista through our serendipitous pairing in the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap, Round 3 earlier this year. I was tasked with creating a quilt for Krista, and fortunately she has great taste! I had a blast, made this quilt for her, and gained a friend in the process.

krista hennebury people palette

Corresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Black, Bella Brick Red, Bella Longhorn, Kona Cedar, Bella Etchings Charcoal, Bella Gray

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2692 – Black
2355 – Rust
2350 – Copper
2235 – Orange
5013 – Asphalt
5011 – Rope Beige

This palette features Krista in front of her gorgeous quilt Chess on the Steps, which hung at QuiltCon. I’m intrigued by this quilt, which she calls “improv under the influence”, since it’s a quilt with a very improv feel, but created using traditional chain piecing methods. Those who know me know that I struggle with improv, but I feel like this quilt may be the place to begin! Fortunately, it was the pattern of the month in September 2014 and is available for free for members of the Modern Quilt Guild.

I asked Krista to answer three short questions to help the world get to know the color inspiration star of the week a little more intimately:

Where do you fit into the worldwide family tree of quilting?
I describe my quilting as traditionally-informed modern quilting if someone really needs a description, but really, I just like making quilts. I’ve been blogging over 5 years, teaching for 13, running a day-retreat business for 11. I love my local traditional and modern guilds, where I’m an active member of both.

What is your first memory of being really excited?
The Haunted House at Disneyworld, age 9.

If you could choose anyone, who would you choose as your mentor?
Gwen Marston

Krista actually wrote a really great blog post just the other day about a weekend spent sewing with Gwen Marston, so if you want to hear more about the amazing woman Krista wishes could be her third grandma, read the post here.

You can find Krista in the bloggy quiltiverse here:

Blog
Instagram
Facebook
Flickr
Twitter
or go on a virtual quilt retreat with her by buying her book:*Disclosure: Amazon affiliate link above, which means if you buy the book by clicking through, I receive 4% of the sale.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

All color palettes are created using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 and my photo, taken at QuiltCon 2015.

Color Inspiration Thursday {39}

Walking around the vendor booths at QuiltCon, there was such a delightful array of color. Color everywhere, as fabric, quilts, notions, signs, or quilts. As I said earlier, I took a surprisingly small number of photographs, but I still have a few colorful ones to share. Color palettes are created using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 and my photographs.

aurifil color palette

Corresponding solids from left to right:
Bella Dark Teal, Bella Turquoise, Kona Bahama Blue, Bella Shocking Pink, Bella Bunny Hill Pink, Bella Home Town Sky

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
4182 – Med Turquoise
4093 – Jade
1148 – Lt Jade
2215 – Peach
2314 – Beige
2600 – Dove

The Aurifil booth did not disappoint when it comes to color. With this gorgeous display of colorful large spools of Aurifil thread, I had to stop and take a gabillion photos. I am wishing I had a tripod and another 20 minutes, but even with a few quick hold-my-breath-to-steady photos, I was able to get one suitable clear one. That front and center turquoise variegated thread is one I’ve had my eye on for quite some time but haven’t yet used. I think I may have to remedy that soon. Gorgeous colors of this, my favorite silky smooth thread! The palette reminds me of the beach, for some reason. The summery feel is much appreciated this time of year!

amy garro quilt color palette

Corresponding solids from left to right:
Bella Stone, Bella Sea, Bella Glacier, Bella Sapphire, Kona Regal, Kona Nautical

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
5011 – Rope Beige
4140 – Wedgewood
5008 – Sugar Paper
1248 – Grey Blue
2581 – Dk Dusty Grape
2785 – V Dk Navy

This palette is created from one of my top favorite quilts at the show, Icy Waters by Amy Garro. The color palette includes a gorgeous range of blues, which could be part of why I am so drawn to this quilt. Icy Waters is from Amy’s new book, Paper Pieced Modern*, which I really can’t wait to get my hands on. I am quite drawn to paper piecing but also to modern style, and Amy’s patterns are SUCH a fabulous melding of the two. I discovered her book during the book release blog hop, and was lucky enough to meet and have dinner with Amy while in Austin. Not only is she a fabulous designer, she’s sweet and fun to hang out with, too.

