Monday, February 26, 2018

QuiltCon 2018

I got back from QuiltCon last night, and I was greeted by 2 sick kids and a husband who is exhausted taking care of them. I wasn't feeling too hot myself so all I wanted to do was to lie down and go to sleep. I used to love flying when I was younger, but then I grew up. How I wish teleportation was available!

QuiltCon was as wonderful as I imagined, but it was much more exhausting than I was expecting. I was warned against scheduling too heavily, but I didn't listen. When registration day opened, I saw that everything I wanted was open so I went wild. I ended up doing 7 classes in 3 days, and it was ... well, let's just say I've learned my lesson!

Normally when I go to a show, I take pictures of my favorite quilts and post them. But for QuiltCon, it's hard to choose because there are so many favorite quilts! In fact, I daresay I love about 95% of the quilts in the show. Instead, I'll talk about my classes and show off all the goodies I got!

Quilt Photography Basics with Kitty Wilkin & Michelle Bartholomew

I think my photos have improved a lot since the day I started blogging. That being said, I still struggle with them. I learned a lot in this class. The class had a practical session where we actually took photographs, and I think I took some of the best product photos I've ever shot in my life here:

I learned some low-cost tricks for high impact photography, and while they're not all applicable to me, I do hope that my photos will continue to improve.

Radiating Designs Skill Builder with Pamela Wiley

This class was a longarm class, so it consisted of some lecture time and lots of practice time. I learned some interesting ways to look at shaping and perspective, and developed a new appreciation for straight line designs on quilts. While I don't think quilting at the density of Pamela is my style (plus I don't have a computerized machine) I can definitely take some inspiration from this class for my own quilting. Here is my quilting sample:

Shape by Shape 2 with Angela Walters

This is the first of my three classes with Angela. As soon as I walked in the room I gushed to Angela how much I adore her. She was very sweet, and this class was every bit as entertaining as I expected. This was a drawing class so we doodled a lot of designs on paper. Most of the designs that she taught is in her book and I've already read the book, but there's nothing like being in the room with her, enjoying her humor, her energy, and actually seeing the quilted samples live. Talk about wow factors! It's easy to see why she's a superstar. Plus, being able to ask her questions is invaluable.

Your Own Two Feet: FMQ + Straight Lines with Christina Cameli

I signed up for this class before Christina's Craftsy class on the same subject came out. It covered a lot of the same materials, but I was still happy to learn from Christina. Although it was a sit-down machine class, a lot of the designs I can see being quilted on a longarm as well. One in particular I'm already planning to use on a future quilt, and I think it's brilliant.

To be honest, I haven't quilted on a domestic machine for a long, long time. But I thought it'd be okay. It's like riding a bike, right? Well, it wasn't! I had forgotten just how challenging it was to manage even a little bit of bulk and drag, and how challenging it is to get consistent stitch length and achieve good tension on a sit-down. But even though my quilting is ugly (and I won't be showing it here) it was still a great class!

Small Changes, Big Variety with Angela Walters

The second of my classes with Angela is another drawing class, and this time we went over the designs she had in her Craftsy class of the same name. However, I have no regrets about purchasing this class. There's something about seeing it live that makes it click in new ways, and I for one finally figured out one of her fancier ribbon candy designs after seeing her draw it live. Plus ... I seriously get inspiration just being in the same room as her!

Tackling Curves With the Happy As A Clam Project with Latifah Saafir

If I felt pretty good about myself after a quilting class, I just needed to try to sew a curve to feel completely humbled again. Not long ago I sort of figured out the Drunkard's Path (and I needed to do a lot of trimming down!) but clamshells are a different thing altogether. At least I brought fabric I didn't much like, because my curves were terrible. When I was at the trimming station, I looked to my left ... and to my right ... and my neighbors' curves were fine. Things lined up at the right spot. Mine was very, very off and as it turns out, I didn't need to learn how to piece a curve ... I needed to learn how to press them!

