Monday, March 2, 2015

QuiltCon: My Thoughts

By now, you've probably seen at least a dozen posts about QuiltCon (I know I have), so today my challenge is to attempt to add something new to the conversation! QuiltCon was amazing and thoroughly inspiring. But it was also a bit overwhelming and a lot of work for me, since I taught three classes. That means I didn't get to see or do everything I might have liked, and I certainly didn't take as many pictures as I should have! But I'll do my best to sum up my thoughts on the full experience.

Flame by Rebecca Bryan of Bryan House Quilts

There was a lot of discussion before the show (especially around the time people found out whether their quilts were juried in) of what type of quilts would be in the show. Now that we've seen them all, I personally think the full spectrum of modern quilting was well-represented at QuiltCon. In my own opinion, design is the single most important element of a modern quilt, and it seemed clear that the show organizers held that opinion as well. That's not to say quilting and technical skill aren't important, because of course they are, and the best quilts had all those things going for them. But there was no question in my mind that the quilts that were shown at QuiltCon were all examples of design at its very best, and as a graphic design nerd, I'm all about that. : )

Geometric Rainbow by Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft

If there was any one over-arching design lesson that we can take away from QuiltCon, I think it's this: Get creative with your layouts! If you aspire to make quilts that push the envelope and/or are worthy of a modern quilting show (not everyone does, and that's completely fine, but if you do), don't keep doing the same four-blocks-across-and-five-down layouts that we've seen over and over again since, oh, the 1800s. Easy for me to say, right? Since I taught a workshop on creating alternate layouts at the show. : ) But walking around the floor, it was pretty hard to miss the layout creativity that was on display. There is so much more you can do with the blank canvas of a quilt top.

Diamond Dust by Doris Brunnette of Made By a Brunnette

Maybe that's particularly important in my own little niche of modern quilting, Modern Traditionalism. I think the QuiltCon Modern Traditionalism category was trying to tell us that it's great to use traditional blocks in a modern quilt, but if you're going to go that route, you need to offset those traditional designs by getting really creative with the layout. I personally submitted 6 quilts for QuiltCon, and had 4 accepted into the show. The 4 that were accepted had alternate layouts, which used negative space and/or block structure in unexpected ways. The two that weren't accepted? Standard tiled layouts. And I don't think I'm the only Modern Traditionalist who had that same experience. And you know what? I think that's awesome. Because: Design, you guys. : )

What's the Point by Susan Slusser Clay

That's not to say that every quilt I make from here on out is going to have an alternate layout. The truth is that I enjoy quilts with traditional layouts just as much as the ones with more unique layouts. My Spin It Again quilt from my book Vintage Quilt Revival was rejected from QuiltCon. It's still one of my favorite quilts I've ever made, and I'm sure I'll want to make more like it in the months ahead. But a show like QuiltCon is supposed to inspire us, get our creative juices flowing, and move us in new directions. That's exactly what the show did for me, and hopefully many others. There were plenty of new directions hanging up in that convention center, and I can hardly wait to see what we all come up with next, thanks to this show!

Balancing Act by Amanda Hohnstreiter of My Sewcial Hour

In general, QuiltCon 2015 really was a whirlwind—with my teaching schedule, I barely had time to get through the entire show floor. I had literally NO time for shopping and came home without buying a single solitary thing (the horror!). And at times the show felt a bit too overwhelming and chaotic. The quilts were displayed in pod-like groupings, instead of in rows, and I really wish it would have been set up in rows, so I could have gone through it more methodically. All the beautiful colors and designs are distracting enough as you're walking through—I tried several times to get through the whole show and hit areas I had previously missed, but somehow there were still whole sections of the show that I never saw (including the Gee's Bend quilts).

Lovely Fishbourne by Mandy Leins of Mandalei Quilts (I liked Mandy's "Egg and Dart" quilt that was in the show even more than this one, but my picture of it is terrible, sorry!)

So I'm going to wrap up this post with photos of a few more personal favorites from the show. I really wish I would have gotten better photos, but .... yeah, whirlwind again. : ) Enjoy, and if you're thinking about attending Pasadena in 2016, well, book your hotel right now. If not sooner. LOL.

Modern Lily Bean by Claire Jain of Sewing Over Pins (I love how this one looks like Pyrex!)

Iceberg by Crystal McGann of Raspberry Spool

Percolate by Emily Cier of Carolina Patchworks

Upstairs by Kristen Lejnieks

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Home Again

So, as you may have guessed, I'm home from Austin. To summarize, QuiltCon was inspiring and exhausting and exhilarating and draining and wildly colorful and ADHD and OMG it was all the things. It's like when you look at the sun for too long, and then when you close your eyes, crazy colors and patterns are still there—I think I still see a bazillion quilts every time I close my eyes. More processing (and more catching up on sleep) will be required before I can write a blog post, basically. So stand by for that.