To share a somewhat unrelated side story from QuiltCon, after an evening of getting appetizers and drinks (for the non preggo ones in attendance) in a typical dimly lit and loud wine bar, Amy did something that really showed what a sincere and thoughtful person she is. As some of you know, I’m severely hard of hearing, so do best face to face where I can “read” lips. In a dark, loud restaurant in a group setting, it is a challenge for me to catch conversation, so I jump in where I can and just deal with missing out on the bulk of conversation. This particular evening, Stephanie was with us, so she took the time to fill me in with a bit of ASL signing here and there so that I could better participate in the conversation. As we were parting ways and hugging as old friends who just met do, Amy signed “Good to meet you” as she said farewell. My response? “Did you just SIGN to me!?” I learned that she had learned sign language quite a number of years ago, but still remembered some. It may seem like a tiny insubstantial thing, but it really stuck with me and made me appreciate my quilty friends more. So yeah, I like Amy 🙂

I will share more reflections about the quilts at QuiltCon in a future post, but Amy’s fabulous Icy Waters is a great example of the innovative, aesthetically flowing, modern quilts that hung in the show. There is SO much talent out there!

 

* Note: Amazon affiliate link included.

 

 

Stash Building: Sun Prints

Before heading to QuiltCon, I promised myself I wasn’t going to go crazy with buying tons of fabric and notions, etc. Truly, I stuck to my word–probably more because I simply didn’t have time to browse the vendors as much as I would have liked, but still! The one fabric line that was on my list of “definitely buy” was Alison Glass’s new Sun Prints. I am signed up for the Alison Glass Mini Quilt Swap, so really, I needed to buy some anyway. However, in my mad dash through the vendor booths on Saturday afternoon, I discovered that many booths were getting cleared out. When I arrived at Pile O’ Fabric‘s booth, they had only ONE bundle left of Sun Prints Mercury and Grove, the two that were on my must-buy list. I was planning on seeking out fat eight bundles, but these were, um…. half yard bundles. Close? I bought both, my only non-food purchases the entire trip.

alison glass sun prints fabric rainbow
Grove on top, Mercury on bottom: Half yard bundles of Alison Glass’s newest Sunprints from Pile O’ Fabric.

I love how this gorgeous pile of fabric has a Pile O’ Fabric tag on it. What a great name for a fabric store!

I’ve had my eye on the new Sun Prints since they were released for preorder. The saturated, bright colors and tone on tone nature of this fabric line falls right into the “Kitty must have it loves it” category. I admit I did hesitate before buying both half yard bundles, since it’s the largest one-time fabric purchase I’ve made to date (yes, I’m that frugal when it comes to buying fabric). I KNOW that these fabrics will be loved and used, though, so carpe diem, right?

alison glass sun prints fabric rainbow
Mercury: Alison Glass Sun Prints 2015
alison glass sun prints fabric rainbow
Grove: Alison Glass Sun Prints 2015

With all these gorgeous colors, I had to arrange them in a rainbow for some serious photo shoot yumminess. Mercury, meet Grove. Feast your eyes on these beauties!

alison glass sun prints fabric rainbow

alison glass sun prints fabric rainbow

I had my usual helper during this photo shoot, and I will be astounded the day he doesn’t want to “help” by being right smack dab in the middle of the photos. As per usual during our sunny day playroom photo shoots, Max took turns taking photos and posing in the photos. In my opinion (and I’m sure in Grandma’s opinion, too), his cute mug just makes the photos that much more perfect.

alison glass sun prints fabric rainbow

alison glass sun prints fabric rainbowI seriously love this kid!

And I love the rainbow gorgeousness of these fabrics. Here, I’ll take you for a little stroll down Rainbow Way:

alison glass sun prints fabric rainbow

alison glass sun prints fabric rainbow

alison glass sun prints fabric rainbow

Now that these lovelies are officially part of my stash, I just have to figure out the perfect pattern to make for my mini partner. And then decide what to make with the leftovers!

