Sunday, February 25, 2018

Overstimulated: QuiltCon 2018 Charity Quilts and Shopping

There was so much to see at QuiltCon 2018, which ran from last Thursday, Feb. 22 through today, that just thinking about writing a report for this blog overwhelmed me. I took 562 pictures - (no more than half of my own quilt). So this blog post is going to tackle just a small fraction of two aspects of the show: the charity quilt challenge; and the shopping, featuring not even all my favorites, just those that broke through my quilt show trance (which is much like my supermarket trance, but much more hysterical.) 

(Update: Part II, about the juried show, is now online here.)

Warning: If you don't like this color palette, you've got some eye-aches ahead: 

Every year the Modern Quilt Guild, sponsors of QuiltCon, creates a challenge for its chapters, individual members, and impromptu groups. The quilts they make will be donated to or raffled off for a community charity. This year's challenge theme was "modern traditionalism," and the palette was the super-heated colors above (find all the rules here.)

As I entered the show, in Pasadena's sunny Convention Center last Thursday, the first thing I saw was this awesome. very large quilt:

It's called "Pickle Platter", and it's a group project of the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild. Looking down hallways in two directions, there were many more quilts with a similar color scheme...
...and wildly different designs....
...dozens of them. (They also lined a huge ballroom). Here are just a few.

First, "Maple Spirit," by the Victoria Modern Quilt Guild of BC, Canada. It was inspired, they write, by a "random conversation about Coast Guard ships, gingerbread houses, the QuiltCon charity quilt palette, modern traditionalism, and the country's sesquicentennial celebration."
And while we're in Canada, the next quilt was made by the Calgary Modern Quilt Guild. The color palette made them think of flowers and fireworks. So they played with the traditional Dresden Plate design, making large improvisational plates, and smaller, more regular ones. They overlap, like fireworks: 
Next, "Smoky Mountain Star" by the Knoxville Modern Quilt Guild in Tennessee. "Inspired by a traditional pattern by Bonnie K. Hinter, we took one of the signature slanted stars and enlarged it for a modern layout....This quilt and its inspiration reflect our guild's location in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains and the beauty we see here every day."
The next quilt was made by a farflung 8-member group that named themselves The Hexists, and it's called "Not Your Granny's Flower Garden:"
"When the quilt returns to us from its trip to QuiltCon, it will be deconstructed in order to add several more rows, to depict the main colors of the rainbow; its final destination will be the lobby/gallery of our local LGTBQ center...."

Below, "Under the Milky Way Tonight" comes from the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild in Australia, and was designed on a napkin. After QuiltCon, they plan to raffle it off for a local charity.
Peaks Posse is another farflung group, was made up of people who met at a quilt retreat (Patchwork in the Peaks, in the French Alps OMG) It was inspired by the glorious sunsets. The quilting is very, very unusual... that it has these giant fluffy suns! (?) They stand out a LOT. I am trying to figure out how they got them so puffy.
Below, "Harmony Crossing" was made by the Whistler Thread Heads. It was inspired by the Whistler ski resort and a particular ski run called "Harmony". "When not skiing or snowshoeing," they wrote, "we wrap the community in love and warmth."
Next is the Ithaca Modern Quilt Guild's entry.
The Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild made this mustard marvel: 
It's an Irish chain variation, with "blips in the grid." 

Finally, a quilt titled "Lake Superior Sunrise," made by the Lake Superior Modern Quilt Guild of Duluth, MN. 
Inspired by crazy quilts, the block pattern "was designed to allow improvisational choices to be made by each maker...It was our goal to include as many hands in the making of this quilt, regardless of skill level or design experience....The resulting quilt was fun to make...and a true representation of our community. " 

And so many more, each a gem! Google "QuiltCon 2018 Charity Quilt Challenge". Participating in making a quilt like this is great fun. Find your nearest Modern Quilt Guild chapter here

Moving briskly from altruism to capitalism, I'll show you some of the things I enjoyed seeing in the booths. Full disclosure: I have no financial or other relationship whatsoever with any of the vendors.  First: Northcott Fabrics' booth displayed their gorgeous solids folded and cut into flowers. 
This vintage tv pattern (who remembers tv antennas? Not young modern quilters!) appeared there plus in a couple more booths. (I've been told the pattern is by Lori Holt, but I haven't found it for sale yet - if you have the link, please do send it to me and I'll update this post.)
French General was a very unusual booth, with imported French fabrics, and very classy embroidery and quilting kits. There was also a tea towel embroidery project.
And interesting metal hoops. 
Find their unusual quilt patterns and other wares here.
Ombre and Ombre Confetti Metallics are a line of Moda fabrics, and the fabric company had a full booth devoted to showing them off  (you had to go to a different booth to actually buy them).
It was love at first sight. (My motto in life is "no bad ombres.") (Sorry.) So I was primed by the time I saw them for sale at Elkhorn Quilt Company of Mesa, AZ. I clutched my wallet to my bosom while arguing with myself about whether to buy one every color. 
They even had a rug.
And Elkhorn had lots of other tantalizing prints. This pricing was about par for the course. 

