QuiltCon 2017: my experience

Guess what! I went to QuiltCon!

And it was amazing.

quiltcon-overhead

Overhead view of QuiltCon on Thursday – photo credit: @andrewjoslyn

This was my first time. The girls in my Quilt Guild talked me into signing up last summer and I’m so glad I did! Sign up was a bit of a catastrophe – the site crashed because so many people were trying to sign up so I didn’t get in until almost 30 minutes after registration opened. I wasn’t able to get the hand quilting workshops I wanted which was a bummer, BUT before sign-up had to be shut down for a few days, I was able to snag a spot in Violet Craft‘s paper-piecing workshop. 🙂

I’ve never been to a craft-centered conference so I only had professional conferences to compare to it and let me tell you – it was incredibly organized and even more professional than any of the professional conferences I’ve been to!

As if the workshops-selling-out-within-30-minutes-of-opening-half-a-year-before-the-actual-conference wasn’t proof enough, this conference is SERIOUS. The sewists in attendance are seriously passionate and so stinkin’ enthusiastic.

This was the best weekend I’ve possibly ever had (am I allowed to make that bold of a statement?). Being surrounded by makers who love sewing as much as I do and listening to the lectures, viewing all of the quilts on display and browsing the fabric, patterns, and supplies in the vendor booths was way too fabulous.

The event was held in Savannah, Georgia which was beautiful – and within driving distance {because my sister hasn’t had my nephew yet and it was super important I be able to escape if necessary – luckily that little nugget stayed put so his Aunt could nerd out all weekend long}. I wish I was able to plan a longer visit so I could’ve had time to explore the area.

Some members from our guild rented a house that was only about a mile from the Convention Center which was great. It was so fun to hear about the workshops and lectures the other ladies attended and see the fabric and patterns they picked up from the vendors or what they had made at the booths or in their workshops. Spending the weekend talking non-stop about sewing was just what I needed! I feel rested and rejuvenated and ready to tackle the crazy week ahead.

Thursday

The conference started on Thursday. I worked half a day so I arrived in the afternoon in time to browse the Quilt Show and a few vendors before the hall closed.

My friend Kristy greeted me when I arrived and gifted me this adorable lanyard to go with my nametag! I felt so fancy considering I wanted to sew myself something and ran out of time {despite the fact that I’ve been planning to attend since last summer..I obviously procrastinated a bit!}

badge

I owe Kristy a HUGE thank you. She prepared me for the registration process (without her I wouldn’t have realized I needed to be at.my.computer. the minute registration opened or I wouldn’t be able to sign up for anything!), she answered all my “what if” questions before the event (like: “will I be an outcast if I’m carrying an Adidas backpack instead of one I made myself?”), and guided me through the actual event so I knew where to find all the freebies and helped me spot all the famous sewing people. Everyone needs a friend like Kristy!

Okay, on to my experience…

I started my show experience at the Free Spirit booth where I made this pretty pin corsage!

free-spirit-pin

Wearing it made me feel like a beauty queen with a giant corsage. It was a really popular make-n-take so it was neat to see other’s versions throughout the weekend.

While zig-zagging through the vendors, I found a pillowcase kit that was just too cute to pass up! I’m not a huge fan of orange, but my friend Kristy pointed out that I could replace it with any other color from my stash [duh].

pillowcase-kit

I also spotted these adorable metal tags! I had fun digging through the packs and picking some out. They had them displayed on bags, but I think at least one of them will be going on a quilt. Aren’t they great?!

elkhorn-tags

The background is a fat quarter I got after doing Five Eight Seams‘ shop hop at QuiltCon.

I bought the kit and the tags from Elkhorn Quilt Company‘s booth.

I was almost done shopping until I ran across Patchwork Threads‘ booth. I spotted this shirt and knew I had to have it 😀

patchwork-threads-shirt

Friday

I took Violet Craft‘s Squirrel workshop in the morning. She generously allowed us to work on any of her paper-pieced quilt patterns during the workshop so I chose the Bunny from the Forest Abstractions Quilt pattern.

workshop-bunny-1a

I spy a Bunny ear!

I only finished 3 of the 13 pieces for the Bunny, but I’m optimistic about finishing him on my own! My plan is to use this Bunny in a quilt for the Hubs (which explains why I chose green rather than my usual florals 😉 ). I’m going to add some sashing to “frame” him off-centered towards the bottom of the quilt. I’d love to pretend I plan to make the full Forest Abstractions Quilt, but I don’t think I have the patience for that just.yet. I’m still dipping my toes into quilting 😉

workshop-bunny-2a

As my friend Nicole pointed out (she took Violet’s Stag class), the best part about Violet’s workshops was having the option to “splurge” [best $3 I’ve ever spent] on having Violet bring printed templates for you to use. I jumped on this offer and it was so worth it. It would’ve taken me so long to trace the templates and it definitely would’ve cost more if I had to go to a copyshop.