What pattern would you use to let these gorgeous colors shine?

I’m linking up with Molli Sparkles’ Sunday Stash, since if he can be a bit late, I can, too! Tuesday, Sunday… eh, it’s close enough!

QuiltCon 2015 Reflection: Learning

The weeks leading up to QuiltCon registration, one suggestion echoed in the blogosphere from people who had attended the previous QuiltCon: don’t pack your schedule too tightly. I decided that I would take two all-day workshops and sign up for three lectures on the other two days, limiting the lectures more because I wasn’t sure how I would do in a lecture with my hearing as it is (I’m severely hard of hearing) and less because I thought I would need more time to see the quilts and visit the vendors and booths. Even still, before heading to QuiltCon, I made all sorts of tentative plans for “down time”–maybe a pedicure? maybe some blogging? Hah! Down time? What is that!? There was none. Zero. Zilch. As I said in my previous post, if there were four of me, maybe there might have been a bit of down time. With just me, myself, and I: no chance. But boy did I learn a LOT. Here is a bit of a synopsis of the classes and lectures I attended.

Value with Cheryl Arkison {Workshop}

I kicked off the entire QuiltCon experience with a full-day workshop on Value with Cheryl Arkison. Since I arrived late Wednesday evening after an entire day of flying, and stayed with my awesome friend Michelle (the other half of the Late Night Quilter blog) about 45 minutes away from the convention center, we decided to register Thursday morning. That means we arrived at around 8:20am, I registered in my first whirlwind flurry of adventure, and then rushed off to find the classroom in time for the 9am start.

Of course I arrived to the class with my required pre cut fabric squares sorted in rainbow order. That’s just how I am. I’m a color girl. But I went to QuiltCon hoping to try new things and stretch out of my comfort zone. Cheryl’s class was the perfect opening.

rainbow order for value class

Cheryl’s class was great. She reviewed the basics of value, and emphasized how value is the *relative* light or darkness of a fabric. This is best seen when it comes to fabrics of medium value: a medium reads as a dark when paired with a very light fabric, but a medium reads as a light when paired with a very dark fabric. It’s all relative. Cheryl showed us the fairly well known and infinitely helpful trick of taking a photo of fabrics and converting it to black and white to see how each fabric “reads” value-wise, and we went to work sorting our fabrics. Here is a portion of my initial sort, with (left to right) lights, mediums, and darks.

value comparison

As you can see when it is converted to black and white, there are a few fabrics in the medium pile that really belong with the darks, and at least one (maybe two) in the dark pile that would belong better with the mediums. After fixing those fabrics, we were ready to pair. Here’s the key hint for making value work in your quilt: start by pairing the medium pile. If you pair a medium with a really truly dark, or a clearly very light, you’re all good. If you pair all of the darks and lights first, then you are stuck with a bunch of mediums with no clearly value-different pair.

Of course I started pairing my fabrics by color: light blue with dark blue; light pink with dark pink, etc.  After a moment, Cheryl said, “Try to pair your fabrics looking at value withOUT thinking about color” with a nice, long, sidelong glance in my direction. Sigh. Okay, okay! It was just the push I needed to really step outside of my comfort zone and (painfully, I might add) I started pairing fabrics trying my hardest not to mind color. It was HARD for me, let me tell you!

But I did it, and after creating half square triangles (HST) out of our pairings and playing with some arrangements, I found one that I was happy with and that is VERY different than anything I would put together by my own forces.

value based quilt

One thing I realized through these exercises, though, is that as much as I liked the look of the quilt in a photograph or from very far away, when I look at it up close, it still grates on me a bit because of the inadvertent color pairings. Cheryl was extremely helpful in helping me overcome my smooth color aesthetic obsession, and gave me some tips on how to focus on value while still maintaining or creating some control of color. I definitely want to play some more with value, maybe with a bit more predetermined organization of color. I would highly recommend Cheryl as a teacher and sharer of inspiration, so if you ever have a chance to learn from her, do it!

