Oh, yeah. My take on QuiltCon.

Quiltcon Stats

This popped up in my email one morning, and it about wraps it all up, as far as I’m concerned.  No, I never met Claudia, but I did meet a few other fine quilters, including some from different countries than California.  (That was a joke, people.)

LorenaLoriSqueak

Since it’s been over a month since QuiltCon, I thought I should get around to writing about my impressions.  The show was held in Pasadena, California and the Registration Desk, Vendor Mall, part of the quilt show, and lecture room were in one building.

QuiltCon bannersAcross the courtyard was a large older room with high clerestory windows (building behind these banners) where the rest of the quilts were, and to the other side of that, was the building where the classes were held. While pretty close together, I did miss Austin’s intimacy, but the great part about being here was that the weather was unseasonably warm which made everyone except those Californians happy (we want rain).

Silliest moment for me:

Bacon Brownie

Hollering Polo! to Eileen’s (@luckycharm93635) Marco! as we bumbled out of the restaurant after topping off our 50/50 burgers with a bacon-brownie.  And yes, we did the Marco! Polo! thing all conference long, whenever we’d see each other.

(I’m behind the camera)

Moment when I realized that none of us quilters ever charge enough for our quilts:

MakerMakingLiving

When, during our From Maker to Making a Living class, I glimpsed the majesty of Jacqueline Sava’s spreadsheets and listened to her funny and wonderful stories about making a living.  She’s the SOAK lady, and to support her, I went down to the selling floor and bought a bottle of Flatter, in the Fig flavor.  So so yummy-smelling and it works, too.  A whiff of it and it brings back that class and the belief that I, too, can be as successful as she is.  Kidding.

Moment when I realized that I’ve missed mucking around in paint all my whole life:

BlockPrintingBlockPrinting Paints

In Lizzy House’s block printing class.  Even though I was beyond tired (and I’m pretty sure she was too), we had a great class of doodling, carving, printing, sharing.  This was my last class of QuiltCon, and after this, I met up with Lisa and Simone and we drove the 90 minutes home.  We’d stayed for two days and two nights, beginning with an early morning (up at 4:30 a.m.) on Thursday, and ending Saturday night.

Moment when I realized that my QuiltCon experience had shifted from taking classes, to hobnobbing with the Women of QuiltCon:

QuiltConLunchAmara

This is the only photo I have of me ( at the end of the table, nearly on Lorena’s lap) and Lisa (third down on the right, with glasses and blonde hair) and Simone (second down on the right, with brown hair).  The rest of the time we passed like ships in the night, or sat next to each at lectures.  I met several quilters I’d only followed on blogs or on IG, and deepened friendships with many of these fine women.

Moment when I realized that quilting connections could be made from other subjects:

Lecture Notes

Simone’s notes from Victoria Findlay-Wolfe’s lecture

One of the highlights for me at QuiltCon this year were the lectures, and Bill Kerr’s lecture in particular.  I filled pages of notes of him talking about the branching connections we make from the choices that come into our creative lives, and he used Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes around Chicago as an example.  Victoria’s lecture was also good, as were Luke Haynes (I wish I could have gone out to see his exhibit of fifty log cabin quilts) and others.  Usually I hit the vending floor’s mix of lectures, but hardly made it to any this year, and the ones I did, I thought sounded like commercials.

And in other ways (witness my badge collection):

QuiltCon2016 buttonsQuiltConBag

Some QuiltCon eye candy is this tote bag and the signature quilt (hanging below).QuiltCon_quiltBestofShowRibbonFriedlanderapplique

Moment when I learned I should have left class at noon, like my buddy Martie did:

ImprovClass

This was in our third conference/discussion of the day in a class where I found I was more interested in learning about how to make a panorama photo on my iPhone, than in listening to the adroit conference/discussion by our very well-learned teacher.  When you know you are just done with a technique, it should be okay to go. The teacher was fabulous.  I wasn’t, obviously.  If I’d left, maybe I would have seen more of the quilts.

Moment when I realized that creativity was all around me, and I was slightly besotted by it all:

SewModernBooth

(That’s besotted using the archaic definition) Glimpsing the fabulous booth from our Los Angeles shop, Sew Modern.  That camper!

