Friday, March 20, 2015

QuiltCon 2015 Wrap Up

The FreeSpirit team is back from QuiltCon 2015 and since we’ve just finished digging out of our inboxes we thought you might like an update on what we saw at QuiltCon in sunny and warm Austin, Texas.
We were so pleased with the attendance at this show and hope it will get better every year. This year there were attendees from 48 states, 15 countries and 109 modern quilt guilds – amazing! If you know someone from North Dakota and Wyoming tell them about QuiltCon 2016 so that all 50 states can show us what modern quilting means to them!

The show kicked off with the award ceremony honoring 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in 16 categories ranging from Applique to Improvisation (sponsored by FreeSpirit), and Group quilts to Youth quilts. Each winner had their quilt marked with beautiful handmade ribbons.
First place in Improvisation went to Nydia Kehnle from Monroe, New York with The Rabbit Hole by Nydia Kehnle. Her quilt started as a writer’s block exercise but once she saw the blocks on the wall she loved how beautiful they all looked together and then proceeded into “The Rabbit Hole.” Nydia was at the show and we just loved getting the chance to congratulate her in person for her amazing quilt. Just look at all the great texture that her matchstick quilting gives it!

Second place in Improvisation went to Serena Brooks from Los Angeles, California with Aleph Bet.

Third place in Improvisation was awarded to Tricia Royal from Chicago, Illinois with This Way.

The Quilting Excellence award, sponsored by Make it Coats was presented to Marla Varner from Sequim, Washington with Coral Reef. Varner says, “The vibrant colors of this bicolor quilt were the perfect canvas for dense hand quilting. The quilting is improvisational, with each block inviting me to play with unique designs featuring multiple thread weights and colors.”
After the awards ceremony it was off to peruse the show floor, attend panels, and participate in workshops and demonstrations. It’s obvious to us that the quilting community is hungry to learn more because each panel, workshop, lecture and demonstration that we saw was packed. We even had a chance to catch up with a few of our FreeSpirit designers in attendance including Anna Maria Horner and Denyse Schmidt!
Denyse was spreading her modern goodness by visiting with you, true FreeSpirits, in some of our retailers’ booths. And Anna Maria Horner kept busy with her creative workshops – spreading the love of quilting. 
Our own Nancy Jewell hosted a demonstration about using contemporary fabrics in modern quilts and had plenty of examples on hand for the audience to see up close and in person. You can check out an overview of her full presentation here. One of our favorite points in her presentation was that while there are rules that define “modern quilting” you shouldn’t be afraid to do what feels good to you – and that prints (both large and small) have a place in modern quilting, too.

We also took the opportunity to sneak away from the show for a bit to visit some local shops (when in Rome, right?). Shout out to Valli & Kim in Dripping Springs and to Stitch Lab in Austin for humoring us while we poked around for the afternoon. Both shops have so much character and absolutely beautiful fabrics.
QuiltCon really energized our spirit to create - we had a great time and hope you did too. We loved meeting everyone and hope that in 2016 we’ll get to meet even more of you! If you’re hungry to see all of the winners and find out more about the show you can find a full list on the Modern Quilt Guild blog.
Now, tell us – did you go to QuiltCon? If not, are you thinking about attending in 2016 or 2017? What is your favorite modern quilt?
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