Blocks from my Advanced Piecing classes (pattern can be found in my book, Vintage Quilt Revival)

And of course, I didn't actually sew a single thing this week! But it's Wednesday, and I can't leave you guys hanging! So let's have some WIP Wednesday action anyway.

This week's WIP Wednesday is sponsored by the always-delightful Canton Village Quilt Works. As always, Canton Village offers an impressive range of Kona solids at great prices. Canton Village also offers some amazing Australian fabric!



GIVEAWAY: This week, Canton Village is kindly offering a $30 gift certificate for you all. Woot!

GET 10% OFF ANY PURCHASE: Just use the promo code freshlypieced10 at checkout to get 10% off any order all week long. Yay!

To enter the giveaway, do any or all of the following (each gets you one chance to win):
1. Comment on this post
2. Post a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #wipwednesday
3. Link up your own WIP Wednesday blog post or Instagram photo belowi

LINK-UP RULES:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag #wipwednesday
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Off to Austin

Good morning! I'm off to Austin today for QuiltCon, but before I go, let's squeeze in a little WIP Wednesday!

Of course, my WIPs this week were all QuiltCon-related. But I got plenty of fun demo blocks together for my Off the Grid class.

And as I write this, my suitcase is still a work-in-progress. This was taken before I even packed any clothes. LOL.

Don't forget, I'll be Instagramming from QuiltCon, so follow me on IG if you want to see it all unfold. And of course I'll be doing a blog post or two about it when I return, so stay tuned for that. 

This week's WIP Wednesday sponsor is Fat Quarter Shop

Fat Quarter Shop just announced two new books that will be released in the spring—Winter Wonderland by Sherri Falls and Farm Girl Vintage by Lori Holt. Farm Girl Vintage includes full instructions for 45 sampler blocks in two sizes each, plus 14 project patterns, which sounds like a pretty excellent buy from an amazing designer! Both books are currently available for pre-order.

GIVEAWAY: This week, Fat Quarter Shop is kindly offering a $25 gift certificate to TWO lucky readers! Drown your #notgoingtoquiltcon sorrows in free fabric! 

To win, do any or all of the following (each gets you one chance to win):
1. Comment on this post
2. Post a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #wipwednesday
3. Link up your own WIP Wednesday blog post or Instagram photo below

And even if you're not in Austin, you can still join a quilty community right here with WIP Wednesday!

LINK-UP RULES:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag #wipwednesday
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!


Monday, February 16, 2015

QuiltCon FYI

You guys! I'm getting excited about QuiltCon now! Up until now, I've just been feeling the stress of preparing for the classes I'm teaching, but now that most of the prep work is done, I'm starting to really look forward to it. Anyway, if you will also be at QuiltCon, I have a few things to share:

First, Faith Jones and I will be signing books in the Sew Much More Bernina booth, booth #507, on Friday at 3 p.m. Come meet Faith and me, and score signatures of two out of three Vintage Quilt Revival authors. (You'll just have to track Katie down somewhere else—we'll miss you, Katie!)

Second, I'm honored to have four quilts hanging in the QuiltCon show. They are, clockwise from top left, Freeflow (quilted by Anne Books), Sugar Snow (from Vintage Quilt Revival, quilted by Krista Withers), Chandelier, and Wavelength. My Terrazzo quilt will also be on display in the Free Spirit booth on the show floor. Look for them as you're walking the show!

Finally, keep an eye out for me if you're doing the #quiltconpinswap, because I've got pins for swapping! Stop me anywhere to swap—and introduce yourself while you're at it! The more I think about this Pin Swap idea, the more I love it, because it gives people an excuse to interact. I know it can be intimidating to just walk up and introduce yourself to someone out of the blue—it's like the equivalent of cold-calling in sales. : ) This takes the pressure off, which is pretty awesome. If you want to know more about the Pin Swap, check the hashtag to admire the pins people are swapping.

See you in Austin!

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Disclosures

In addition to my paid sponsors, I sometimes accept free fabric, notions, or tools in exchange for posting about it on this blog or my other social media platforms. But I pledge that this practice will never change one of my product reviews or lead me to use fabric or other items that are not "my style."

I also am an Amazon Affiliate and receive compensation for items ordered via my Amazon links.

Copyright and Permissions FAQ

Can I make a quilt that looks just like one of yours? Of course! You don't need my permission for that. But remember, it's polite (and helpful to others) to credit your source of inspiration.

Can I share one of your photos on my blog or website? Probably! But please contact me for permission first. Use of my photos for commercial purposes is prohibited.

Can I pin your photos to Pinterest? Yes, please do! I love Pinterest!

Can I sell individual items made from your tutorials or patterns? Yes! But please don't open a factory and start churning out hundreds of them. : ) And please do not reproduce or sell the patterns or tutorials themselves. Thank you!