If you love the Bunny, you can find a quilt-a-long on Violet Craft’s blog HERE. Violet also recommended bookmarking this video tutorial she recorded with Man Sewing about paper-piecing. I’ll definitely be referring back to it as I finish up my Bunny block 🙂

After lunch, I roamed the Vendor Hall and Quilt Exhibit again. I wandered over to the Art Gallery booth with some friends and somehow won a half-yard bundle! I was thrilled – the colors in the bundle scream “Jordan!” so I can’t wait to decide on a pattern for them!

agf-bundle-prize-fri

The fabric is from the Pastel Thrift collection.

agf-bundle-3

Isn’t it beautiful?!

In the afternoon I attended Elizabeth Hartman‘s lecture titled “Selecting Fabrics and Colors for Quilts” I learned a lot about how to use colors and value {and got googly eyed over her flamingo quilt pattern}.

Saturday

sat-morning

I kicked off my last day at QuiltCon with a “Yoga for the Heart” class with Heidi Parkes. She is super talented and I had been hoping to get into her hand quilting workshop [no luck] so I was excitedly anticipating her yoga class. Wow. wow. wow. That might’ve been the best yoga class I’ve ever taken! I’m already planning the pitch to my guild to one day ask Heidi to come for a retreat {can you imagine a weekend of yoga and hand-quilting?! #DreamVacation}

After yoga I attended Mary Fons‘ lecture titled “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: A Brief History of the American Quilt” which totally lit me on fire. She encouraged everyone to “keep searching” to learn the story of quilts – in our families, in our communities, in the world…

I have a quilt that was sewn by my grandfather’s mother. My Dad had the quilt and when I offered to repair some of the torn pieces he told me to keep it {YAY}. I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t done the repairs I meant to have done by now, but I absolutely love the quilt. I took the quilt to a traditional guild that I am a member of and the quilt appraiser who was presenting that evening estimated it to be from the 1930s. My grandmother has told me a few stories about how her mother-in-law was part of a group that would work together to construct quilts. I plan to ask her more about the quilts in hopes of learning more about my history as well as the history of the quilts in our family (there are several more and they are all breathtaking!). I promise to share the stories with you as I learn them 🙂

Back to Mary Fons: She is probably the best presenter I’ve ever seen. I will definitely try to sign up for more of her lectures at QuiltCon 2019!

Friday night we went to dinner with a funny gal who works for Janome. My sewing machine has been in time out for a few weeks waiting on me to take it to be serviced. In the interim, my sister let me borrow her Kenmore machine. After switching over to my sister’s machine it became obvious that I’ve been struggling with my Brother machine for a while. The Kenmore is not any nicer, but it is in better shape (likely based on hours of use 😉 ). I’ve been tossing around the idea of upgrading to a “big girl” machine but I wasn’t sure I was ready. My fellow guild member who was friends with the Janome gal had already mentioned how much she trusts her so I didn’t think she’d steer me wrong. Having heard how great Janome machines are, I asked her advice on which machine was best for garment sewing. Without batting an eyelash she recommended the Skyline 7 and sealed the deal with “It’s the machine I’ve been waiting my whole life to be invented!” She told me more about it and then I played with it at Craft South‘s booth after my lecture on Saturday. It was mega-impressive. The Hubs had already encouraged me to take the plunge for a new machine – he’d even calculated a justified budget based on the number of hours I sew on average {he knows the way to my heart is through numbers}.

All that said, now I’m on a mission to reorganize [or just clean!] my sewing room so it’s up to par for MY NEW MACHINE. It’ll be here in a few days and I can’t unpack that beauty to the current state my room is in.

janome-skyline-7

The Janome Skyline 7 in the Craft South booth at QuiltCon

So stay tuned…and if you have any advice on working a Janome [specifically the S7], send it on! I am a bit nervous about the number of features and very much intimidated so wish me luck!

I’m planning a follow-up post to share with you some of my favorite quilts from the show. In the interim, you can view some of the quilts from the show in this album on my guild’s Facebook page.

{UPDATE: Part 1 and Part 2 of the quilts I fell in love with are posted}

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11 thoughts on “QuiltCon 2017: my experience

  1. So fun to hear your QuiltCon experiences! It was my first one as well and met all my expectations. Made me even more proud to be a quilter, surrounded by so many bright and energetic women, young and older! And congrats on your new Janome. I fell totally in love with the one I used in a class on Saturday and now have to figure out how/if I can justify pushing aside my current 3 machines for a new Skyline 7. Happy quilting!

    • So exciting! I’m counting down the days til Nashville in 2019! I’m glad you had a fun experience too!! 🙂 I love that you have 3 machines – I totally get the desire to collect & keep them! Luckily I found a coworker who is interested in learning to sew so I’m going to pass along my current machine to her (or else I would also keep collecting!) I’m giddy to see someone else taking up this hobby we love so much!

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