This post's title really sums up my experience in Austin for QuiltCon. To wit:
It started on my 8 am flight out of Vancouver: I had misremembered my itinerary so I didn't think any VMQG peeps were on my flight. I was really happy to be proven wrong when I got to YVR and got a text from Krista Poppyprint. We met up at the Starbucks, discovered we were on the same flight and then made our way to our gate.
At the gate, ready to get to Austin already
We were seated only two rows apart and it took exactly zero effort to convince the very tall fellow in the seat next to mine to move to Krista's aisle seat two rows back so we could sit together. Fun!
The rest of the trip was full of similar serendipities and connections. I finally met my longtime bloggy friend Cindy Live a Colorful Life in person for the first time and we spent a lovely dinner together along with some other friends, both old and new for me.
I also connected with many of my Bee Sewcial bee mates and that was fabulous too.
I really made a point of channeling my extrovert half, which meant I forced myself to be the one to say hello and introduce myself first rather than holding back and waiting til I felt safer, which is my usual M.O. Needless to say, this strategy was extraordinarily successful and was helped along considerably by the brilliant QuiltCon Pin Swap (begun by Vicky (@houseofduke1 on instagram), I believe) .
Just a sampling of the buttons I collected
Furthermore, the QuiltCon Lanyard Swap was yet another way to make connections at QuiltCon, as evidenced by my startling the lovely Yvonne while she was on White Glove duty by hoisting my lanyard and yelping, "Hey! You made this for me!"
I had met S-J, my lanyard recipient, in Vancouver just ahead of QuiltCon. Speaking of serendipity: S-J, Australian, considers Vancouver her home away from home and had already planned to spend time here before taking the train (!!!) to Austin. So we met up for coffee one Saturday and talked nonstop for the entire hour and a half.
I kept running into her at various points over the event, including at "QuiltComm," what we dubbed the gathering of folks from the Commonwealth who attended QuiltCon.
This is really only scratching the surface of the social smorgasbord that was QuiltCon. I reconnected with old friends I hadn't seen since last QuiltCon, met online friends for the first time in person, hung out with VMQG friends, hung out with new friends....oh my goodness, it was wonderful.
I took two full day workshops and one half-day, plus a couple of lectures. That was the perfect amount of classroom time (for me).
My first class was with the Quilters of Gee's Bend. Yes, those incredible women. The class was very short on instruction ("Just cut up the fabric and start sewin'!") yet still very inspirational. I used some thrifted jeans and shirts plus some vintage red corduroy from my mother-in-law and got this far in our session:
Everything is improved by leopard print (just call me Edith Prickley)
One more strip of denim (I ran out of what I'd brought with me) and I'm calling this done. I will hand quilt it but not sure if it's going to be a cushion or a wallhanging (it'll be about 30" square).
My other class was with Anna Maria Horner, doing her Mod Corsage project. It was a super inspiring and educational class - she really brings her art and design background to her incredibly helpful critiques/feedback. She is also gracious, hilarious and warm. I loved the time I spent in the workshop. This is where my project got during the day, and I've since added some appliqué as well (not pictured):
more flowers and stems to come
The class was made all the better for having Denyse Schmidt as one of the learners. When I saw Denyse enter the class, I assumed she'd come to say hi to Anna Maria. But then she put her tote bag down at an empty spot at a workshop table and I was intrigued. She participated in the feedback/critiques as well both as a maker and a designer. Thrilling!
Anna Maria Horner and Denyse Schmidt discussing Denyse's piece
The Show, people. THE SHOW. Everywhere I looked, there was another feast for my eyes and sensibilities. An entire show featuring modern quilts? Bliss. Here are a very few photos I managed to snap (click through for attributions):
For more photos of QuiltCon 2015 show, the MQG has a roundup of winning quilts here and Sew Mama Sew did a wonderful job of capturing photos of all the quilts.
All in all, my QuiltCon 2015 experience was so perfect that I'm actually hesitant to consider doing another one so soon (QuiltCon West is in February 2016). Need to think on that one for sure.