I also thought it was awesome that later in the week, after a lecture by Carolyn Friedlander, I was talking with Carolyn and Cheryl and Krista Hennesbury (another awesome quilter blogger and the recipient of my Schnitzel and Boo mini swap a month or so ago) about something Carolyn had said in her lecture–when you try a new skill, sometimes you will love it, but if it doesn’t work for you, feel free to toss it aside and use the techniques that DO work for you. Cheryl brought up my in-person aversion to the value-focused and color-ignored quilt arrangements and said that if I found it didn’t work for me, I could just choose not use it. I’m not ready to give up on value-focused quilts, but it is really interesting to see how different people are aesthetically drawn to different styles, and that’s okay.

Color for the Modern Quilter with Heather Jones {Lecture}

I actually was able to hear much of the lectures, since I made it a point to sit front and center, which was quite exciting for me. Heather Jones lecture on color was a great review of color theory, which is the science of mixing colors.  She went over the basics of color (primary, secondary, tertiary colors, shades, tones, hues, saturation, temperature, etc.), shared some actual color theory, and showed some lovely examples and inspiration photos. One tip Heather suggested was to use the color key on the selvedge of the fabric. I had never even thought of using the color key to help find coordinating and complimentary fabrics; I always just thought those colorful dots on the selvedge were there to look pretty and add interest. *mind blown* Another bit I found particularly interesting is that tone on tone fabrics often “read” as solids. That makes a whole lot of sense, since I find myself particularly drawn to solids and tone on tone fabrics. Using tone on tone fabrics is my sneaky way of getting a very solid look while still technically using prints!

How to take Better Quilt Photos with Meg Cox {Lecture}

This lecture was great because it confirmed many of my thoughts on quilt photography, and added a few key tips and bits of new information. Meg Cox‘s impressive background and experience at the Wall Street Journal definitely gave her lecture an extra “wow, she absolutely knows what she’s talking about!”, and it was fun to see examples of both good and not-so-good (okay, horrible) quilt photos. She confirmed that in order for your photos to be stellar, using a camera instead of an iPhone is a must. MUST.  (Of course I’m promptly breaking that rule with this post, since many of my lecture and classroom photos were taken with my phone due to lack of light and tripod availability). I had recommitted to using only high quality camera photos for my blog a few months ago, and have been really working at improving my blog photos taken with my Canon Rebel XT.

I went away from this lecture inspired that I’m on the right track, with a list of camera functions I need to better master, and a few indoor photography props I hope to buy. One big tip that I found VERY useful and can’t wait to implement is using Daylight Balanced Compact Fluorescent CFL Bulbs to light indoor photo shoots. Getting sufficient light for indoor photos is something I struggle with, so I’m looking forward to giving these bulbs a try! (Disclosure: Amazon affiliate link above)

Architexture, Quilts, and Us with Carolyn Friedlander {Lecture}

carolyn friedlander lecture

I wasn’t quick enough to register for a full day workshop with Carolyn, so I was excited to get in on this lecture of hers. If you are a regular reader of my blog, my fangirl status of everything Carolyn Friedlander is no secret. I love her work. I love her background. I love her sources of inspiration. I love how real she is. I think part of why I’m so drawn to Carolyn’s work is its simple aesthetic and seemingly mundane source of inspiration. Carolyn studied and worked as an architect before becoming a quilt pattern and fabric designer. I worked as an environmental scientist wetland and land use specialist for 6+ years before becoming a momma (and aspiring quilt designer), so I spent much of that time working closely with landscape architects.

At this lecture, I loved listening to Carolyn talk about architecture and her sources of inspiration, since it all hits so close to home for me. She finds inspiration in the world around her, as do I. She finds hers particularly in architecture; I find mine in the complex architecture of nature. I loved how she explained pattern design as “solving a problem”. Carolyn walked through her design process: think of a design for a finished product, and then solve the problem of finding the best method of obtaining the desired outcome. This is how she got into needle-turn applique, and what sparked the discussion about us quilters seeking new knowledge and techniques, but needing to find the techniques that work for us as individuals in solving our own pattern design “problems”. I am looking forward to hearing more from Carolyn and hope to be able to attend a full class taught by her one day. She’s such a huge inspiration to me!

