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Retreat Report: Quilt Con 2013

In the three weeks since last I blogged:

(1) I went to QuiltCon (yay!)

(2) I returned home from QuiltCon to a very sick boyfriend who had an emergency appendectomy that night.  (Yuck!) But he’s okay! (Yay!)

(3) I had a grueling week at work due to (a) it just being the time of year where a lot is going on; (b) chaos on the homefront due to emergency surgery; (c) needing to prepare at work for a my absence –a vacation that I might or might not be going on, depending on the pace of the boyfriend’s recovery.

(4) I went on a weeklong cruise of the Caribbean   (Yuck:  I’m just not into this sort of manufactured vacation + I can’t tolerate much heat or sun or sunscreen + oh my god all the people all the time.  Yay: the boyfriend was happy + his family is fun + I really need to relax and not complain about being a guest on a luxury cruise).

What. a. month.

Some thoughts:

Who is this handsome minutes before having their appendix out?  Ridiculous.

Handsome and headed for an appendectomy

If you saw this quilt in person, you probably noticed that the quilting has tension issues.  Quilting is my growth area for sure, but I’m just not one to undo and redo things.  I mean, it’s a blanket and I had fun making it.  And I learned from making it.  Anyway, I do wish that I had put some note about the quilting in the description or maybe called the quilt “Tension Issues” just so that people knew that I knew it’s not “right.” I’m so happy with good enough.  It seems like lots of folks aren’t, and I want to talk about that.  Is there a “right” amount of concern over craftsmanship? I figure as long as you think about it and work on improving, that’s good.


“Is it okay to make a quilt just to amuse yourself?”  I actually found myself asking a friend this at QuiltCon.  Because I’m planning a quilt based on The Nanny.

The Nanny Quilt begins

The fabric is piled up.

Nanny Quilt fabric pull

The plan is in my brain.
A variation on the X and + quilt.
It’s probably going to be hideous, but I will love it.
It’s going to have voice boxes sewn into it, with Fran’s laugh and Fran’s voice and maybe the theme song.  I’m going to see if I can get the quilting to look like her hair.

Anyway, wasn’t my question silly?  Of course it is okay to make a quilt just for a laugh.

Denyse Schmidt.  Her first book really started it for me.  And by “it” I mean being truly passionate about quilts.  It was such a pleasure to see her quilts in person.  There are so many little things that pictures have a hard time capturing.  Do you see the red quilting thread and the slight changes in the saturation of the purple?  These quilts are an absolute feast.

Denyse Schmidt's Quilt close up

I also got to take Denyse’s improv class.  Which was awesome.  Because while I’m totes comfy with improv, I loved seeing her process and hearing her words. I learned a lot, as it turns out, and have more options and ways of seeing things now.


And at lunch that day, I ran into Denyse on the show floor, right by my quilt and I was so chuffed to show it to her.

Me and Denyse and my quilt

The Conversation Quilt was selected for the “Best of QuiltCon” traveling quilt show, so if you weren’t at QuiltCon but are going to be at HMQS in Salt Lake City, or Sisters in Sisters, Oregon or Patchwork Europe in France, look for it there!

This was my favorite quilt in the show, The Big O by Latifah Saafir (co-founder of The Modern Quilt Guild, she blogs (rarely) at The Quilt Engineer).

The Big O by Latifah Saafir

I got to say “hi” to Latifah at QuiltCon only so briefly and tell her how much I love her work.

If there’s one thing I could change about my time in Austin, it would be to have more time to just hang out with people–old friends and new.

I also took a printing class with Lotta Jansdotter and a class on piecing curves with Sherri Lynn Wood.  I loved them both and really hope to have the opportunity to take more classes in the future. Learning and working in community is so much fun.

My print being photographed by Lotta Jansdotter


Sherri Lynn Wood

Cabela’s has a pretty wide selction of UPF clothes (sunscreen clothes) that are okay looking.  And you can wear them on an excursion to Chichen Itza and be okay even in the blazing sun, even when dork dancing at the Temple of 1000 Columns.

chichen itza



Zoltar predicts that the coming month will be much more relaxed!


This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. i always love hearing about other people who don't like the heat or sun. it makes me feel like less of a weirdo. and i loved seeing both of your quilts in person. i didn't notice the tension issues at all, but quilting is also not my forte. but then, i like seeing irregularities in quilts. if they were all perfect they'd be boring.

    1. You are not alone! I love misty, cool climates the best!

      As Cinzia commented below, perfectionism can stifle creativity. I try to focus on speaking with my own voice (however imperfectly) rather than trying to be perfect and letting perfection limit my options.

  2. i agree with your comment about craftsmanship…if we get bogged down with perfectionism, it stifles creativity. it prevents from trying and thus we never have the chance to improve.

    I will be seeing your quilt in Europe, alongside mine.

    1. Thank you! I do think craftsmanship is important, but it is also so important stretch and grow and make mistakes so we can learn from them.

      Oh, how fun that you'll get to see the quilts in Europe! Congratulations on having your quilt go on tour. I look forward to finding out what is travelling.

    1. Thanks for the tip! I've heard that the ones that go up the inland rivers are gorgeous!

      There's an advertisement for Viking River Cruises that airs before Masterpiece Theater (Downton Abbey) and some of the images make me want to try a river cruise. Small ship, focus on learning, not so over-the-top…I might be convinced!

  3. Hi, I was helping out a tiny little bit to get the quilts down after show and take mine home again, well & safe, and that is were I got to pack your full stops quilt back into its sack. It was one of my favorites, quilting and all, and it felt great! Soft and lovely. Hope you got it back safely!

  4. Rossie – I think that there are quilters that over think, over critique, over analyze. If you are using your quilt as a piece of art – we do not go to a museum and say how we would paint someone else's painting differently or make it better in some fashion. It is an interpretation. I am glad to hear that sometimes you feel that your work 'is good enough', that is exactly how I feel. My quilting could use improvement, and I'm interested in tips but I also quilt for my own enjoyment and to be able to give to others; not so someone else can tear me down. Keep doing what you want to do, that is how you will keep enjoying what you do.

    Glad your BF is well and mending. Emergency surgery is scary.

    Cruising – my first cruise was on a big behemoth ship, we did not enjoy but saw the potential. We chose a much smaller ship the next cruise and stops where we could scuba dive, but could not afford to go to that place for a land vacation. Now we have done that cruise 3 times, we love to dive – but coming back to comfy beds and food we know what it is (most of the time). A smaller ship was the ticket for us.


    1. Thanks so much, Mary. I really don't have any problem with a person saying that they would make my quilt differently or "better" because at least then they are thinking about making something! I think there is so much to be learned from making and from just accepting what we make for what it is. No one said a mean thing to me about it, though perhaps they did to others.

      I think my dream vacations will always be shady and land-based, though its good to hear that there are a variety of cruise experiences out there!

  5. I just *love* both of your show quilts. "Long Conversation" especially intrigues me, but the green of the other draws me in. I also totally love that you don't let criticism get to you. 😀 Who cares if a quilt's not perfect when it talks to you??

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