Some Amazing Sights from Quilt Con

This has been a whirlwind of activity!

I have always adored the Modern Quilt Guild, and of course, I have always loved quilting. This makes my current participation in the Quilt Con just such a grand old adventure!

This was a photo of one of the awesome presentations that taught us the value of dissecting pieces so as to come up with more interesting design possibilities. It is true that we tend to accept at face value what is given to us: if we have a bunch of squares, we are likely to use them as squares, as opposed to coming up with other more innovative ways of using them – even if this includes DEsquaring them. As well, there are many ways to cut up squares, such as by imposing lines of fabric through the segnemts of a quilt, as shown here.

The conference center itself is so exciting! Full of big screens, expansive floor space covered with giant, amazing, unusual quilts, each one more exciting than the last. Here is one of the presenters doing a demo, one of many that were given throughout the day, every day. The bonus: they were free! Many celebs in the quilter world gave these, to the delight of us “poor mortals.”

Here is Amy Gibson, http://bit.ly/2lXc3Pc one of my faves, talking about paper piecing

And yes, this is a podcast booth. I am not surprised that this event, and the Modern Guild in general, boasts an official podcasting station, since podcasting is very much The New Thing. The medium has been gradually rising in popularity in the past five years. The ubiquity of listening devices and the mobility of contemporary existence makes podcasting an ideal medium for stocking up on ideas of our favorite hobbies and subjects. Kudos to the MQG for staying on the cutting edge of technology!

As you can see, there’s a wide expanse of quilts on display, from Modern Quilters all over the country and the world! As I had discussed in a blog post a while ago, the Modern Quilt Guild specializes in liberating the craft of quilting from its traditional patchwork beginnings, with its homespun geometric conventions, and raising it to an artform of simple, experimental shapes and colors, all referencing a midcentury aesthetic. Their mission statement is a bit different from that but reads:

Some of the guild’s aesthetic elements include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work.

You can see these principles at play in the image above. For example, that one to the center left with the 3 large globules is the epitome of solid color, high contrast, and expansive negative space. The one to the left of that one achieves a great level of high contrast (black and white!), and alternate grid work. In this quilt, it almost seems as if the grid completely disappears. Our granny quilters, whom all quilters owe so much to, would at first faint in surprise, until she recognized the way this genius subverted the paradigm of the logcabin quilt block by seemingly piling what are blocks of an otherwise traditional-looking pattern on top of each other in the middle, then having them break pieces off each other towards the edges. All this framed by a large expanse of whiteness which still manages, thanks to the invisible tactile white, reference the actual block pattern. This is a truly masterful offering and I feel privileged to have been in its presence.

Here I am with my “hero” Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilt Company

And of course the city itself is fun! I haven’t been to Savannah in years, since I lived in Georgia and would, at one point in time (before we started vacationing in North Carolina very habitually), go there on holidays. The town, though infernally hot for most of the year, is fairly placid at this time of the year – in spite of the fact that this year in particular has been unaccountably hot.

Cozy little used bookstore
“Old Lady Books” store, my kind of place

All in all, I had a fantastic time! I learned a lot during the workshops and lectures, did some (ahem!) judicious shopping, and connected with a lot of new quilters from here and yon. Overall, it was truly a great gift.

Old-timey diner!! Love it
Famed Savannah waterfront, and the ferry that connected us to the “mainland”
I have to again thank my husband and his mother Gail for giving me such a wonderful gift last Christmas. It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.

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I’m Going to QuiltCon

QuiltCon, a yearly event sponsored by the national Modern Quilt Guild, is happening in Savannah this year. Yay! It is close enough for me to attend this year, thanks to a Christmas gift from my husband and mother-in-law.

Rear Window

I was naive enough to pretend that one of my quilts might have a chance at being considered for judging (I made two!), but alas it was not to be.

Michael Miller Challenge

But no matter. I still plan on having a good time at this fun event where there are lots of things to see, workshops to attend, speakers to learn from, and lots and lots of opportunities to shop.

My next post will probably be a report on this event, so stay tuned. I can’t wait!

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New Year’s Resolution

I’m not much for making New Year’s resolutions, because I don’t like to be boxed-in, or having to be held accountable for pre-ordained expectations. However, this year I’ve decided to push myself in a direction that I’ve been exploring (and been drawn to) for quite some time now. And that is:  Simplicity

I’ve been watching videos, reading articles, and observing the trend of people divesting themselves of useless things, things that don’t add value to their lives (or “joy,” as decluttering guru Marie Kondo purports), and I find myself totally taken by that notion.

As so well put by artist Hans Hofmann,

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”

The idea of living a simple life, one that is not tied up or encumbered by
material possessions has always been intriguing to me. I’ve never had any problems getting rid of stuff, as in leaving a whole houseful of possessions behind when circumstances forced me to leave the country with whatever I could carry on a plane, more than 40 years ago.

Me and Goodwill Industries (sic.) are very well acquainted, since I go through bouts of purging closets, cupboards, and the like on a regular basis, and everything I toss ends up over there. The local used books store has also been the–should I say lucky–recipient of my literary discards more often than not.

But here’s the thing: it seems that no matter how much stuff I get rid of, I can never experience the feeling of liberation that should accompany each purging exercise; I look around me and I STILL see a lot of stuff. It’s not that I’m a hoarder or that I’ve had too much stuff to begin with, so any efforts at weeding out go unnoticed. If you were to walk into my house, you’d see a home just as well maintained and uncluttered as the next person’s (so to speak). But I’m not satisfied that I’ve done enough.

So, and here is my resolution for 2017, I will make EVERY EFFORT to do a systematic evaluation of everything I own (notice I say “I” and not “we”–as in hubby and I–he’s not completely on board with this, although he is trying, bless his heart). I will go around the house and explore every corner, every drawer, every shelf, every nook, and get rid of everything that I haven’t used or touched in the last 12 months. I will deal with items of “sentimental value” in an efficient way, such as taking photos of those items and/or only keeping a viable representation of the object itself. For instance, I have boxes and boxes full of photos and mementos of our lives past, which nobody EVER holds or looks at. So they lay dormant in a cupboard outside our bedroom (literally “outside,” on the deck!). Oh, did I mention that our current house is only 1,100 SF of livable space, not counting the basement (which is also cluttered–probably a 2018 project)? This is the house we moved into when we left Georgia, and a 1,850 SF abode. Needless to say, I didn’t purge enough before moving, so I find myself running into stuff that has been stored in the most unlikely places, such as under the bed, couch, behind dressers, living-room chairs, etc., etc.

And then there is–you guessed it!–my SEWING ROOM! Or should I say, Sewing Trailer? Because literally, that’s what it is, as described in a previous post. Not only do I have a very small space in which to work, but it is chock full of quilting notions, fabric, tools, scraps, projects in progress, books, magazines, plus sewing machines (notice the plural). I does my heart good to see all that beautiful fabric that I may never actually use (that is the nature of a fabric-holic, which I confess to be). I also love, love, love vintage sewing machines–currently I own 4–plus my beloved Bernina, and my back-up workhorse, the Bernette, itself quasi-vintage, which sews like a charm although is missing some useful features such as the needle-down control. As much as I hate clutter, I have a feeling this will be my most difficult space to clear out. In fact, I’m not sure I’ll even include it in my 2017 Resolution!

Interior Exterior

Come to think of it, I think it’s going to take me more than a year to complete this resolution.