Off the Grid: Alternate Quilt Layouts with Lee Heinrich {Workshop}

lee heinrich alternate grid workshop

I closed out my first QuiltCon experience with another full day workshop: an alternate layout class taught by Lee Heinrich from Freshly Pieced. Lee is another one of my big quilt inspirations. I love her simple and bold aesthetic, and even during her presentation, I could pick out the sample quilts that she had designed and made since they were always the ones I instinctually reacted to with “Wow, I LOVE that one”. Her workshop was super helpful, finally putting names and technical know-how to my current method of “oh, that looks good” or “oh, that doesn’t look good”. It was fascinating to go through each “alternate layout” method and see how it worked (or didn’t work) with our quilt blocks. Different types of quilt blocks definitely lent themselves to different layout styles. For my blocks, I almost went with a modular layout with variable framing, but because I had very varied sized blocks, I ultimately opted for paneling so as to avoid trapping negative space between the blocks. Imagine the navy blue background extending all the way to the edges of the design board:

IMG_1694

I would definitely recommend taking a class with Lee if you get the chance, too. This workshop was very well organized, with an introduction in the beginning, and then a break after each category or style of alternate grid layouts to allow us to try the methods with our own blocks. While we played, we not only had the input of our group members, but Lee would also circle the room providing feedback and suggestions. Next, she would explain and show examples of the next category or style of alternate grid layouts, and then we would again have a chance to try them with our blocks. It was a fantastic way to not only learn about many different layout options, but also see how they worked with a set of our own prepared blocks.

lee heinrich and meOne aspect of Lee’s class that really resonated with me is the idea of going “off the grid” as far as quilt layout, but still using the grid as a guide. It is a much more organized and sense-filled method than my usually slap-blocks-up-on-my-design-wall-until-they-look-good method. The outcome is fresh and modern, yet with that balanced feel that is so difficult to attain without any grid at all. I am very much looking forward to utilizing some of the different layout styles in my future quilts. Lee has a great reflection about the presences of alternate grid layouts in the QuiltCon quilt show that I highly suggest reading HERE.

As you can see, my whirlwind QuiltCon experience included a TON of learning and inspiration. I’m excited to start using this inspiration in future quilt designs and projects and I will be sure to point out aspects of future quilts where the skills and styles I learned are implemented. Now, where to begin?

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.

 

The Final Countdown: QuiltCon 2015

The days have been ticking by with a fury, and in only 4 short days, I’ll be on a plane (four planes to be exact) to Austin for QuiltCon. My family–husband especially–has been super understanding and helpful in terms of giving me a bit extra sewing time so that I can feel prepared. After a long late-night sewing stint last night and a great mail day today, I’m feeling much more prepared. Here’s a quick post outlining what I’ve finished:

Super Tote

super tote finish

super tote finish

super tote finish

I amazingly finished sewing this Super Tote (pattern by Anna at Noodle-head) so that I will have an awesome handmade bag large enough to carry all my supplies around QuiltCon. Only the second bag I’ve ever made, there are a number of things I messed up or would do differently next time, but I am happy with it! I used Anna Maria Horner’s line Field Study for both the front pocket and lining, and used Robert Kaufman 21-wale corduroy for the body.

Night Quilter Belt for the AlterEgo Moda Dance Party
night quilter alter ego belt in progress
Night Quilter Alter Ego belt in progress.
quiltcon night quilter alter ego belt in the snow
Don’t mind the snow. Of course it’s snowing again. We are getting another 24″ tonight into tomorrow!

quiltcon night quilter alter ego belt

quiltcon night quilter alter ego beltquiltcon night quilter alter ego belt
Can you tell what my favorite colors are these days?

Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl proposed a fun idea a month or so ago, where we dress up as our QuiltCon Alter Egos for the Moda Dance Party Thursday night.  The idea was to dress like your blog name, since everyone will recognize blogosphere monikers far more easily than actual names or faces. I decided to make a belt reflecting my new Night Quilter logo (see business cards and pins below), and I will be wearing a navy blue shirt with silver star stickers all over it. Night Quilter? I hope it works!

Business Cards and Pins

business cards and pin back buttons

My business cards from Moo and pin-back buttons from Button Arcade finally arrived today! Now I’m feeling like I’m REALLY ready to head to QuiltCon!! There is an official-unofficial pin swap going on at QuiltCon, so I’m looking forward to swapping! I love that Kyle at Button Arcade was able to put my blog url on the back/side of the pins. What an awesome feature!

Here’s my updated QuiltCon to-do list:

  • Order pin-back buttons
  • Download QuiltCon app
  • Prep for classes
    Buy fabric for Alternate Grid
    -Make blocks (5 finished)
    -Cut scraps for Playing with Value
  • Make Super Tote
  • Make quilted belt for QuiltCon AlterEgo
  • Order business cards
  • Make Noodle-head pouch for holding buttons
  • Buy a new moleskin notebook & micron pens
  • Make a lanyard? (both Sarah at Smiles Too Loudly and Daisy at Ants to Sugar offered to make me a lanyard! I’m SO grateful for awesome quilter blogger friends! Woohoo!)
  • Make a list of people to meet (It’s ongoing!)

Up I go to cut scraps for Playing with Value, then perhaps I’ll make a couple more blocks tomorrow for the Off the Grid workshop. Tonight is date night with my hubby for Valentine’s Day, so all sewing comes to a halt when he arrives home from dropping the kids with his cousin!

T Minus 16 Days Until QuiltCon!

In my early planning phases for QuiltCon, I didn’t realize how much preparation would go into the trip. Now that February is actually here, reality is hitting. I initially mentally blocked off February as “QuiltCon Prep” thinking it would mostly involve creating and ordering business cards, making a cool bag, and psyching myself up for my first public quilt-world appearance.

QuiltConLogo

I’m registered for two awesome workshops at QuiltCon–Playing with Value with Cheryl Arkison and Off the Grid: Creating Alternate Layouts with Lee Heinrich–not to mention lectures by Carolyn Friedlander, Heather Jones, and Meg Cox, which means that my first quilt conference experience is sure to be amazing, but also that I have a lot of work to do before I head to Austin! So far, I’ve narrowed my QuiltCon to-do list down to:

  • Order pin-back buttons
  • Download QuiltCon app
  • Prep for classes
    Buy fabric for Alternate Grid
    -Make blocks
    -Cut scraps for Playing with Value
  • Make Super Tote
  • Make quilted belt for QuiltCon AlterEgo
  • Order business cards
  • Make Noodle-head pouch for holding buttons
  • Buy a new moleskin notebook & micron pens
  • Make a lanyard?
  • Make a list of people to meet (let me know if you’re going and want to me added to my “stalk until I meet them” list!)

As you can see, I’ve crossed a couple things off my list but still have quite a bit to do. For Lee’s Off the Grid workshop, we need to take 5-20 premade quilt blocks in addition to other bits of fabric for sashing and background. I’m wicked excited (pardon my Northeast terminology there), and really want to create something fabulous. I also don’t really have any stray blocks hanging around (a side effect of being a newbie quilter?) which meant one thing: new project!

To put my mind a bit at ease, I snuck in a stop at my local quilt shop (LQS) Fiddlehead Artisan Supply before today’s big snowstorm got going and picked up some half-yards in my color palette of choice.

fabric for quiltcon

I’m planning to work out of my white and grey background comfort zone and go with a navy blue background and negative space with these gorgeous pops of color. I probably will add more turquoise and perhaps a bit of light grey as some low volume additions, but I’m going to shop my stash as much as possible for those. I have not yet decided on a block design, although I’m leaning toward making five or more different blocks with this similar color scheme. If you have a favorite block you would suggest, I’m definitely still open to ideas!

