Tag Archives: QuiltCon 2016


On Thursday I shared about my first class at QuiltCon. After a one hour dinner break, my second class on the first day was English Paper Piecing with Johanna Masko. Again I ended up in class with a guildmate, which I enjoyed. Our whole table was filled with lovely people. I think we chatted more in this class due to some combination of the late hour and not having sewing machines between us.

Johanna asked us to introduce ourselves and share why we chose to take the class. A number of people before me shared that they love handwork. When it was my turn I promptly shared that I do not like handwork, but that I am at a stage in life where I keep finding myself in places where it would be beneficial to have a handwork project to bring along. I have no grand dreams of queen-sized hexie quilts, but I'm pleased to have added a skill to my repertoire. I'd like to get a hexie kit together to keep in the car for the times that I am a few minutes early to school pickup, or I'm waiting for the kids at a class.

It was a great beginning class, focused on how to English Paper Piece without purchasing specialized templates or tools. Johanna led us in making our own templates and we used the freezer paper method for prepping our hexies before sewing them. I had a little trouble with the freezer paper coming loose and moving around as I was trying to baste them, so I might try paper templates and use wonder clips to keep the edges folded over while I baste. I'm pleased at the progress I made that night. I still need to throw the pile into the car so I'll have them with me when I want them. I'm still just not likely to sit down with handwork at home. (I don't even hand sew my binding most of the time!)


A few more of my favorites from the show. This first one is Samarra Khaja's Candy Dots quilt, from the Minimalist Design category of the show. My photo doesn't adequately illustrate the 3D design of the dots. That lovely shadow on the lower portion of the dots was simply the shadow that the overhead lighting cast from the raised dots. (I missed getting a close-up photo of Samarra's artist statement.)

The next two are from the Michael Miller Glitz challenge. (I showed off another from the challenge in my last post.) First, my friend Tami Levin's Putting on the Glitz. I admired this on IG and then was excited to see it in person at a guild meeting. It was so fun to see it hanging in the show. I just love it. Her design. Her choice of pop colors. Her perfect quilting! Tami's artist statement reads:

The Michael Miller challenge fabrics reminded me of the glitz from Art Deco designs. Keeping that in mind I wanted the overall look to be on pointe. The squares were a bit too static which is why I opted to slash organize sub sections on the diagonal for each block. They were filled with contrasting solids that made me think of trees wrapped in fairy lights during the winter months, thus the surrounding white corner triangles.

This next one is Linked In by Julie Anderson. I really loved the geometric design of the rectangular links. And the quilting was a perfect complement to her design. Julie's artist statement reads:

Linked in... Even before creating the piece I wanted to challenge myself to use a piece from each fabric that was a part of the challenge set.

Linking all the squares and rectangles together before machine appliquéing them to the background.


Giveaway *closed*

I'm sharing some of my goodies from QuiltCon with one of you. I'll draw one winner on March 24th at 1pm PST out of all entries on my five posts about my QuiltCon classes. (This is the second of the five posts.) The drawing is open to everyone. To enter, please comment below and tell me your best EPP tip. If you don't English Paper Piece, share a general quilting tip. Followers can get a second entry by posting a second comment to tell me how you follow me (Bloglovin', Instagram, etc.). Thank you! Thank you to everyone who entered. The winner is Anja of Anja Quilts!


It's about time that I start sharing about what I made at QuiltCon. I'm no longer exhausted just thinking about the whirlwind that was my first QuiltCon experience. I'm working on some other deadline sewing and just itching to get back to playing with my newest projects that were started at QuiltCon.

I dove in with a 6-hour class on Thursday, Intermediate Improv: Crosses, Cabins and Colors with Rossie Hutchinson. I had the pleasure of being in class with a couple of my guildmates, which was great since I only joined the Silicon Valley Modern Quilt Guild chapter in October and I'm still getting to know people. Rossie was delightful. She packed in a great amount of content with the perfect balance of instruction time and sewing time. In the first three hours of the class she taught her techniques for improv crosses, liberated log cabins and quartered log cabins, giving us time to complete at least one of each of these blocks. The afternoon included additional sewing time and instruction on color palettes and composition within a project, as well as details about combining odd-sized and irregular blocks to put it all together. Everything Rossie had to say was invaluable. She was also a lovely person and an entertaining speaker. I would take any class she taught in the future!

We started with the crosses. They go together quickly and only require choosing two fabrics  at a time (that contrast in color or value) as the blocks are constructed in pairs. I opted for 11" tall blocks, which will be pieced into rows in the final project. This was the project that I spent most of my extra sewing time working on. It was rewarding to see the pile of blocks add up so quickly. My fabric pull for this block was centered around the multi-color floral print you see in the second photo below. The majority of my stash is blenders, so I started with the floral to set my palette and chose my other fabrics from there, looking for a range of values and multiple fabrics in each of the colors.

