what I brought back

by Dorie on March 1, 2013

round robin quilt

You may be tired of hearing about quiltcon at this point. If so, please bear with me.

I want to talk about (and document) the things I’m taking away personally. It was fun, and it was really well run, and those things will be easy to remember. Here are smaller things I want to remember:

I want to pay more attention to the quilting part of quilting. Looking at all the quilts in the show, the way the quilting enhanced the whole quilt, it was really obvious and in your face. I can’t see as much looking at photos. I want to be better at machine quilting, and I want to get myself to relax with hand quilting.

Meaning and inspiration, the story behind, makes a quilt more interesting. Makes me want to track down the stories of quilts I see on flickr or instagram rather than simply hitting the like button.

I love a group quilt. The quilt that was on my mom’s bed when I was little was pieced by her college roommate and hand quilted by the roommate and 3 of her friends. They all embroidered their names in the corners. They were from Kentucky. This is the first quilt story I ever heard, and there’s something deep in my mind that this “doing together” is how quilting is. And so, I really loved my round robin class with Sherri Lynn Wood. She is an amazing teacher, with a vocabulary for talking about both improv and group quilting that makes the process approachable and meaningful. (A photo of my quilt from the class is at the top of this post.)

People of the internet are good in real life too. It feels weird to call people by their blog name, even though everyone is doing it.

Trying something without intending to master it can be really fun. Lotta Jansdotter’s printing class was more actual fun than I thought it would be. I will probably print again on my own. It had been years since I’d done printing. I think I was turned off by all the imperfection I was making. You would think that stenciling would be obvious, but I was doing it wrong. (Tap that brush hard!)

Quilting is a big world. It’s easy to be tempted by new fabrics, the newest “a-long”, some else’s inspiration trajectory. While I want to take part and share, I also don’t want to lose the things I’ve wanted to make. There is only so much time, and entirely too much goodness.

Denyse Schmidt’s talk made me remember all the things I like about “making do”. I’d forgotten lately, and was feeling grumpy about it. (See also, if your sewing machine does crappy machine quilting and you can’t get a fancy new one, try hand quilting. See also, garage sales.)

QuiltCon came from the internet. It’s a happy thing to be in a place where the successes of people who came from the internet are celebrated. I could see the consumer end of quilting meeting the grassroots end of quilting. It was an interesting place to be.


Alix March 1, 2013 at 11:11 pm

Hi Dorie, I really enjoyed reading your reflections and it made me appreciate a lot of things I got out of quiltcon but hadn’t stopped long enough to really wrap my heas around. Thanks for being so welcoming and I look forward to seeing what you’re up to next!

Dorie March 3, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Alix! So glad to have met you. Please instagram your wedding planning so we can all keep up :-)

cauchy09 March 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm

it was super fun to meet you! so sorry we didn’t get to chat more. i, too, saw the seam between the commercial and the not-so-commercial and wonder if there is a clash or more compatibility. particularly, is there clash in motivations for those who are in quilting for fun/expression rather than those who are in it to merchandise themselves? (there’s some overlap in those two categories, to be sure.)

Dorie March 3, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Definitely overlap. I find it mostly compatible – as a consumer I have much better options than I did 10 years ago, and I like to be able to support someone whose work I admire. I think that the conflict part is more individual and internal – that it’s felt most heavily by the maker of the quilt.

Lynn March 3, 2013 at 7:56 pm

This is one of my favorite QuiltCon recap posts. I love when you come back from an event with so many thoughts like this.

Dorie March 4, 2013 at 9:07 am

Thanks, Lynn. It was pretty intense quilt immersion, and I needed to do some distilling.

erin March 5, 2013 at 8:25 pm

i love this post. your take-aways seem spot on, even to me, who was not there.

Dorie March 7, 2013 at 8:12 am

Thank you, Erin.

beki March 12, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Oh man, I wish I had gone. It sounds like you brought back some good points.

Dorie March 15, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Next time!

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