Moment when I found my personal Best of Show quilt, and wanted to grow up and be Yvonne Fuch (@quiltingjetgirl):

QuiltCon_FuchsQuilts

Happy Moment:

FocusQuiltinbooth

Lots and lots of them, but especially when I turned the corner and saw my quilt Focus in Paintbrush Studio’s booth.  Thank you Paintbrush!  It’s made from Paintbrush Studio’s line of solids, Painter’s Palette Solids, and I used the leftovers from making them a quilt for their booth at market, which will remain under wraps until then. (Well, okay.  Maybe just one sneak peek…)

SneakPeak Starry Compass Rose

Another set of happy moments was finding quilts in the show from people I knew, and also when Cindy Wiens showed me the quilt she’d made for Lucien fabrics, using another design of mine, Semaphore:

from LiveAColorfulLife’s blog

Yes, I couldn’t find the photo I’d snapped one late night in her room, so I borrowed this one from her website.  And here’s another of hers, hanging in the show:

QuiltCon2016_Wiens

Moment when I realized that I should skip going to Savannah-QuiltCon-East2017 and just stay home and sew:

QuiltConIG-5 QuiltConIG-1 QuiltConIG-2 QuiltConIG-3 QuiltConIG-4

When breezing through my Instagram feed, where I’d posted most of the quilts, and realized if I was ever to get a quilt in this show, I’d better stay home and get busy.  So next year, I’ll be at QuiltNon, home and grateful for the chance I had to go this year, and looking forward to QuiltConWest in 2018!

Final Thoughts:

Most of the quilts I found fascinating are on my Instagram feed, to the right.  Scroll back through the feed to see them, or follow me on Instagram (@occasionalpiecequilt) and see them that way.  Take screen shots of the ones you love, compile your own QuiltCon collection and use them to inspire you further!

Oktoberfest’s Blocks and Quilts and Plans

IMG_5162.JPGWhile I really love the festive cookies sold during Germany’s Oktoberfest, it’s the giant pretzels I really miss.

IMG_6234.JPGIMG_5545.JPG And who can forget the cute dirndls, wore by the most traditional Bavarian women? (I have three, all made by hand with fabric lugged home from Munich.)  But in honor of those weeks of partying they do in the Bavarian Alps, I’ve been partying here in my sewing room, finally gaining enough stamina to put in nearly a full day’s/several days’ worth of work.  In other words, it’s catch-up time.

Amber_before

A package of blocks from our Traveling Threads Bee finally caught up to me (we’ve had some delays) and I placed Amber’s blocks (she blogs at One Shabby Chick) all over my design wall to admire the handiwork of my beemates.  So often when I get a batch of blocks, I recognize that there is a different goal for those of us at the end of the bee.  Those at the beginning work on creating blocks and filling up the holes.  But if you are towards the end of the trading circle, a good look at the quilt is necessary, asking: what does this quilt need?  In this case, it needs some negative space, the hint given by that lone six-pointed appliqué star there on the turquoise background.

Starshine rays

The theme of this quilt is “I love you more than all the stars,” with the request to make pink stars on a range of blue backgrounds.  Amber also included this really cool lame cotton, which of course I couldn’t wait to use.  I kept singing the lyrics to Good Morning, Starshine in my head, and realized that’s where I needed to go.  So above, are three starshine blocks.Starshine on AmbersQuilt

I tucked them in around the edges of the quilt, pronounced it done, packed it up and mailed it off to the next partner in our bee.Detail Halloween Quilt 2015-2 Detail Halloween Quilt 2015

After two years of saving a few Halloween-themed Polaroid blocks, I pulled them out and put them into a random bordered square arrangement.  While I should be working on Halloween in March, or even April, I never feel like working on Halloween then.  Halloween Quilt 2015 Quilts for the Quilter

This, along with my basket quilt and another quilt Lisa and I finished for a friend, are now at the quilter’s.  Yes, I’ll enjoy my Halloween quilt NEXT Halloween.

Fabric for Halloween quilt

Except that there may be another quilt joining that one: this is our stack of fabrics from Primitive Gatherings quilt shop (and there are a few more from Temecula Quilt Company) that Leisa and I put together, so we can make this:

Halloween Quilt 1904

from the ever-talented Thelma, at Cupcakes ‘n Daisies

However I promised her we wouldn’t start on it until after the holidays, so the fabrics are stashed away until January.Alphabet to S

And I’ve made it up to T/t on my Quilt Abecedary project (T/t were too shy to pose for a photo).  Only a few more, then I’ll need to start really honing in on the theme of my quilt and what I want my Spelling Bee-mates to make for my quilt.  I’m first up in January, so I’d better get cooking.

