Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Jen goes to QuiltCon

QuiltCon 2015 - Austin, Texas by Jennifer J.

So Jaye asked me to write a blog post about QuiltCon. I said sure. I don’t know why. I’ve never done a blog post and I’m not quite sure what people want in one. I am not a regular reader of blog posts so I didn’t even have footing as a blog post reader. So I was left with simply sharing my take-aways, hoping that it offers something for those who take the time to read it. So here goes.

This was my second QuiltCon. I went to the first one because I saw a movement taking shape and I wanted to support it and be a part of it. Like a child's first steps or words…this movement, the Modern Quilting movement, was the real deal and, by golly, they were even having their own conference. So it was a no-brainer that I was going to go.

Attending for the second time, I got to see a reflection of how the movement seems to have grown. I don’t know the statistics comparing this year to the previous one, but it felt more mature to me. On a very practical level, the bag of swag (you know, the bag you get when you arrive and get your badge) really stood out…not just all the goodies in it (from books, to fabric, to a watch that was also a ruler...try to picture that) but even the bag stood out. I would overhear people at the show talking about how much they liked it. When I got back home my mother-in-law, also a quilter, was shocked at just how much they gave you for just for attending. During the show, someone stopped me outside of the convention center to tell me they liked my bag and wanted to know if I had made it. Imagine their surprise when I said this was the bag they gave everyone who registered for the show!

Again this year the online registration process was a little disappointing in that I was only able to get into one workshop of the many that I was interested in. It seemed like everyone had ‘early registration’ so in the end, nobody felt like they actually got to register early. I was however able to get into some lectures. The speakers I did see were entertaining and informative. One speaker reminded me that the lectures from the first QuiltCon might still available for free on Craftsy. I am hoping that this year’s lectures will end up there too so I can watch them all. I might even go back and catch some from the previous year.

The primary theme that came across to me this year, was one of connecting. How quilting was bringing people together, and through quilting, new connections were being made. The idea of connecting was all around me in bits of conversation I would hear. Speakers were alluding to it and the show itself seemed to breed it…QuiltCon’s new app allowed you to connect with others or share through social media. The idea of connecting generations came up a lot as well. I saw lots of moms with babes in arms… a rare sight I’m sure for most quilting conventions. Lecturer Mary Fons, with her mom Marianne chiming in from the audience, speaking about the quilting industry back then versus the industry now. Lecturer Heather Givans of Crimson Tate talking about when she took her mom to quilting camp. It was nice to to hear how quilting was connecting not only people are close to one another, but those who are far away from each other as well. Not to mention this year’s yoga sessions for quilters...every morning there was a large group of quilters on yoga mats, connecting with their inner selves. Connection was everywhere.

I couldn't hope to capture everything at QuiltCon, not in person nor in this blog post. If you have not gone, I hope maybe I have piqued your interest and maybe you'll consider attending next year in Pasadena, California or the following year in Savannah, Georgia.

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