QuiltCon Reconnaisance

This weekend's quilty adventure was attending QuiltCon in Pasadena, CA for 3.5 days of modern quilting fun.

The Quilts
After entering my quilts into QuiltCon only to have them all rejected two years in a row, I was really curious to learn more about the quilts that were accepted into the show and and see which won ribbons.  After experiencing the quilts first hand, I must confess that I am still just as perplexed as to how the Modern Quilt Guild (or perhaps QuiltCon organizers) define "modern quilting."  What criteria are the judges using to award ribbons:  pure design aesthetic? content?  story?  and/or technique?!?  Perhaps the term "modern quilt" is an ever moving target: one, where I feel as if I am always trying to catch up.

Despite these ongoing questions, I certainly found lots of amazing eye candy as I went through each row of quilts on display.  Let's start with the astounding display of charity quilts made by local chapters of MQG as well as a few individual members.  All were made using an assortment of fabrics in red, yellow and teal, as well as neutrals white, grey and black, creating an impressive exhibit along the hallway and lining two smaller convention rooms!  Below is just a small sampling of some of my personal favorites...
Charity Quilts (top left to bottom right):   1.  "Riverfire" by Brisband MQG, 2.  "Tipi" by Calgary MQG 3.  "Intermingle" by North Jersey MQG, 4. "35 Sisters" by Pittsburgh MQG 5.  No label  6.  "This Quilt is Our Quilt" by Tulsa MQG

Several trends and themes really appealed to my current design aesthetic:

1.  Transparency with Fabric
Transparency (top left to bottom right):  1.  "Wavelength" by Rebecca Bryan,  2.  "Modern Spelunking" by Stephanie Ruyle, 3. "Plaid on Point" by Jennifer Jones Rossotti,  4.  "Retroreflective" also by Stephanie Ruyle, 5.  "Lines Lost and Found" by Jennifer Rossotti, 6.  "Triangle Transparency" by Yvonne Fuchs, 7.  "Puttin' on the Glitz" by Gina Boyd, 8.  "Color Study (Triangles)" by Erika Mulvenna
I really love these!  Two of the quilts used the Interleave technique!  The other six quilters were able to create the transparency illusion through smart fabric selections.  This technique still alludes me and I would like to spend more time learning more the formula of choosing the right fabrics, as the overall effect is just spectacular!

There were also two quilts that used a white overlay to create the illusion of transparency.
Gina Pina's "Cut & Keep" quilt on right with two details on left
Gina's quilt card shared her technique for creating the illusion of opaqueness:   "This is an applique quilt where the pieces are between the quilt top and the batting.   I placed the pieces under the quilt top right before quilting on a long arm."  This is definitely a technique that I would like to try on a future quilt design as there are so many possibilities!!

2.  Slice and Insert Quilts
Slice and Insert (top left to bottom right):  1.  "Find Joy" by Nicole Maroon, 2.  "Putting on the Glitz" by Tami Levin, 3.  "Mid-Century Modern Quilt" detail by Jo Avery  4. "Moonlit Sticks and Stones" by Deborah Ross,  5 "Party Day and Night" by Anna Koelewyn
3.  Circles Around
Circular Designs (clockwise top left to bottom left):  1. "The Big Swirl" by Betsy Vinegrad, 2. "Grey Circle" by Serena Brooks, 3.  "Mid-Century Modern Quilt" by Jo Avery, 4. "One Earth" by Kathy York, 5. "Escapade" by Elaine Poplin,  6. "Twisted Sisters Quilt" Bee/Group quilt submitted by Stephanie Ruyle, 7. "November Nights" by Giedra Bowser, 8. "The Whole is Greater Than The Sum of Its Parts" by Cassandra Beaver, 9. "Shards" by Casey York
There were circles all around the show in various form and techniques:  pieced swirls, modern double wedding rings, applique and even finished border/binding.

4.  Triangles Throughout
Triangles were also found throughout the show, and not just limited to the EZ Quilting Triangle Challenge!
Triangles Throughout (top left to bottom right):  1. "Mod Mountains" by Susanne Williams 2. "Cut Diamonds" by Beth Shutty, 3. "Pointed Statement" by Amy Friend, 4. "Modern Dresden" by Lori Landenburger, 5. "Treetops" by Abigail Fuller, 6. "Diamond Quilts 2" by Tara Faughman, 7.  "Log Pyramid" by Linda Jankauskas
More Quilting Fun
Here are a few more cool quilts on display.
Fun Quilts (top left to bottom right):  1.  "The Color of Squares" by Juli Smith, 2. "Ephermera" by Jennifer Rossotti 3.  "Lots O'Dots" by Shari Cifaldi-Morrill, 4. "Value Does the Work" by Susan Hilsenbeck, 5.  "Flower Doodle" by Lindsey Neill
While I did not sign up for any workshops, I did attend eight lectures/panels.  They were all around awesome and left me feeling inspired and rejuvenated.  My personal favorite was Christina Cameli's "How to Love Free Motion" which offered witty relationship advice!

I also attended a lecture offered by Pamela Weeks, Quilt Historian, presenting her research on the quilts made by Molly Upton.  Molly (1953-1977) created a body of work that was truly ahead of her time!  Unfortunately, her quilting career was tragically cut short when she committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.  Pamela conducted research about Molly's life, her body of work/inspiration and process.  Molly's family helped with the research, generously loaned Molly's quilts for the special exhibit and were in attendance at the lecture and convention.
Molly Upton Exhibit (top right clockwise):  Blades (1974), Construction (1975) and Alchemy (1976)
While I took away a lot of inspiration from both the quilts and lectures, I also left with a few physical keepsakes, thanks to all the wonderful vendors and exhibitors!!  While the exhibitors were not permitted to sell any fabric, they had lots of give aways you could win by participating in their fun games.  Aurifil had an entire quilted board game!  Roll the dice and if you landed on a winning quilt block, you walked away with different size spools of Aurifil thread!  Other booths had spinning wheels and even a game of Plinko!  Others had samples of their fabric including Grunge's Bar and  Northcott's Charm Pack for a new quilt challenge.  In addition to fabric samples, they also had buttons, necklaces and miniature english paper piecing kits.  Of course, I supplemented these fun takeaways with a few small fabric and book purchases from the participating vendors!
QuiltCon mementos for me and the girls
These goodies will help me continue to celebrate my adventures at QuiltCon and stay inspired for more modern quilt designs!

Thank you to all the QuiltCon organizers, volunteers, vendors/exhibitors, quilters and presenters for a truly memorable weekend!


  1. It's interesting to read your reflections on QuiltCon. I like the way you grouped the photos and appreciate that you took the time to include the titles and makers. Good for you!

    1. It really is a lovely show with so much energy and enthusiasm! I took so many pictures and had a difficult narrowing down which to feature as they were all fabulous! The makers certainly should be proud of their designs and finished quilts...and receive appropriate credit! ;-)


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