Trends in Modern Quilting: QuiltCon 2017


I am just back from QuiltCon and still basking in the glow we all shared at this unique show. For those who were lucky enough to attend, you know what I mean. For a few glorious days, we “Moderns” were surrounded by others who get our obsession with fabric and thread. And thanks to the MQG, hundreds of volunteers, amazing teachers, unique vendors, generous sponsors, and a convention center filled to the brim with quilts, my soul was fed.

Although I went by myself, I was never alone. Modern quilters are kind, generous, and outgoing. Fellow quilters adopted me for lunches and dinners. We shared rides, walked back to our hotels together, struck up conversations at the airport lounge, and congratulated the winners. Thanks to prominent name tags, this is a place where, like the bar in Cheers, everybody knows your name.

For those who had an armchair view from home, here’s a quick perspective of the show. And if you want to see a sampling of quilts from the show, check outQuiltConmagazine when you have a chance.

Bling by Katherine Jones

Color is King, but Value adds Value…

Katherine Jones’ show stopping quilt illustrates that adage perfectly. The quilt, entirely paper pieced and machine quilted on her domestic Bernina sewing machine, is a study in value and a testament to persistence. Katherine’s estimate is that it took approximately 160 hours to piece the top, and that doesn’t count the additional hours of designing and planning, or the backbreaking work of machine quilting a piece so large. Color placement, specific value shifts, and serendipity made this quilt sparkle. I spoke with one of the judges who said this quilt was hands-down the winner.

Other quilts with great value changes worth noting?

Modern quilts with great value changes

Yes! From left to right: “Round Peg, Square Hole” by Krista Hennebury, “Blellow” by Jessie Womble, and  “Fireworks” by Jeannie Jenkins.

Compassion is Palpable

Thanks to the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild, the booth celebrating Quilts for Pulse was a moving and reverent tribute to the outpouring of generosity and love for the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. More than 1,700 quilts were made for the LGBTQ community, and the booth was decorated with photos of them arranged in hearts.

"Autumn is Wistful" by Chawne Kimber

Autumn is Wistful and detail by Chawne Kimber

Handwork is Back

One of the strongest categories in the show was Handwork. Check out Chawne Kimbers Autumn is Wistful, a collaboration with poet Autumn Kent. It is beautifully executed and amazingly poignant. In addition to the great hand stitched quilts in the show, the vendors with embroidery kits, specialty threads, and EPP products were all busy let me rephrase that they were mobbed.

Modern quilt featuring all 270 Aurifil thread colors.

“270 Colors” by Cheri Cifaldi-Morril

Speaking of Vendors…

Check out Cheri Cifaldi-Morril’s quilt, “270 Colors”,  featuring all 270 Aurifil threads. Amazing. And how about fabric giveaways, make-and-takes, and unique hand-dyes ? I love seeing what everyone scoops up at the shows.

Note to self…

Next year (Yes! I am going again next year!), I’m planning on taking advantage of more that QuiltCon has to offer.

Tips for attending QuiltCon

  • Download the App: MQGs mobile app was really helpful and well designed.
  • Register Early: Classes fill up very quickly. If you want to get a class, register the day it opens!
  • Go to the award ceremony: Share the joy with the winners!
  • Fashion stops at the knee: Wear sneakers!
  • Whats your name? Make sure you get a name tag and wear it. Having your name visible is an advantage to your social media friends who know you by name and not by face.
  • My best advice? Show your stuff: I carried a MQG tote bag that I embellished with hand embroidery. This was a conversation starter and broke the ice with other quilters. It got me invited to lunch, helped pass the time in line for transportation, and ended up on several Instagram feeds.

Whether you made it to Savannah for QuiltCon this year or not, you’ll enjoy perusing the pages of QuiltCon magazine if you love modern quilting. Order your copy to remind yourself of this amazing showing of modern quilts, whether you attended in person or via social media. Or better yet, download your copy for instant quilting inspiration.

vivika hansen denegre

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