Saturday, February 28, 2015

Texas Fam and Friends

We usually visit Austin a couple times a year to see our son, DIL, and two grandsons, so with QuiltCon in Austin, the whole trip was especially nice because we could visit and stay with family. What I didn't expect that it was difficult to divide my time between family and QuiltCon! Guilt when away from family, and wondering what I was missing out on when I wasn't at QuiltCon!

One of the most fun times with family was giving Austin his Star Wars quilt. He and his mom both loved it.

The glow-in-the-dark feature of the fabrics "worked" really well!

Austin is a lot like his dad as a kid, spending hours playing with Legos. Austin has a nice set-up in his bedroom that little brother LJ can't get to.

Austin, playing while waiting for a table at Salt Lick

You might not believe me when I tell you that LJ, at nearly 14 months, is very opinionated! 

LJ, and our sweet DIL, Lyn
On Saturday (I didn't attend QuiltCon that day), we drove to Blanco, Texas, for an arranged meeting at a restaurant with long-time Iowa friends we hadn't seen for at least 15 years. Greg and Patti moved permanently to Texas last year where they are enjoying retirement near their two sons and families. 
Greg, Patti, me, Dan - Now
Greg (left) and Dan were close friends who attended and graduated in 1970 from Mason City High School (Iowa) high school. 

Greg and Patti, in about 1972 - Mason City, Iowa - Then
I came to know Greg and Patti through Dan, and we were in their 1973 wedding. Patti and I were both pregnant with our firsts at Christmas, 1975. Blaming our conditions on our spouses, we pointed accusing fingers at them. 

Oh, my bouncing hair!

This year, their Jason and our Jill will be 39 years old! 

All in all, this was a very exiting trip to Texas. What with QuiltCon, spending time with family, meeting up with old friends, topped by a first time meet-up with Karen in Pensacola as we were on our way home, that one week was packed with fun! And completely heart-warming. Linda

Friday, February 27, 2015

QuiltCon: Post Three

These last three days of reviewing QuiltCon have been good for me... thinking about the whole experience, and particularly about the quilt judging. Many of you have commented about it too, reflecting my thoughts: Why does it seem that straight line quilting was rewarded, and others overlooked? What were the judges looking for?

I can speculate all I want, and still won't ever hear the answers. But it's possible that the judges had a strategy. Perhaps they meant to:
  1. Reward quilts that adhere to the modern quilt aesthetic, focusing on simple and minimal quilt design elements, and those included simple and minimal quilting patterns. These quilt characteristics are in keeping with the definition of a modern quilt.
  2. Encourage new quilters to stretch themselves. A new quilter who has straight-line quilted her own a quilt (rather than send it out to be long arm quilted by someone else) has put herself into her creation. Then, entering that quilt in a show is another way to try something they've not done before.
None of the three judges were certified quilting judges. They were: 1) Carolyn Friedlander, a fabric and pattern designer, and teacher; 2) Janine Vangool, publisher, editor and designer of Uppercase magazine; and 3) Stevie Graves, a quilter since 1975 who is the Road to California quilt show judging coordinator, and president of the International Quilting Association.

It was disappointing to see few quilts with interest quilting. I'm not the only one who noticed. I've read many comments about it on Instagram, and KathleenQuilts posted about it from her longarm quilter perspective.

Suffice it to say, the judging criterion (and judges' comments) for QuiltCon were definitely not those of a typical national quilt show.

And, in other randomness...

In the minimalist design category was this beauty called "Modern Mojo 2" by Linda Thielfoldt, of Troy, Michigan. She's a DAM girl! Ha, ha. A member of the Detroit Area MQG.

Linda did a super quilting job of this one. I couldn't help but admire the detail.

Fabulous, isn't it? No surprise... when I Googled Linda's name, her longarm quilting business came up. A study of that quilting, and I just knew it was longarm quilted. Still, it's similar to the "elaborate" quilting I strive for, though I have never quilted as densely as this.

Another Instagram point of discussion has been about the predominance of quilts using solids. Again, quilts with solids, or mostly solids, received the awards. Makes one wonder how it is that so many print fabrics are being sold, and presumably used in quilts, and those quilts weren't juried into QuiltCon. An exception is our "Ad Libbing" quilt with it's print improv blocks.

On Sunday afternoon, another mostly solids and low volume quilt was awarded $1000 as the People's Choice winner. "Quilt for our Bed" was made by Laura Hartrich. The back of the quilt is as graphic as the front.

Throughout the four days of QuiltCon, ongoing demonstrations were offered at one of two locations in the hall. In this demo by Latifah Saafir (she's one of the two founders of the MQG), she first demonstrated how to piece both small and large curves to make half circles, and then how to sew a complete circle! You know... a circle inside a circle. It was interesting to see how easy she made it look. Good information here, and all of it free!

A few interesting stats that were presented during the Sunday afternoon MQG general meeting:
  • membership grew 600 percent from 2013 to 2014 
  • 8161 members worldwide as of December 31, 2014 
  • 95 percent of all pre-structure MQG chapters have now affiliated with national
  • 139 local chapters (Our Central Florida MQG chapter became official in late January, 2015.)
  • 2785 individual members
  • membership represents 50 states; 32 countries; and 6 continents
On Saturday and Sunday of the show, my Riley Blake Challenge quilt, "Dandelion Clock" was displayed in the MassDrop booth. For bringing my quilt in, and picking it up, MassDrop thanked me with a bundle of a dozen Birch fabric (organic) fat quarters. Nice! 

