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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Quiltcon wrap up

Stitch and Yarn's Quiltcon wrap up – was it worth it?
Do you know it's been a month since Quiltcon? I had planned to share more with you when I got back, but I went straight into a final production deadline in my real job and time has got away from me.

In some ways Quiltcon is like a quilt show you'd go to anywhere – a convention centre hung with lots of quilts, along with stallholders selling their wares. What made Quiltcon a stand out for me was that all the quilts showing were modern, most were made to hang on a wall rather than lie on a bed, and the inspiration I got from the quilts was mind-boggling.

Below is the first row of quilts you saw upon entering the show – the major award-winners. Best in show and so on – you can find the full list of award-winners here.
Stitch and Yarn's trip to Quilton – where the Blue Giant Quilt took out first place in the Handwork section. The pattern for the quilt is available from Etsy and Craftsy.
I arrived in Pasadena on Wednesday morning about 8am and realised I should have booked my hotel room for the day before as well to get some sleep. Thankfully the nice man at the front desk gave me a room straight away and I passed out for about five hours, having not slept at all on the flight from Sydney.

What made all the difference to my trip away was meeting some friendly faces on the first evening. Lorena Uriarte (pictured at front left), a regular Quiltcon attendee, arranged for all of us who had travelled from Australia to have dinner the night before Quiltcon started. It was so lovely knowing some people in the crowd during the following days.
A trip to Quiltcon – was it worth it? Click through to find out. Awards, lectures, quilts and more.
The next morning I attended the award ceremony. In truth, Quiltcon email you a couple of weeks beforehand to tell you that you've won something, but they don't tell you what and they swear you to secrecy. To win a first was a bit of a shock, especially with my first go at hand quilting. I spent the rest of the day in a bit of a daze. I got so much support from family and friends, my little online community, and people I'd only just met at the show, and, of course, it was amazing to be there in person. I was especially grateful to Sulky threads who sponsored the Handwork section. They made an effort to send a representative and also to give each of the winners in that category a collection of threads. Not every section had their sponsor attend, nor hand over something on the day and it wasn't quite the same for those winners when they got up on stage.
A trip to Quiltcon – was it worth it? Click through to find out. Awards, lectures, quilts and more.
After attending a lecture and having my photo taken in front of the Blue Giant by the Quiltcon photographer ('no' family, I still don't have the pic yet and I promise to share it when I do), I headed off to find my other quilt in show – 'What's your time worth?'. It's based on the background pattern of an Australian $50 note and is a comment on how little Australian artists earn from their practice. The note is pictured below.

A trip to Quiltcon – was it worth it? Click through to find out. Awards, lectures, quilts and more.
Quilts pictured left to right – Stephanie Skardal's maze quilt, 'Split' by Lee Sproull, 'Equality' by Carolina Oneto and 'What's your time worth?' by me.
In truth I probably could have made more of the lecture opportunities at Quiltcon, but after spending the whole day on Friday just looking at quilts, I couldn't sleep that night for the ideas whizzing around in my head. I honestly don't think I could have taken any more in.

The most memorable talk I went to was Jacquie Gering's 'Quilt as Desired'. I had bought her book 'Walk' a few months before the convention and it's been a real game-changer for me. Quilting was something I used to avoid but I'm also not a big fan of getting overly-detailed longarm quilting, so finding ways to get effects I liked on my home sewing machine has been a bit of a revelation. After the talk, I spent a lot of time looking at the quilting...

A trip to Quiltcon – was it worth it? Click through to find out. Awards, lectures, quilts and more.
Jacquie Gering's 'Division'
A trip to Quiltcon – was it worth it? Click through to find out. Awards, lectures, quilts and more.
Detail of 'Aura' by Nydia Kehnle
A trip to Quiltcon – was it worth it? Click through to find out. Awards, lectures, quilts and more.
Detail of the hand quilting on 'Strip Tease' by Jennifer Emry
A trip to Quiltcon – was it worth it? Click through to find out. Awards, lectures, quilts and more.
Detail of both hand and machine quilting on Diana Vandeyar's 'Grandmother's Life on Mars'
On the Saturday morning I did a volunteer stint and I'd absolutely recommend this for anyone attending Quiltcon. Not only do they need plenty of volunteers to run such a big event, but it's also a great way to meet people. My time went by in a flash greeting people at the doors. When this is what the queue looks like each morning you really have a lot of passes to scan!
So, was it worth getting on that plane? You bet! I probably wouldn't have had the same experience without the win, and I think if you're generally planning to go from Australia doing at least one day of workshops would be advisable, but for me, where I am right now in building my practice – it was perfect.

PS If you want to see more of the quilts check out my feed on Instagram or the #quiltcon2018 hashtag.

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