Sunday, April 16, 2017

My A to Z of Quiltcon Savannah {Part 1}

This morning, as I prepared to ruin a second batch of sugary, buttery pralines in my quest to replicate the delicacies that had me salivating in Savannah (don't worry, I saved them just in time!) my thoughts turned to Quiltcon 2017.

I realised it's been a month since I arrived home, high time I took up the story of my amazing USA holiday where I left off.

If you haven't already done so, and you don't mind a few 'spoilers', you can always pop across to Linda's blog and read on. Unlike her scatty and disorganised friend here, she has conscientiously kept up with her blog posts, already sharing all the fun we had at Quiltcon and beyond.

So here's Part 1 of my A to Z of Quiltcon 2017 highlights!

A is for Awards Ceremony, early on the first day, necessitating a pre-dawn start for our drive from Hilton Head to the Savannah International Convention Centre. As slides of each award winning quilt flashed up on the screen there was much cheering for the winners, but I was most excited for Aussie quilters Katherine (Kat) Jones (@twocatsquilts), winner of Best in Show, and Jess Frost (@elvengardenquilts), winner of 3rd place in Improvisation.

"Scattered" by Jess Frost
B is for "Bling", Kat's stunning Best in Show winner. Measuring just under 100 inches square, it looks like a giant princess cut diamond. Kat paper pieced each of the four segments with an identical pattern, but using different shades of solids to cleverly replicate the subtle play of light on a real diamond. If you think it looks amazing here, believe me, it's breathtaking in real life!

"Bling" by Katherine (Kat) Jones
C is for celebration, something we Aussies do well! At the end of day 1 we were more than happy to raise a glass to Kat (centre in this photo) and Jess (back home in Australia). 
(L to R) Michelle Hickson, Di Jobbins (me), Katherine Jones, Lorena Uriarte and Monique Nugent
C is also for the warm and generous domestic machine quilting diva Christa Watson (@christaquilts), whose book, "The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting" (co-authored with Angela Walters), is one of my most valued references.
With Christa Watson
Since we live on different continents, and I may never have the opportunity to take a class with her again, I was super keen to soak up as much knowledge from Christa as I could.

So I attended both her lecture "Quilting on your Home Sewing Machine: Tips and Tricks", and her 3 hour class "Free-Motion Alternatives to Straight Line Quilting".

Her spray basting technique is one I'm definitely planning to try, and I was encouraged when she said she uses the same favourite double-batting combo as I do (cotton on the bottom/wool on the top). Yay! I was doing something right!

In her class she patiently taught us more than two dozen machine quilting designs, starting with drawing out a pattern in our sketchbooks, to machine stitching the design on a pre-prepared quilt sandwich. 

She even allowed us to fondle her quilts and see her work up close, without a white glove in sight!

 I'm in love with Christa's geometric chains, swirls (above) and pearls (below).

Pebbles and jagged stipples (below) 

And switchbacks, pebbles and swirls (below)

D is for domestic machine quilting , the subject of the hands-on class I took with Kathleen Riggins (@kathleenquilts), "A Cheater's Guide to Free Motion". 

With Kathleen Riggins
I may have been overdoing the quilting tuition just a tad, but, having flown more than 15,000km to be here, I was going for the full-immersion domestic machine quilting experience, keen to learn from all my quilting icons! 

I drool over pictures of Kathleen's work on Instagram and I follow her blog, but she's a longarmer, and I only quilt on a "mature-aged" domestic Bernina. So when I saw last year that she was teaching a class at Quiltcon using domestic, sit-down machines I grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

Here are some of my bumbling attempts at swirls and pebbles. Kathleen's class taught me many things, but most importantly the need to practice, practice, practice!

E is for "Every Quilter is a Teacher", the featured lecture by keynote speaker, Angela Walters. While dazzling us with slides of her amazing quilts, she also shared how her husband's grandpa, a quilter, had been her mentor. A warm and charismatic teacher herself, she encouraged us to nurture other quilters along this creative path. 

With Angela Walters (Don't you love that quilted chevron tote of hers!)
And she was happy to pose with this breathless fan-girl. How lovely is that!

More soon ;-)