And then after that finishes next year, I’m game to do another traveling bee.  And then after that. . .

It’s nice to be looking far forward once again, rather than just hoping I can make it through a day at a time.  I used to do quarterly goals for several online finishing collaborations, but have fallen out of the habit of looking ahead, bogged down as I was in this summer’s detritus of the here and now.  I still don’t fill up my schedule book too far ahead, not knowing if my stamina will hold out.

And does it really help to focus on your goals?  We’ll never quell that controversy, but according the article, How Goals and Good Intentions Can Hold Us Back on the 99u blog, focusing exclusively on your goals may “spoil your experience of the activities you’ll need to pursue.”  Even the first article linked above notes that “relentless fantasizing may actually reduce one’s odds of achieving goals.”  But, rather, “adopting the mind-set that your strengths and abilities are not fixed, but can improve over time and with effort, can have self-fulfilling results” (99u — always a good site for reading about this sort of thing).

For this reason, I’ve found often that reviewing my achievements often provides motivation to go forward, a sort of “I finished that one, now I can finish this” one sort of process.  Or I can say to myself, “I like the feeling of having completed this,” and enjoy the feeling like when I walked out of the post office yesterday, having mailed off a bee-mate’s package of blocks.

To close, here’s one two more thoughts:

make a plan

from here

but don’t forget to. . .Happy Things

I plan to quilt.

Post-QuiltCon Musings

QuiltCon Buttons

This was QuiltCon 2015.

Girl w Pearl Earring Selfie

No, wait.  This was QuiltCon.

QuiltCon Selfies 2015What was interesting was meeting people that had been 2D to me, through correspondence and jpeg images, and having them become 3D persons.  I think that was my favorite part of QuiltCon, and as you know, the one keeping me up at night before I went.

As Leisa and I (lowerest left photo) walked into the Convention Center to register, the first person we met was Susan Katz from Southern California (photo just to the right of that).  Then in the lowerest right photo, I met TaosSunflower.  She was in line ahead of me and I put the description she’d given me in a 2D world together with the elegant, tall woman that I glimpsed, and asked her name.  We left Flatland together and smiled and hugged and talked.  I met her nearly every morning for breakfast, as she was staying in my hotel, and feel like I’ve deepened the friendship that we’d established through our correspondence.  It was she who asked me one morning if I was almost through my “Flat Stanley phase.”  I laughed out loud, for it was a perfect description of what I’d been doing.

The thing is that people whose books I’ve purchased, people I’ve been reading, people whose blogs I’ve commented on and whose bees I’ve joined were all so accessible.  I’d never ask Alex Anderson or Ricky Tims (two traditional quilters) for a dual selfie, but I walked right up to Malka Dubrawsky and Heather Ross and asked them for one. . . and they happily smiled and posed.

I met other 2D quilters, and we again left Flatland as we figured out that we read each other on blogs, or knew of each other on Istagram.

QuiltCon2

Here are Cindy (LiveaColorfulLife), Anne (SpringLeaf Studios), me and Leisa.

Quiltcon3

The two tall women in the back are Nicole (MamaLovesQuilts) and Ginny (Minnowpeck).  They are who I’d invited to lunch, along with the cute short quilter in the back, Christa (ChristaQuilts). I’d met Heidi (front left) in class on that first day, and I already knew Cindy (center).

QuiltCon4

That luncheon swelled to ten happy quilters.

QuiltCon5

And. . . this was QuiltCon.

I hadn’t seen many of the quilts from the 2013 version, and was curious at what was there, what was deemed to be “modern,” since no one really knows, or could seemingly articulate.  I was happily surprised.  I think we’ve all conquered the deconstructed Log Cabin or Square in a Square, as there were several of those, so it’s probably time to move on from that block.  And I glimpsed another faction within this faction, shown in the photo above, as the modern-traditionalists are on one side of the floor, and the modern-moderns are on the other.

