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I’m Teaching at QuiltCon

Did you all see the Modern Quilt Guild’s big announcement? I am so excited that I will be teaching at QuiltCon in Austin in February 2015, and thrilled to be in such good company. Yeah, that’s my picture right there next to Anna Maria Horner’s. No big deal. LOL.
You can see the full list of teachers right here. Really looking forward to seeing the quilters of Gee’s Bend in the keynote address!

Can’t wait to tell you all more about my workshops, but in the meantime, I hope to see you in Austin!

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QuiltCon Wrap-Up

So, QuiltCon. Wow. What can I say that hasn’t been said already? What can I show you that you haven’t already seen?

I’ll tell you what. Let’s keep it simple.

Here are some of my favorite moments:

Walking down Sixth Street in Austin with Kim, Faith, and a quilt. These two ladies are a riot. I couldn’t have asked for better companions for a walk down Austin’s weirdest street. (If only Katie and Sukie had been there!) Stop by Kim’s blog to read about our adventure. : )

“Quilting the Negative Space” with Angela Walters. Although I need a lot of practice at most of the designs Angela taught us, I’m looking forward to renting the long-arm at my local quilt shop and trying out some of my new skills.

Katie and I running into Jay McCarroll at the elevators of the hotel. I’m a huge Project Runway fan, and nothing can ever top Season 1 in my book, so chatting with Jay like he was “just” another blogger was surreal and kind of a blast. It was all I could do not to be a fangirl and accost him for a picture, but I’m glad we opted for a chat about Katie’s quilt instead. : )

Seeing this beautifully-styled shot of my prize-winning Lifesavers quilt in the EZ Quilting booth. I’m still blown away by the reception this little quilt has gotten out there in the world!

Laughing with my roommates Katie and Faith in our hotel room at the end of each day.

Top left: zigzigzag by Allison Chambers; Top right: 2+2 by Colleen Wooten; Bottom left: Neutral and Neon by Latifah Saafir; Bottom right: Big Love by Nova Seals 

Taking in the quilts at the show by myself, and just thinking about design. The Modern Traditionalism category might always be what feels like my “home,” but the graphic designer in me was bowled over by many of the more minimalist quilts in the show. My biggest take-away from QuiltCon is that I want to work on combining the Modern Traditionalism genre that I love with a more minimalist, pure-design aesthetic that appeals to me so much on a visual level.

Hand-quilted Single Girl quilt by Denyse Schmidt

Seeing Denyse Schmidt’s quilts, listening to her keynote speech, and thinking about how much her creative journey has affected my own. Would I have found my way to quilting without her? Hard to say. About ten years ago, I had never sewn a stitch in my life and had given exactly zero thoughts to quilting, when I saw a spot about Denyse on Martha Stewart Living. The moment I saw Denyse’s bold, graphic quilts, it hit me like a ton of bricks: I have to learn how to do that. Almost at the exact moment I had that thought, another emotion crept in: Who are you kidding? You will never learn how to do that. You don’t know the first thing about sewing. Figuring it all out would be a monumental task. But this weekend, I found myself face to face with the very quilts that inspired me to take up this hobby—and my own quilts were hanging just a few rows away, in the same show.

So QuiltCon reminded me that nothing is too monumental. Just ask the Modern Quilt Guild board members who for months poured their hearts and souls into planning this incredible event. Ask the attendees, who came from all over the country and the world just for this. The excitement and inspiration was palpable in Austin last weekend. I feel like modern quilting is truly on the verge of something big, and I’m just so very happy to be a part of it.

Thank you to all of the organizers and volunteers for putting on such an amazing event! And thank you to my wonderful husband for holding down the fort while I was gone. I can’t wait for 2015.

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A Prize For Me and a Prize For You!

Good morning! I’m totally on a post-QuiltCon high today. So many great things happened to me in the past week, I can hardly count them all, but let’s start with this:

First place at QuiltCon! : )

My Lifesavers quilt took first place in the Modern Traditionalism, Small Quilts category. To think that this little quilt would rank up there with the other amazing work on display at the show is honestly a dream come true for me. Not only that, but my prize was … wait for it … $500. All this from my first quilt show. Wow. It’s overwhelming! To see more QuiltCon winners, Leanne has a post up, and Christa has posts here, here, and here.