The second block we worked on felt most challenging to me. A liberated log cabin has so many options. I consider the block I made incomplete, both because I don't like the pink as the final border and because I'd want to work with larger sized blocks, but this isn't a project I intend to pursue right now. I loved Rossie's sample for this block, but I think I'd do better with this type of project at home where I could spread out in my sewing room and work on multiple blocks at once. I think the benefit of working on multiple blocks at once would be seeing what patterns emerge. I didn't really have a plan as I worked on this block. You see I chose to work with a different palette (since I couldn't decide on just one for the class, I brought two), chosen around the Cotton & Steel Viewfinders fabric, and already in my incomplete block I've used 6 different fabrics. The other benefit of working on multiple blocks at once would be using the extra bits from one block in the construction of the other block, which I think would allow for some cohesion from the beginning. I didn't dislike this block technique. I just liked the other two better. I think this block is destined for my orphan block box for the time being. :-)

Our third block for class was the quartered log cabin. After the unlimited options of the liberated log cabin block, I liked moving on to this one since it required using only five fabrics per block. The construction was also relatively simple and fast. (Read Rossie's post with her tutorial on the Quartered Log Cabins.) I opted to use the same Cotton & Steel Jacks fabric for all my center squares. I made three blocks, that were then cut in quarters to make these twelve units, so I would have enough pieces to play with composition a bit. I'll definitely continue to work on this one. Here's what I've got so far from class.

One of my favorite take aways from this class was Rossie's perspective of "what can you add to it to fix it?" with regard to color. There was also an informal discussion in class about what we stash and cutting loose fabrics we don't love. I added, "you'll never use a fabric you don't love to try to fix something that you're trying to love." As I mentioned above, I mostly stash blenders. That's simply because that's what I'm drawn to in the shop and they are so easy for me to use. I've worked on my stash over the last year and there are two big things that have helped me. My first tip is: Have it all visible. (You can see most of mine in this post.) You can't use what you don't know you have. Also, it's easy to see what your gaps are. My second tip is: Purge what you don't love anymore. You may have loved it before, but if you don't now, get rid of it. I have used some up making quick gifts. I've given some to friends. I've donated some. You could also sell it or trade with friends.

Interested in more about how Rossie designs with color? Here's her blog post about her participation as this month's Mighty Lucky Quilting Club instructor.


I wanted to take an opportunity in each of my class posts to share some of the quilts I enjoyed at QuiltCon. This first one is Windmill Explosion and is the Silicon Valley Modern Quilt Guild charity quilt that I contributed to. It was so much fun to see the amazing variety of quilts on display for the charity quilt challenge. I didn't take nearly enough pictures of all of them.


This next one was in the show in the Michael Miller Glitz Fabric Challenge division. The quilt is called Better Together and was made by Laura West Kong. It won two beautiful ribbons, 3rd place in the division and Judge's Choice. I have been drawn to ampersands lately, as my 5-year-old son is really excited about them. I love the composition in this quilt with the use of dark and light, and the bright colors in the ampersand. The combination of improv technique with careful planning is amazing. I loved Laura's message as well. The artist statement reads:

My inspiration for this quilt is a celebration of diversity. It's so hard to believe that in 2016 we haven't learned to accept and embrace each other's differences. Our differences make this world a richer, more wonderful place. You AND me. No discrimination. No division. Complementing each other. Better together. Not apart.

Making this quilt was a challenge both emotionally for what it meant to me, and technically, because although it's an improvisational design, it also required a great deal of precision.

And because those ribbons are such amazing works of art themselves, a closeup of them.


Giveaway *closed*

I'm sharing some of my goodies from QuiltCon with one of you. I'll draw one winner on March 24th at 1pm PST out of all entries on my five posts about my QuiltCon classes. (This is the first of the five posts.) The drawing is open to everyone. To enter, please comment below and tell me if you've tried improv and what your favorite improv block/style is. Followers can get a second entry by posting a second comment to tell me how you follow me (Bloglovin', Instagram, etc.). Thank you! Thank you to everyone who entered. The winner is Anja of Anja Quilts!




I left my family at home for a long weekend away to visit QuiltCon West. I've been home for four days and I think I'm still catching my breath. In short, QuiltCon was awesome. I'm both inspired and overwhelmed. So. Much. Awesome.

I flew down to Pasadena on Wednesday, checked into the hotel, checked into the conference and grabbed dinner. I proceeded to take 21 hours of workshops over the next three days, plus attending one panel, viewing the whole show and visiting vendor booths. My sister joined me on Friday, when I only had one 3-hour workshop. I left Sunday morning to fly home in time to spend a lovely afternoon with the kiddos, lego shopping and eating out. Did I mention that I'm still tired?

As QuiltCon approached I worried that I hadn't left myself any time for socializing. All three evenings I was in workshops, so there was no option for dinner meet-ups. Luckily I ended up in workshops with some members of my Modern Quilt Guild, as well as a couple quilt blogger friends who I hadn't yet met in real life. It was nice to get to know people a little better as well as meet some new friends, but I will definitely not be over-scheduling myself to this degree next time I make it to QuiltCon. I think I missed a lot of great stuff in the lecture and panel offerings, too. I've caught bits of a couple lectures through social media which I've enjoyed. That said, the workshops were great. I started fun new projects and learned some new skills. More on that soon, plus an opportunity to win some of my QuiltCon swag (so be sure you're following the blog so you don't miss those posts!). For now, check out the QuiltCon 2016 winners.

I'm linking up to the Week 3 Progress linkup for the 4x7 Sewing Challenge.