I’ve been putting the photos of the quilts up on my Instagram (button to the right), blowing up my children’s feeds in the process, and still have quite a few to post.  But I wanted them up there for others who were in my position last time–so they could see the quilts that made it in.  To be truthful, there were a few I would pull out and put in some of those QuiltCon rejects.  (You know I’ll write about them in the days to come.)  But for the most part, I was happy to see such fine quilts of such high quality.

Sewing at CS BoothThis was QuiltCon.

This felt different than a “regular” quilt show, as there were many vendor booths with things to do, such as the Cotton and Steel Booth, above, where I sewed a patchworky square (okay–I confess–it was a wonky Log Cabin).  They also had many “Demos”: half hour (or shorter) talks from Famous Quilters.  Sometimes it was an out-and-out pitch for a product, but other times they talked about their process or their designs.

I enjoyed my classes, trying to find at least one thing that was new to me, and I really loved the lectures, proudly letting Bill Volkening know (he, of 1970s quilt-collection fame), that I made my first quilt in 1973, out of sheets, calicos and a poly-cotton blend solid.  I still have that quilt (and perhaps moderns would like to know that even though I pressed the seams to one side, all the seams are now flat flat flat after so many years).  I laughed and smiled through the Luke Haynes lecture (where someone really did ask him how often he changed his needle), and was fascinated by what Bill Kerr had to say about noticing details.

I met Claire, another digital pen-pal of mine and regretted terribly that I didn’t get a selfie of us together.  Next time, Claire.  Maybe even in Pasadena in 2016?

I realize that I may have participated in something that cannot ever be duplicated, as they are now splitting the convention into two geographical halves: Pasadena in 2016 and Savannah in 2017.  And I’m a bit saddened by that.  Austin is pretty darn perfect for this sort of thing, with good hotels with close proximity to the convention center, delicious food in the restaurants (we never ate the same place twice), terrific vendors  and superb lighting for all the quilts.  But it was the mix of quilters and Famous People who were happy to talk to you and visit with you that made it so enjoyable. I am looking forward to the West Coast version of QuiltCon in Pasadena, and maybe I’ll see more of you there.

Bring your buttons, and let’s trade.  Let’s leave Flatland together!

 

Happy Old Year Ending: 2014

I see wrap-up posts often on people’s blogs, and while I feel like my 200 Quilts List (above) is sort of a way to move through my quilts, I present, one more time, 2014’s quilts:

2014 Wrap-Up

One thing for sure, I certainly don’t work in a series, or make quilts that all look alike.

There is one more quilt that is not here which will show up in next year’s feed, although I count it as one of my fifteen quilts for this year.  What else have I been doing?

First Six BlocksSM

Circle Blocks.  The next one will arrive at the beginning of January.

Wrap-Up Bags 2014

How about some bags?  2014 seemed to be the year of making bags, including a Mini Sew-Together Bag and the dreaded/beloved Weekender Bag (I did my own version of this).

dresden plate_Opquilt

I snuck in one more Bee Block, a Dresden Plate block for Rene of Rene Creates.

Wrap-Up Other Sewing 2014

And the last things in the sewing categories were odds-and-ends and wonky, silly crows for a Halloween decoration.  We took a big trip to Croatia and Budapest, we ripped out lawn in our front yard and relandscaped for better water conservation, we visited children and grandchildren and parents and sisters and lots of other relatives.  It’s easy on those “don’t want to get out of your pajamas” days to think that you haven’t accomplished a thing.  But in these year-end reviews, I can see I’ve really given my sewing machine a work-out.

Happy Old Year Ending!

holliday-inn-1942-stars_11

Goals for Fall 2014

SeptDec2014 Goals

I used to belong to the FAL thing–“Finish A Long” and loved loved it.  But because of my personal lifetime karma of Never Winning a Prize, I decided that while it was still beneficial to make up goals, I just didn’t have to link into an enterprise to announce them.  It’s enough for me to use some colored pencils and write it out.  Here they are, in no particular order:

Sol Lewitt's Patchwork Primer

1. Finish quilting and bind the Sol Lewitt Patchwork Primer Quilt.  I started quilting this at our retreat in July, but it has sat for nearly a month now, partly because of LIFE and partly because I wasn’t sure I liked what I was doing.  If I had to rip it out, I only wanted to rip out a little bit.  Time to get it out, evaluate and finish it up.

