A few months ago when I submitted my Concerto quilt to the show, I had really no experience with quilt shows. I just knew that it would be an honor to have a quilt hanging in a show. When I received word that my quilt was accepted I was so excited. I was in the middle of completing the Concerto pattern and had not shared about it yet. What I didn't know at the time was there were over 600 entires and only about 230 or so actually accepted. I could not be more proud!
The first day I walked into the QuiltCon show I quite honestly felt overwhelmed. This was my first quilt show experience and I wasn't sure what to expect, at first glance it was extreme inspiration overload. My immediate response was, "how in the world am I ever going to make quilts as awesome as these".
Then I began to slowly walk isle by isle carefully and closely looking at each quilt. My overwhelming initial feeling begun to disappear and now I was truly being inspired. As I looked at each quilt I saw the perfect imperfections. Those imperfections that make a handmade item truly handmade and the art of quilting so beautiful. Often times when looking through Flickr or Pinterest we see these amazing quilt designs and can very easily feel as if our quilts are not "up to par". But, what you can't see in the photographs are the perfect imperfections. Attending a quilt show allows you to see the depths of a quilt and gain an even higher respect for the art.
When I finally got to my quilt I was proud to see it hanging up all professional. I felt like a complete nerd when I bugged some innocent lady going about her business to take a picture of me with my quilt.
Entering a quilt into a show is such a learning experience, attending a quilt show likewise. One thing I would have really appreciated would have been some type of Judging Guidelines. I have heard that in traditional shows there are usually very clear and precise guidelines. Since modern quilting is still being defined I think we were all curious how exactly the judges were evaluating each quilt. Supposedly we are going to receive a review from the judging on our quilts. I do hope this will happen, so I have some guide to learn from.
I spent most of Saturday sitting in on lectures, which was fantastic because by this point I was starting to feel a little bit of my strep throat coming on (of course at the time I had no clue I was sick). Most of the lectures I attended can actually be watched for FREE on Craftsy.com so I won't get into much detail about them. You should just head over to Craftsy and register for the class!
When I walked away from all the lectures I needed to do some thought processing. I had plenty of time to do this in bed sick when I got home. One of the major things that sparked me from the lectures was that most of the fabric designers, quilt designers, etc. get their inspiration from outside the quilting community. Now with the massive amount of inspiration on Flickr and Pinterest it's so easy to just sit in front of your computer and solely rely on it for your design inspiration.
I was convicted that I need to step away from my computer and get out! Yes, no more wearing pajamas all day long while I work, it's time for me to get dressed and get out! Amy Butler shared a bunch of photos from their trip to the middle east, and as they traveled she carefully spotted colors, shapes, and patterns she liked. When she arrived home she then had a ton of inspirational photos to help her with her next fabric line.
Now, I don't need to travel to Egypt to be inspired, even if it is just a trip to the park. I need to take the kids and the family out to find inspiration from God's creation. I want to be more aware and mindful of my surroundings, looking for colors, shapes, patterns, etc. the inspiration around us daily is infinite.
One of the highlights of my whole trip was the Skill Builder BOM Meetup. We met at a fantastic mexican restaurant next to the Convention Center called Michelada's.
Thanks to Christa at ChristaQuilts each person received a free fat quarter of Kona Cotton!
I also put together a little bag of goodies for each person. Which included a few Aria Lane postcards, a silly Pile O' Fabric postcard (above), some DMC embroidery floss, and an embroidery needle. There were a total of 30 of us! Since our party was so large we had to split into 4 tables.
First I started everyone off with a little game I put together called Name that Kona. Basically I labeled ten index cards 1-10 and picked out ten scraps of Kona Cotton. I then stapeled one scrap to each card, and made note of each color on an answer key. Each person was given a little scrap of paper to write their answer on. It was really funny walking around watching everyone try to guess what color was what. The highest score was 4/10, you folks need to study your Kona cards! Funny thing is I had to use my Kona card to make the answer key so I suppose I need to study too :).
Next I had everyone go around and introduce themselves, for a little icebreaker I asked that they answer this question, If they were a quilt block what block they would be? I started first, if I was a quilt block I would be an improv block because I am always changing, and I am better at making instructions than following them. It was so much fun to hear everyones answer it really gave us a little insight on their personality.
We also played another similar game to Name that Kona, but I picked out 15 print fabrics from my scraps and asked that they try to tell me who the Collection, Designer, and Manufacturer was. Again this was super hard, but they did do pretty well naming the designers.
Some of us participated in a pin cushion swap. I asked everyone to wrap their pin cushions so that it would be a surprise. I just went around and passed the presents out to each person. I received the adorable house pin cushion in the first picture above, from Denise in the second picture.
This little dinner was just as inspiring to me as the QuiltCon show. Getting a chance to meet some of those who support PileOFabric.com with their encouragement and love really brought joy to my heart. It gives me a sense of the whole community and those of you sitting at home reading this post today. I am so thankful for you, and for your support. I am just 1 month shy of celebrating the 1st birthday of Pile O' Fabric. In this year I have done enough for 5 years. I am so thankful for the chance to attend QuiltCon which has inspired me to continue blogging and growing in the art of quilting which I have found to love so very much.
So I leave with this question, If you were a quilt block what would you be and why?
Creator of Pile O' Fabric