So having said that, here are the many, many high points of the QuiltCon experience for me.
People. When you read a lot of blogs, you get to "know" a lot of bloggers. And when you blog yourself, you connect with readers and followers. The experience of meeting those people face to face is absolutely wonderful. You are already friends; being able to hang out in person is the icing on the cake. Having the opportunity to do that is one of the fabulous things about a get-together like QuiltCon. I won't attempt to list all the people I met because I'll surely leave someone out. But I will say that I really appreciated hanging out with Jackie and Jules at the 80s Dance Party. We all COMMITTED to the theme, let me tell you:
(left to right: Jackie, me, Jules)
My look is brought to you by Value Village (except the jacket, which I actually wear unironically, minus the shoulder pads). I found the high-waisted red jeans for $8 and just had to make sure the legs were properly pegged. Jules' hammer pants were purchased at K-Mart where, I assume, they are bought unironically by poor teenagers who don't know any better. Because honestly? I went though high school and university in the 80s and it just wasn't a good time for fashion. At. All. But back to those hammer pants. Things of beauty. Truly. Jackie rocked the neon pants and acid wash vest. And crimping (when you have enough hair to do so) was mandatory, obviously.
I think all of us Introverts were really tested, having to interact with people all day long (we like it, but it's draining!). But being surrounded by others who share your passion for quilting and fabric and sewing machines and patterns really makes it so much easier. People were so warm and friendly, too.
Food. Deeelicious food in Austin. I had the obligatory BBQ at Iron Works around the corner from the Convention Centre and it wasn't that great. I suspect strongly it was because we got there at 9pm. Here's a shot of our gang including Leanne, Jackie, Marianne, Niki (who is vegetarian - again, sorry about that Niki!) and Jules.
I also had some fabulous Tex Mex, and a Vietnamese Bahn Mi sandwich that was a real stand-out. And last but not least, Indian food from G'Raj Mahal. Fantastic. Also, a lot of beer, wine and cider over the 5 days.
I'm kicking myself for not working harder to find a nice local coffee shop, settling instead for some good ol' Starbucks each morning. Next time.
Workshops/lectures. I was lucky enough to get into Denyse Schmidt's zippy pouch half-day class. Super fun - she is very down to earth and practical. Very kind as well. I'm a fan.
My zippy pouch in better detail:
We used Denyse's scraps (!!!!) - the dark browns are kimono silk!! I was the lucky winner of the class giveaway - two of Denyse's patterns (which she autographed for me!!!) and a pack of oversize fabric charms from her newest fabric line Shelburne Falls. There are a lot of exclamation marks in this paragraph - it's indicative of how excited I am by the whole experience.
I also took a half-day workshop with Angela Walters who is hilarious. Hilarious. Also very down-to-earth and kind. (Check out her lecture in the Craftsy QuiltCon lecture series - her talk is just like how her classes are). I used a longarm quilting machine for the first time. Good thing I have nowhere to put such a thing because honestly, I could see getting verrrrry used to being able to quilt my quilts that way. Don't get me wrong: my "skills" need a lot of work but it was fun to put some new designs into practice. Here's a shot of my work:
I also took a full-day workshop with Sherri Lynn Wood based on her Mod Mood quilt technique. This was the class that made the deepest impression on me (in a good way), so I'm going to save it for another post to make sure I do it justice.
The lectures I heard were great, too - Thomas Knauer, David Butler (showed up for the beefcake; stayed for the content!) and Denyse Schmidt were stand outs.
Quilt Show. Bigtime wow here. The quilts were all incredible, and it was particularly fun to see quilts in person that I'd only enjoyed online. Some were larger than I thought, and some were smaller. All were even more beautiful in real life. This Flickr set has a good bunch of photos from the show (and they're properly attributed which is a nice plus). I cannot even begin to express how thrilling it was for me to see my quilts hung in the show and then honoured with ribbons. Bohemian Confetti even showed up in the introductory video to the Craftsy QuiltCon lecture series!!
So there you go, some of my musings about QuiltCon. The next one's in 2015 (location TBD, maybe Austin, maybe elsewhere - the MQG is going to survey members so keep an eye out) and I do recommend trying to attend. It's quite a trip.