Friday 20 March 2015

QuiltCon 2015 - The People

It seems really weird that I've been home from QuiltCon for nearly a month and I'm only just finding I have the headspace to think about writing about my experience in Austin. It was a phenomenal week of fun, inspiration and quilts (of course!), but for me the absolute best part of being there was the people I spent time with. I'm a massive introvert, so I was a bit anxious about whether it would be awkward or weird meeting people face to face rather than online - but it absolutely wasn't! There is something really lovely about seeing someone you 'know' and greeting them with a huge hug.

I travelled to QuiltCon as part of a fairly large Aussie/ New Zealand contingent (there were almost 40 of us over there), and flew over with five other Aussies. Given the fact that we had to deal with a massively delayed flight and lost baggage dramas, I was really happy to have company while we were travelling. My room mate was the extremely lovely Gemma of Pretty Bobbins - we have a LOT in common (chiefly an obsession with FMQ, but also similar aged kids etc) and we very quickly became great friends. Having spent a week with Gem, I am missing her a whole lot now I'm home!

The Aussie and New Zealand contingent went out for a meal the night before QuiltCon kicked off - and it was an absolute blast! I hadn't met any of these peeps before QuiltCon, so it's a little crazy we met for the first time in another country. Having met up though, there is a huge impetus to get some kind of Aussie modern quilt retreat happening, so hopefully we will see each other reasonably frequently!

Thursday I had a full day workshop (which I'll talk about in another blog post), so I didn't do much looking around the quilt show or the vendor hall or get a chance to talk to many people. Thursday night was the Moda party which was heaps of fun - best of all I finally met up with two of the people I knew I HAD to meet while I was there. I've become great friends with Jess (Quilty Habit) and Renee (Quilts of a Feather) over the last couple of years, and I was SO excited to meet them at QuiltCon. I'm holding the beautiful zip pouch Jess made for me (not sure how she knew that's one of my all time favorite prints, lol!), and I'll share the mini quilt Renee made for me in another post (it's spectacular and deserves it's own post!)

I had Friday virtually free of classes (aside from a couple of lectures), so that's when I checked out the vendor floor and the quilt show. I met up with the amazingly awesome Adrianne (who blogs at On The Windy Side) on Friday morning and we walked around together for a couple of hours. I'm so glad I got to meet Adrianne; we clicked instantly and had a great time together. On top of that, Adrianne was my unofficial PR person and encouraged me to swap business cards with lots of people - something I would never have done had I been wandering by myself.

Someone else I knew I wanted to meet in person was Leanne of She Can Quilt. Having worked closely together on our Decipher Your Quilt series last year, it was amazing to meet her in person. Leanne is an incredibly inspiring in the modern quilt world, and I am so pleased her quilt won first prize in the Minimalist category.

I've been part of a fabulous bee over the last year and a bit (the most relaxed and awesome bee I've been part of!), and five out of six of us attended Quiltcon. We managed to meet up at the Robert Kaufman booth where one of our members, Elisabeth, was working and got a photo of us all - with the intention that we will photoshop our missing member Janice in at some stage. It was especially great to meet Alyce at last, who I've been friends with almost the entire time I've been quilting. 

One of the lectures I attended on Friday afternoon was Angela Walter's Quilting Negative Space (which was amazing!).  I unwittingly sat next to my lanyard swap partner, Rebecca (rubythread on IG) who noticed my lanyard and said hi. I had to get a photo with her - my lanyard was amazing and I had loads of comments from people admiring it. This is actually one of my favorite photos from the whole trip :o)

On Saturday morning, I was a workshop volunteer in Angela Walter's class, and met several of my quilty friends there. I'd met Amy Garro (13 Spools) the day before at her book signing, and she was in Angela's class so we nabbed a photo together. I would have loved to spend more time with Amy, her work is incredible and she is the absolute sweetest person. Amy has just announced a fantastic initiative alongside CraftBuds that will help promote the work of indie fabric designers - you can check out all the info here. 

I also caught up with Hollie ( the Undercover Crafter), who I shared a machine with in our class on Thursday. She is absolutely lovely as well, and we had a fabulous time chatting in class. You might notice a theme here - quilters are just awesome people! I didn't meet anyone I didn't love!

After volunteering I had a brief wander through the vendor hall again, and met Jess Levitt again. I met Jess at the MQG Leadership drinks the night before, and she was another person I instantly clicked with :o) Jess's book was one of the first modern quilt books I bought, so it was really hard not to be a complete fan girl when I met her ;o)

On Saturday evening, I attended the keynote with the quilters of Gees Bend. It was a really incredible experience (a total understatement), and I was delighted to be able to share it with some of my favorite Aussie quilters. Peta, Cat and Cath (from right to left in the photo below) are all just wonderful women, and I can't wait to see them again.

I almost though I was going to come home without a photo of me and my roomie, Gemma - but we managed to get a photo (along with Renee) on the very last afternoon. The three of us are all FMQ obsessed, and managed to spend quite a lot of time together which was fantastic. I miss them already!

Last but certainly not least, I met up with my great friend Jen of Quilter in the Closet. Jen and I have been online friends for years, so I was stoked that she spotted me and we managed to get a photo together. I need to get to another QuiltCon so I can spend some proper time with her!

Although I managed to spend time with lots of the people I wanted to, I did miss a few people (Danielle and Charlotte in particular - although I did get hugs with both of them at least!) I love the idea of going to QuiltCon again, but it definitely won't be something I can do every year. I'm so grateful I went this year when so many Aussies and New Zealanders went - as Adrianne said, I think it's unlikely there will be such a strong Southern Hemisphere contingent again, so it was amazing to be part of it in 2015.

I'm hoping to get a chance to tell you all about the workshops and lectures I attended over the next few weeks. Needless to say, I came home incredibly inspired, and I've developed a firm idea of where I want to take my quilting this year. I can't wait to share it all with you guys!

xx Jess


Charlotte Scott said...

Wow! Sounds like everyone from this end of the world had an amazing time. looking forward to hearing more.

Peta - SheQuiltsAlot said...

What a fabulous post Jess! So so happy we got to meet and be dinner buddies for a few hours in one amazing week of quilting awesomeness. Mwah!

Charlotte said...

I'm so bummed we didn't get proper time together :-(

Leanne said...

It was so great to meet you in person!

Renee said...

The people were definitely the best part, and the #1 reason why I went. I'm so glad we were able to have lunch together, but I wish we could have visited longer (same for everyone else!). I do hope we get to meet up again someday. I'm not sure I'll go to the QuiltCon next year, I'm waiting until the catalog comes out before I decide.

CapitolaQuilter said...

You met so many of the same people that I wanted to meet and didn't- I should've just followed you around! Seriously, I was able to connect with a few and it was great, definitely a highlight of the whole week.

Susie said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to check out some of these blogs you have mentioned.

leanne said...

yay what a fun time !! so jelly :)

Rosemary B❤️ said...

Rosemary B here
You are adorable Jess
Thanks for all the cool photos and details

KaHolly said...

I was there on Friday, too. Wish I'd known. I'd have loved to meet you! Glad you had a good time!