fabric and noodlehead super tote pattern
from L to R: Alison Glass Sun Print Bike Path in Magenta, Joel Dewberry Bungalow Swallow Study in Lavender, American Jane Pindots in Leaf Green, Alison Glass Sun Print Bike Path in Leaf Green, Cotton and Steel Basics, XOXO in Dandelion, Super Tote pattern by Noodle-head; bottom: FQ of unknown teal thready fabric

I also want to make a Super Tote for carrying all of my crap precious supplies around QuiltCon, so I picked up the pattern while at Fiddlehead. Now that I have the pattern, I can begin to wrap my head around what will be involved in making it. I have not yet decided on what fabric I will use for the bag, but I’m going to try to shop my stash as much as possible for that, too. I want to have a little budget left for shopping at QuiltCon.

What am I missing? Are you going to QuiltCon? Any tips for a first-timer?

A New Year’s Goal: Balance

I’m  baaaaack!! Did you miss me!? I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and that the new year is off to a great start. As lovely as our extended vacation was, I’m happy to be home, even if it is -12 degrees outside right now. I’m also happy to be back in this space, sharing inspiration with you. I have some gifty and secret projects  I am itching to show you… all in good time. There’s so much to share, I hardly know where to begin. So I’ll begin with my favorite, a photo:

hexies in paradise
I did not do a stitch of sewing while actually on vacation, but I brought these hexies along for a tropical photo shoot in Cozumel. Talk about paradise!!

Every new year, it feels like a chance to begin fresh, set new goals, and form new habits. I am so excited for this new year and all the potential it holds. I have some big goals for this year, both crafty and family-related. I’m heading to my first QuiltCon in February, and our family is welcoming a third child in late May or early June. Many of you have shared a word to guide your year, and I’ve decided that my word should be “balance”. I love to sew, quilt,  create patterns, and share inspiration. I’m also a full-time wife and mom to a wonderful 5 year old and busy, busy, busy (and equally wonderful) 2 1/2 year old. With another baby coming into our family mid-year, I know that finding a good balance between family and sewing is going to be my biggest goal. On a slightly jestful note, I’ve already been practicing balance; I spent the first week of the year in the 80+ degree tropics and the second week of the year (and every one hereafter) in -10 degree Maine! giggle-freeze

2015 balance

To help me learn to focus on one main goal project at a time, I’ve decided to join in with A Lovely Year of Finishes. I missed the January goal-setting post deadline since I was away, but that doesn’t mean I can’t set a goal! I think my favorite part about ALYoF is that it forces you encourages you to choose just one project to finish each month. I am a perfect case of an ADD quilter–I often work on many projects simultaneously, not making any serious progress on any particular one. I’m hoping that joining ALYoF will help me stay focused and actually FINISH some serious projects.

A Lovely Year of Finishes 2015

For January, my goal is to finish my secret sewing quilt. I know, I know… I can’t show you much since it’s a secret!! But I can show you the little peeks I’ve shared on Instagram, and can tell you that so far I have the quilt top finished. I need to piece the back (I have a grand plan of trying needle-turn applique for the first time ever to make the back as awesome as the front), baste, quilt, and finish the quilt. For a busy momma who gets maybe 5 hours tops per week to sew, this is a big goal. Why not start with a bang, right!?

Since this is already one of the wordiest posts I’ve written, I’ll finish up with some peeks at my secret quilt progress. I get to play with Carolyn Friedlander’s new Doe fabric, which Robert Kaufman Fabrics was kind enough to send me a month in advance so that I could get the quilt finished in time despite the late December release date in the US.

doe fabric peek

doe fabric peek

doe fabric peek
Doe goes SO well with its coordinating Kona solids.
This project has helped me let go of a bit of my OCD. I let this imperfect seam match go, but the perfect center (far left) made up for it!
This project has helped me let go of a bit of my OCD. I let this imperfect seam match go, but the perfect center (far left) made up for it!

I can’t wait to show you more, and I hope I can get it finished!!

What are your goals for the new year?