I will say this though, that this was way too short of a class to cover all the materials. I think it needed to be at least twice as long! I did leave the class intrigued about clamshells and admiring the beautiful patterns Latifah designed, but I still don't feel very confident about curves.

Swirling Beyond Feathers with Angela Walters

At last, we've come to the class I've looked forward to the most at QuiltCon. How fitting that it is the last class to close the show for me! This was an actual stand-up longarm class where we watch Angela draw, and then try to quilt it on the machine. I got used to the HQ Amara after awhile, but I still think that my APQS Lenni is a fabulously smooth machine. I was actually decently happy with my class sample, so here it is:

I learned a lot in this class, including how to do scrolls, do proper swirl chains, and of course, paisley feathers. I think I can manage them now, maybe!


There's no question that one of the major attractions of a show like QuiltCon for me is the vendor hall. Sure, QuiltCon isn't a huge show and it was fairly fast to walk the vendor booths, but this is an instance where almost all of the booths appeal to me. There are a lot of vendors here that don't go to any of the more traditional shows I normally go to, so meeting them and seeing their products in person is a great attraction. My favorite booths were probably ME + YOU for Indah Batik and beyond the reef.

And of course, I shopped. A lot. I actually considered buying more, but I'm glad I didn't, because when I packed up my suitcase on Saturday night, I found that I had to do some creative maneuvering just to be able to fit the stuff I did buy. It was really, really full!

I know that I could have bought a lot of this stuff online. However, seeing the products live make me feel giddy. I kind of feel like I'm drunk on convention fumes, and that I would buy things that I normally might think about more. Since this is my first QuiltCon, I decided not to hold back, but carrying that stuff home at the end of a day? I wish I had booked a hotel closer to the convention center.

Of course, QuiltCon isn't complete without some meet-ups and selfies!

From top left, going clockwise: Cheryl Brickey, Natalie Barnes, Angela Walters, Sherry Shish, and Christina Cameli.

I plan to go to QuiltCon Nashville next year, but I'll definitely take it easier. Well, that's what I say now. Who knows what I might do when the class list comes out!


  1. So glad you enjoyed, learned and shipped so much. Can’t wsit until next year...definitely on my list.

  2. Liz, thanks for sharing so much info! I read it like a hungry caterpillar!?! Your swirls sample is great. Are you sure that's not really a photo of Angela's work?!! JK! You quilt just like her. That was a great way to end your class spree and you were very successful at it. I enjoy everyone you took photos with, too. So sorry about the sick kiddos and exhausted hubster. I hope your excitement and energy will get everyone put back together again.

  3. Oh Liz, it sounds like you had so much fun! Your last class with Angela looks like it would be my fav; one day I'm gonna learn how to do some decent swirl action! :) I'm happy you're home safe, and am sending healing thoughts to you and your family. I love going to the big quilt shows, but boy, they are so much more exhausting than one would think!

  4. I think I would have been tempted to buy all that same fabric, too! What a great haul :) I'm glad you got so much out of the show. Now you can rest for a few days (or weeks...)

  5. It looks like you had a great time and learned a lot even though you took on too much. Maybe I'll see you next year. I'm planning to go.

  6. I'm glad you enjoyed all the classes and it was lovely to get to meet you!

  7. OMG, you had a fabulous time with all of the classes and the loot you bought. I pretty sure Angela was pretty impressed with your talent; your class work was amazing. Since QuiltCon is in Nashville next year, some bee sisters and I are planning on attending, no classes though, just a big shop fest for me and to look at some amazing quilts. Hope the family and you are feeling better soon; it looks like you have some fun projects waiting for you. :)

  8. I'm so glad you had a good time! That is a LOT of classes! I went last year but registered so late I didn't do any classes, just one or two lectures. I'm considering Nashville and need to decide before registration so I actually have the option of classes if I go. Great haul of purchases--really lovely stuff there!


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