Last month I was lucky enough to attend the Modern Quilt Guild's 5th annual QuiltCon in Pasadena, CA. I spent my 4 days volunteering a lot, attending a few lectures and classes, and looking at all of the quilts. So many quilts! For me, one of the most interesting things about attending a large quilt show is seeing all of the quilts in person - up close and in detail. So many times you see a picture of a quilt on social media and don't realize the size of the quilt, you don't see the quilting and piecing, you miss all the little things that make the quilt amazing.
This year Carolyn Friedlander was the keynote speaker and there was a special exhibit of her quilts and design process. I really enjoyed seeing her preliminary sketches and spent more than a minute studying the quilting that she did on her Tangelo quilt.
The quilt below is Carolyn's "Aerial Grove" quilt from her book "Savor Each Stitch." I had seen innumerable pictures of people working on their version of this quilt, but until I saw this quilt in person, I'm not sure if I ever really saw Carolyn's version. I absolutely love the simplicity of the negative space in her sketch, and also love how the quilt ended up - even though it actually doesn't have all the plain negative space. It has lots of negative space, but that space is all pieced with low volume fabrics and has a lot of multi-directional straight-line quilting.
In addition to the show quilts (which have been so photographed, that I won't bother to cover them here), and the special exhibits, there were also many, many charity quilts made by guilds across the world. All of these quilts had to use a set palette, and the theme was "modern traditionalism." Again with these quilts, I was struck by how much detail one would discover when you got right up close to the quilt.
The quilt below was made by the Tulsa MQG and is a play on the traditional "Trip Around the World" quilt. I found the design striking, but after passing by the quilt on my way to a class or lecture several time, one evening I actually stopped and looked at the quilt up close.
Look at what I discovered!
All those orange squares are actually 9-patch blocks, all the purple squares are made up of 9 little flying geese blocks and on and on. Each color in the quilt is made up of a different 9-patch mini-block. There are 9,999 pieces in this quilt. Wow.
The quilt above was made by the Melbourne MQG. There is a lot going on in this quilt, and it took several times walking past it before I stopped and studied all those tiny stars and the details they contained. See that striped star? At first I thought that was just made by strategic cutting of a purple and pink striped piece of fabric. But no - those are tiny little pieced half-square triangles making those stripes. Then see that little white star in the orange and yellow block? That was about the size of my finger nail.
These purple and magenta stars were amazing too. The strips that were used to make them were so thin. I could go on and on with pictures of detail in all the quilts I saw in Pasadena, but I won't. My main point here is that so much is shared on social media these days - everyone enjoys seeing beautiful quilt pictures, but if you get a chance to see a show in person, you need to do it! You'll come away with such a deeper appreciation of the quilts you saw.
The next QuiltCon will be in Nashville, March 21 - 24, 2019. I'll be there. You should go too!