Colorwheel Blossom Quilt Top

2. Quilt and bind and for-heaven’s-sake decide on a name for this.  It’s gone by Rainbow Blossom, Colorwheet Blossom, Colorwheel Petals, that iPhone Logo quilt and too many other names to mention.  I bought the thread at Superior Thread the last time we went through St. George so there should really be nothing holding me back (except: how do I quilt this thing?).

Reina Fabric

3. Create and cut out (at the very least!) my Mexican Day of the Dead quilt.  It would be a near miracle if this were actually DONE by the Dia de los Muertos, which is November 1st, but at least it made it onto the list again.
CrossX Quilt Blocks January2014

4. Oh, yeah.  This.  It’s was a cool swap I did with KristaStitched and the top is supposed to be done by September something-or-other (better go and look it up).  The other quilters in the group are going to be done, and I’ll still be lagging behind.

FrontSideYard Plans

5. Redo the front and side yard landscaping of our house.  Here is the *before.*  Stay tuned for the after, when they  will probably have to wrap me up and take me off to some quiet location, and feed me all forms of chocolate and Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls 24/7 until I recover.  (I’ve had Cinnabon on the brain lately.  Good thing they are far away.)  And yes, we’ve already made about 45 changes to the above plans, but it’s a good start.

I’ve added back in some of the usual need-to-be-finished culprits: 3 skirts, the Good Luck Quilt (which I can hardly remember what it is, but I do know where the fabric is), the QuiltCon Pastels challenge (which should be landing on my doorstep anyway).  And you know I’m just like you that I could probably rustle up about ten more projects to throw on this list, but I won’t.

TerrySteegmillerArt Heart(from *here*)

I’m hosting the Good Heart Quilters in a week for Quilt Night at my house on September 5th, Friday.  If you’re in the area, come and join us! (And Good Heart Quilters?  Can you RSVP and let me know how many are coming so I can set up enough tables? Thanks.)

Selvage Blocks Aug 2014

And I’ll leave you with this: my five completed selvage blocks.  I’m not in a rush on this project.  (Good thing.)  It’s nice to have something to pick up for those days my brain can’t handle one crisis.

Finally, some thoughts on finishing from here and there:

One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done. ~~Marie Curie

I really enjoy the finishing part of the painting process. It’s like performing the Beethoven Sonata when all the hard slog has been done to make it a possibility. ~~Leoni Duff

Ovid gets the last word:  Either do not attempt at all, or go through with it.

Inspiration. . . and a Giveaway!

{@IPTCcontent.headline}

Nancy Crow Crosses Info

In the book I just finished reading, Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon, he writes that “Nothing is original.”  He quotes Jonathan Lethem who notes that “when people call something ‘original,’ nine out of ten times they just don’t know the references or the original sources involved.”  And in our quilt world, I see this all the time manifest in the copyright squabbles, the this-is-my-original-pattern-syndrome and it’s only a variation of a log cabin, the insistence by some in the modern quilt movement that they dreamed it all up — this modernist stuff, without any regard for where the idea first surfaced. . . and then resurfaced.  When I see this stunning quilt by Nancy Crow, made when many young quilters’ parents had not even started dating, I think, as did Kleon when he quoted the Bible, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

But Kleon goes on to say that this idea fills him with hope, rather than despair:  “As the French writer Andre Gide put it, ‘Everything that needs to be said has already been said.  But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”  Kleon encourages us to note where our influences come from.  I say, if you don’t know about some of the earlier quilters, try heading to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum and browse for a while.  Take a look at these early masters and be inspired.

Steal-Like-an-Artist-Kleon

To inspire you, I’m giving away a copy of Austin Kleon’s book, a small little treasure, perfect for some end-of-summer reading.  To win a copy, leave me a comment below and include a source of inspiration, whether it be another quilter, a photograph, an image, nature or something else–something or someone that provokes or triggers your spark of creativity.  Rather than just saying “nature,”  or “Michael James,” try to be specific, such as “the moment the sun drops to the horizon” or “Michael James’ ‘Aurora’ in his early work”  so that we can learn from each other.

I’ll announce the winner on my next post, and send you a gift card from Amazon so you can order it yourself; for this reason, it will work for international as well as domestic. Have fun, everyone!  This post will close on Saturday morning.

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