I’ll have a full report on QuiltCon in the next few days, but in the meantime, let’s celebrate with a giveaway. How about another copy of Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe? Just comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of the book from Martingale, which includes my Candy Necklace quilt pattern.

 

Candy Necklace in the book!
I’ll announce the winner on Thursday. In the meantime, have a wonderful week!
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WIP Wednesday: Ready, Set, QuiltCon

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So many exciting things in the works around here! Most of them don’t directly involve sewing, but still. : )

For one thing: QuiltCon! I leave bright and early tomorrow! I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. I’ve been watching all the prep work going down via Instagram. That, plus the negative-10-degree wind chill we had here today, makes me want to leave for Austin right this minute! Although, since I’m not even close to being packed, I guess it’s a good thing I’m not.

Anyway. In addition to getting ready for QuiltCon, a major WIP is getting underway today at our house: We’re remodeling two of our three bathrooms. When we bought this house, we knew it would be a full redo, and that it would take us a long time to get to all of it. More than eight years later, these two bathrooms are among the last things on the list!

In honor of this momentous occasion, I have a special treat for you all today: The ultimate bathroom “before” pictures, taken before we moved into the house eight years ago. These pictures were taken during our walk-through right before we closed, so please note that the knick-knacks and foofaraw are totally not mine.

Powder room:

Downstairs powder room - before

Behold the glory of the seashell-shaped sink. A seashell-shaped sink in a stained, fake-marble countertop, with the most outrageously overdone and tacky faucet since Versailles got indoor plumbing.

Upstairs guest/kid bathroom:

Upstairs bathroom - before

Sadly, this picture doesn’t adequately capture the fact that the flowered wallpaper was also ON THE CEILING.

We’ve obviously made a few minor changes since these photos were taken. : ) Things like taking down the wallpaper from the ceiling. (That was a fun couple of days.) But you guys, I’ve hated that seashell sink for eight years! Seashell sink meets dumpster today. And I arrive in Austin tomorrow. That’s a pretty good week in my book.

Oh yeah … I did some sewing too. : ) These blocks are for my new pattern, which will hopefully be out in the next few weeks.

Can’t wait to see some of you in person at QuiltCon. For those who won’t be there, I’m sure I’ll be Instagramming like crazy, so you can follow the action there, and I’ll be back with a full report on the blog next week.

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Modern Mirage Quilt

Modern Mirage

Well, I made it! I completed my new quilt in time to enter it into the Quilt Con show, and with a few hours to spare, no less.

Quilt Con quilt
It was not without its challenges. This quilt fought me tooth and nail into existence. First of all, piecing it was a BEAST. I knew extreme accuracy was going to be crucial, so I paper-pieced some of the small units, but when it came time to do the traditional piecing, it was still tough to get all those seams and points lined up. I didn’t count the number of times I had to tear out stitches and re-do, but I can assure you it was a lot. The top took forever!

Modern Mirage
Then, I started quilting it by outlining the vertical wavy pattern the design makes between the stars. But straight-line quilting isn’t my strong suit, and this type of quilting was kind of straight-line plus. Straight enough to require a walking foot, but with some turns that were so slight, it was hard to decide whether to turn as sharply as possible or to make it more curvy and flowing. And it ended up looking like a mish-mash of both. : ) So after four rows, I decided to change strategies and do loose wavy lines instead. That meant all the previous quilting stitches had to come out. You should have seen my family room yesterday. It was seriously covered in all these tiny little pieces of thread! Ugh!

Then, just because I apparently needed an extra challenge, when I finished my wavy line quilting yesterday morning, I turned over the quilt and found this—a huge crease on the back! Really??? The feeling when you work your butt off and then discover something like that is The. Worst.