Plus they were displaying this cool (non-modern) quilt.
Elkhorn also had gourmet cork: Printed, embossed, embroidered, colored. 
It's just a little more expensive than fabric. 
The cork could be very effective in wine-themed quilts, but it's really there because it's the hot thing in handbags. It sews up like fabric - you can even embroider it. 
Sew Many Creations describes itself as a bag pattern company aimed at quilters; they also had cork along with bag and quilt patterns. 
 In most patterns, the cork makes up the base of the purse, but here it's a top panel.
Also at the show, lots of black-and-white fabrics, on the bolt or packed in precuts. Below are the black-and-white geometrics at Loving Stitches of Fayetteville, NC (plus the Marcus ombres). 
This tantalizing stack of B&Ws was at another booth - how I resisted, I will never know. 
The next pack was at Private Source Quilting from El Segundo, CA: Almost as good as gorgeous fabric is any fabric that is 50% off.
Also popular was the Grunge line from Moda; they look like a painted wall that has been irregularly sanded.
I even spotted Liberty of London fabrics in a couple of booths. I remember when you had to travel to freaking London to buy Liberty fabrics (which I did, 22 years ago)! Now you can just pick them up at at an American quilt show! Here are some precut bundles at The Patchwork Company:
 This small bundle of 13" x 18 pieces is $44.95. Which is still much cheaper than flying to London. 
There were also plenty of batik fabrics - but only in the vendor booths, not on the exhibit walls. For some reason, QuiltCon judges don't seem to go for quilts that incorporate batiks. I hope this changes, some day soon! 

Pink Door Fabrics had a booth with more purse and wallet kits (this one had pom pom trim)....
abundant purse frames: 
...and yes, more you-know-what....
The quilts in the Apliquick booth, below, were amazing, and definitely not modern, which was a bit of a respite. Apliquick sells specialized tools for turn-under applique. 
The Me+You fabrics booth had this awesome sneaker pattern - thanks to commenter Jessica I know now this pattern is "Kicks" by Latifah Saafir, available here.  
I'm wild about quilted octopii, and this one, also at Me+You, was fabulous. 
Everyone was talking about the Coats Company shutting down its Free Spirit and Westminster Divisions, with its many superstar fabric designers - including earth's #1 color genius Kaffe Fassett. There was no shortage of Kaffe fabric at the show, and I didn't see panicked mobs grabbing it up, so I wouldn't worry too much about it going extinct yet. Here's just a portion of the Kaffe selection at Material Girl:
...and this, and then there was more.
Clover, which sells sewing notions, had lots of practical stuff, plus they reminded me that macrame is still enjoying a revival
Remember making these in 1970? I loved macrame when I was 13.
My friends Saraj and Miriam were among the teeming crowds in the tiny Kismet Designs booth, with handmade and Fair Trade Indian ribbons, trims, and fabrics
...they gave me some for my birthday, and I am thrilled...

Brooklyn Mojo has gourmet small-batch hand-printed fabric; 
I didn't get close enough to take a good picture, so here's a couple of their pillows from their website:
Just Patchwork was staffed by friendly Australians, Gai and Elwin Taylor, specializing in joyful, dense, colorful applique on wool felt. 

I bought four balls of DMC perle cotton from this swimming pool of bliss....
I belong to SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associates); their booth wasn't selling anything but  memberships in a very worthwhile organisation, plus an opportunity to admire lots of small quilts.

What did I actually buy? The perle cotton candy was the most exciting purchase; plus some unusual solid shades of orange and green from Superbuzzy; the rest were practical - large spools of thread for my midarm from Superior Thread; midarm needles from HandiQuilter; and Glide thread from The Sew'n'Sew shop. The good thing about living next to a QuiltCon venue is that you can go home, check to see if you already have it, and then go back and only buy it if you need it.

Want to see more of the QuiltCon '18 vendors? Go to this page and click on the names in the list to learn about the company, and find their website.  

UPDATE: My next post, a report on the juried show, is now online here.


  1. So much information!!!! You must be on overload after the event. It looks so amazing. I would love to go some day. Thanks so much for sharing it!

    1. I hope you get to go, Rena! It is a blast! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I would have gone nuts for that perle cotton bin. Thanks for the overview! The sneaker pattern is by Latifah Saafir - it's called the Kicks quilt and she has a pattern out!

  3. Reading your blog was almost as good as being there! Thanks for the wonderful descriptions! This show is on my bucket list for the future. Is it really only every second year?

    1. It's annual, but the location alternates, between Nashville, Tennessee and Pasadena, CA. Lucky for me I live next to Pasadena!

  4. Overwhelmed is EXACTLY how I felt after QuiltCon East last year! Your pictures of the charity quilts are wonderful.

    1. Thank you, SLM! It would be interesting to find out how QuiltCon East is different from the West!? More/fewer vendors, attendees, etc.

  5. Thanks, Jessica, I'll add the info to the post - much appreciated! Yes, the perle cotton bin threatened my sanity. Decisions, decisions!

  6. great, now I want to go. What absolute fun. LeeAnna

    1. I'm costing you money, LeeAnna! If you come to Pasadena, I'll take you out to dinner to make up for it!

  7. I N V U!!!!!! But I did get really overwhelmed looking at the vendors. Yeah, right, no financial relationship other than a typical woman's relationship, you give and give (money that is). Thanks for keeping us in the loop! Love to Saraj and Miriam! Hugs to you!

  8. Wow, wow, wow! So much to look at. I loved the challenge quilts in those bold colors. Beautiful work. I would have bought that dotted ombré. Thanks for sharing. I know it’s a lot of work to do a post with so many pictures.

    1. Oy, wait til you see my next post, Norma. I'm furiously resizing for Blogger!

  9. Thank you so much for the info, made me feel like rushing out and buying some fabric (oh, wait, I already did that today)! I really want to go sometime....

    1. Resist! Resist! Resist! You can shop at Nashville 2019!

  10. Thank you for those great photos, so good to see what was there, the quilts and the shopping

  11. Thanks Cathy for a fabulous trip through QuiltCon- on my bucket list!

    1. Hopefully they will get even bigger and better! Nashville is closer to you...