I couldn't leave Austin without getting barbecue one time. The fam went to dinner at Salt Lick in Driftwood, and after a two hour wait (no kidding!) for a table I got my one pound of pulled pork. I'd like to brag and say I ate it all, but I couldn't manage it. But at least three-fourths disappeared!

Have you ever seen such a thing as this? It's called a Pub Crawler, and is powered by people sitting on bar stools pedaling while they drink! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it - traffic was heavy in downtown Austin too!

And speaking of pedaling... these were just outside the convention center doors. Demand for quick (or not-so-quick) bicycle transportation must be such that someone decided it was worthwhile to offer them for rent. 

Over two days, we drove back home in cool temps and rain most of the way. An overnight in Pensacola was the perfect opportunity for one more meet up with long-time blog friend, Karen of NanaGirlQuilts. She's a domestic machine quilter too, and we've been following each other for several years, thanks to an introduction by Lollyquiltz. Karen and I have FaceTimed on several occasions, consulting about our quilts, but meeting in person over dinner at Cheddar's was the best. We shared quilty talk - happily, she's gradually inching her way toward more modern quiltmaking - and other mutual interests that make for lively conversation. Quilty friends already know I have no problem "keeping it lively!"

So to wrap-up, QuiltCon was a fabulous show that I would recommend to all quilters. I know and appreciate that a lot of people worked hard to make it happen, and that without the dozens of volunteers, it wouldn't have been such a nice show. While parts of it weren't what I expected or hoped for, I'm still grateful that I had the chance to attend and participate.

QuiltCon 2016 is in Pasadena, California; and, QuiltCon 2017 is in Savannah, Georgia. I'm aiming to attend in Savannah. Let's plan to meet-up! Linda

Thursday, February 26, 2015

QuiltCon 2015: Post Two

These are QuiltCon statistics shared at the awards ceremony Thursday morning: 

1350 quilts were entered in the show; 359 were accepted
Attendees came from 48 states - no quilters from North Dakota or Wyoming
Attendees came from 6 countries - two quilters traveled 3000 miles, from India
The largest number of QuiltCon chapter attendees were from the Austin MQG

QuiltCon isn't only about quilts, it's about people. And since socializing is right up my alley, it was easy to engage in conversation with lots of quilters. What surprised me most was strangers who saw my name badge and exclaimed, "Oh! You're Flourishing Palms! I follow your blog!" Or "I follow you on Instagram!" Hugging everyone became the norm!

There was Chris of New York City, the_tattooed_quilter

Mary Ann of MAQuilts and Monica of ButtonCounter from Austin. I expect to see them again, whenever we visit Austin. 

Karen from California, CapitolaQuilter
Karen of CapitolaQuilter, California

KathleenQuilts from Canada, a longarm quilter whose amazing quilting I admire. Check out that cute aqua hair!

Below: RenĂ© (on the left) who lives in Orlando and is founder of the Orlando MQG, and I met for the first time at QuiltCon. We kept meaning to get together, over the past 2-1/2 years since I moved to Florida, but never made it happen.

Shruti (middle) of 13WoodhouseRoad and I met at the awards ceremony. She's one of the two quilters who traveled from India. Shruti is a Bernina ambassador in her country. 

Mid-Century Modern Bee'ers met-up again. L-R: René; me; Anne; and Cindy. Great quilters, and even better friends.

Mid-Century Modern Bee-ers at the Moda party.
L-R: me; Elizabeth; Elizabeth; Anne; and Cindy

By the way, this is how some quilters at the Moda Party returned to their motels! It's called a pedi-cab.

At the show, in the vendor area, you could ride this sewing machine in the StitchLab booth. Yee haw!

Lora and I hung out with Florida girl, Vanessa of CraftyGemini. She's uber-talented and fun to be around... if you don't mind waiting while her adoring fans demand pictures with her! Check out Vanessa's latest video with Jenny Doan of Missouri Quilt Company

And in no particular order are pictures of more modern quilts...
Pantone's 2013 color of the year, Emerald, by Alys Gagnon
"Infinite Whispers" by Jennifer Chon, SunnyinCal
"Spiraling Out of Control" by Christa Watson, ChristaQuilts, of Las Vegas
I saw this quilt hanging in the AQS Paducah show last spring... and got the chance to interview Christa about it!
"Pixelated Pinwheels," a Do.Good.Stitches bee quilt from New Hampshire
"Tidy Town" by Andrew Steinbrenner, Ohio

"The White Quilt" by Shannon Page, Dallas, Texas
by Canadian, Marianne Haak
"Bauble" by Emily Cier; quilted by Angela Walters
"The Definition of a Stitch" by Australian, Sarah Fielke
"Geometric Circles" by Nicole Daksiewicz, ModernHandcraft, Chicago
"Balancing Act" by Amanda Hahnstreiter
A Judge's Choice winner by Emily Coffey, North Carolina
"Flame" by Rebecca Bryan, BryanHouseQuilts, Wildwood, Missouri
"Sherlock" (Benedict Cumberbatch) by Kristy Daum
I didn't take any classes, but the room set-ups looked fabulous! This one was full of 750 Berninas!

Peeked into this classroom and saw both Jacquie Gering and Lee Heinrichs teaching. 

More tomorrow! Linda


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