This was my first real spray-basting fail. For some reason the 505 I use just didn’t seem all that sticky this time around. After basting, I noticed I didn’t have to clean up nearly as much overspray residue as I usually do—I guess that should have been a warning sign. Then the whole back of the quilt seemed to come loose during quilting. It’s totally weird, I’ve never had that happen with 505. Maybe I didn’t shake the can enough? It was a new can, so I hope the entire thing isn’t defective. Or worse yet, that there’s been some sort of formula change. Anybody have a similar problem with 505 lately?

(Updated to add: I just heard from my friend Katie at Swim Bike Quilt that she often has basting problems with Art Gallery fabric—and that is exactly what I used on the back of this quilt. Ironically, I think it’s the fact that Art Gallery is so high-quality and has such a nice sheen to it that accounts for this problem—spray-basting doesn’t work on voiles either, probably for the same reason. But at any rate, if you’re using a lot of Art Gallery fabric in a quilt, be aware that you may want to pin-baste.)

So I ripped out 5 more rows of quilting and re-did it all, and finally finished the quilt with no further incidents at around 3 p.m. Whew. So here it is—I’m calling it Modern Mirage. I entered it in the “Modern Traditionalism” category, which is the category I was most excited to see included in the show.

Modern Mirage
The design originally started with a variation on a traditional star block. I set that on point and liked the vaguely “Storm at Sea” feel it gave to the quilt. To modernize it, I gave the design some negative space on each side, but off-center (because I love me some off-center designs!). Then, when I was playing around with the colors, I came up with this palette, which gives it sort of a transparency effect, and I loved it! And I thought the wavy line quilting added sort of a “heat-haze” feeling, so that’s where the “Mirage” name came from.

For those who have asked about a pattern—um, we’ll see. : ) I have to admit, I’m a little sick of this design at the moment! It would be quite the complicated pattern to write up, with all the strategic color placement and what-not. And I don’t know how many people want to buy a pattern with such nit-picky piecing! But give me a few months, and then maybe I’ll want to revisit it.

As far as Quilt Con, since we were allowed up to three entries, I decided to throw two older quilts into the mix as well.

Shattered Spectrum
I’m now calling this one “Shattered Spectrum,” since “HST Mini” didn’t quite have that show ring to it. I entered it in the Modern In Miniature Challenge sponsored by Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine. I gave this little quilt to the lovely Susanne earlier this year as a thank-you for driving all the way from Madison to take my headshots and pictures of my family. But she was nice enough to give me permission to enter it and said she would ship it back to me if it gets accepted into the show. Thanks again, Susanne! Here’s the full blog post about this quilt.

Third Quilt Con entry
And I’m also entering my Lifesavers mini, since that one did so well for me in the EZ Dresden Challenge. I entered Lifesavers in the “Minimalist Design” category. Honestly, I’m not sure if it really qualifies as minimalist, but since I’d already entered something in the mini challenge, it seemed like the best fit for this one. Here’s the full blog post with more information on Lifesavers.

I was quilter #435 to enter the show, and my quilts were #587, #595, and lucky number #600! Wow! That’s a lot of competition for this show. I’m just hoping that at least one of mine gets accepted, and I cannot wait to see the entire show in Austin in February. Good luck to everybody who entered!

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WIP Wednesday: Last-Minute WIPing

Happy Wednesday! And welcome to my week of last-minute scrambling!

Quilt Con quilt

In case you haven’t heard, there’s going to be an epic modern quilt show at Quilt Con in February, and the deadline to enter is this Friday. Unfortunately, other commitments have kept me from making any quilts specifically to enter in the show—until a few days ago, that is. Five days to create a quilt for the most important modern quilt show to date, with thousands of dollars in prizes on the line? Sure, why not! I don’t know if it will be accepted (I don’t even know if I’ll finish it in time), but I have to at least try. Because yes, apparently I am that crazy.

What’s on your to-do list this week? Whatever you’re sewing, link it up here! Just remember the rules:
1. Link up any post from the past week that features at least one unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back here to my blog. (Or grab my WIP Wednesday button for your sidebar.)
3. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links. Because what fun is a linky party without comments?

Have a great week—get those Quilt Con entries in!