Wednesday 11 March 2015

QuiltCon Recap 2: The People

One of the highlights of QuiltCon for me was finally meeting lots of quilty bloggy friends in person.  A couple of people asked me what it was like meeting online friends in person, and whether people were different to the way they portrayed themselves online.  Without exception, everyone I met was either exactly the way they seem online or even nicer.  

I travelled to QuiltCon with my friend Anne (@ihaveafabricproblem), and we met fellow kiwis Rachel (@rachelwoodenspoon and Wooden Spoon Quilts) and Deb (@deb_trail and Deb's Doodlings) in San Francisco.

  With Amanda from Everyday Fray, Anne (ihaveafabricproblem), Deb from Deb's Doodling, Anne from Play Crafts and Rachel from Wooden Spoon Quilts

Last year Amanda from Everyday Fray visited New Zealand as part of a big trip with her husband.  They stayed at Rachel's place for one night and Anne and I caught up with them for dinner when they were in Wellington.

Amanda lives in the Bay Area and kindly offered to take us out on a bit of a fabric tour.  Since Anne from Play Crafts lives quite locally as well, we met at The Intrepid Thread and snapped this photo of us all together.  As well as The Intrepid Thread, we made a stop at Joann's (where I stocked up on lots of DS Quilts fabrics that you can't buy here) and a lovely quilt shop in Berkley called Stonemountain and Daughter.  We also had a tour of Berkley and yummy ice-cream sandwiches with warm cookies - it was a truly awesome day and I know I'll remember it for a long time to come.  Thank you Amanda, for being a wonderful tour guide and friend.

Day 1 fabric shopping haul (not all mine!)

This is the all the fabric we bought between the four of us that day, laid out on my hotel room bed after we got back in the evening.  I'm not telling who bought what fabric!

Aussie QuiltCon contingent dinner

In the lead up to QuiltCon, we managed to get ourselves added to the Aussie QuiltCon Contingent Facebook group (even though Australia and New Zealand ARE different countries - a common point of confusion apparently).  The Aussie girls were an absolute hoot and we met loads of them at their official (and very well organised) dinner the night before QuiltCon started.

With Jess from Quilty Habit

I had a pretty full class-load, and I'll share more about the classes I took in another post.  However, in a rare moment of sanity, I deliberately left Friday completely free for checking out the quilts, perusing the vendor hall and meeting people.  I ran into Jess from Quilty Habit in the morning, and we just had to have a photo together.

With Leanne from She Can Quilt 

Leanne from She Can Quilt is a long-time blogging friend so it was exciting to finally meet her in person.  We ended up spending a bit of time together, which was awesome.  Leanne has really developed her own quilting style and it was awesome to recognise her quilts in the show (one of which took out first prize for Minimalist Design).  I also had lunch with Leanne one day and we ended up sitting with Lee, Faith and Krista.  I was still trying to play it cool at that stage and didn't get a photo with them but it was lovely to meet them.  I gave up trying to pretend I was cool pretty quickly after that and started getting more photos with people!

With Jess from Elven Garden Quilts 

Jess from Elven Garden Quilts is a really talented quilter and one of the sweetest people you'll meet.  We walked the vendor hall together and I decided to be Jess' PR person for the day.  It's far easier to talk someone else up than to talk yourself up, so I had a blast telling people how talented Jess is.

Sarah from Stitching and Bacon 

I kept running into Sarah (Stitching and Bacon) and then I realised that her awesome hand-made bag had cats on it, made out of cat fabric! Hello new friend!  We sat next to each other in a class as well and she is truly lovely.

With Nicole from Mama Love Quilts. 

I met Nicole from Mama Love Quilts for lunch on Friday and we spent the afternoon wandering the show as well.  We spent some time looking at the quilts but also spent a lot of time chatting to people!  Nicole's quilt also won a prize, taking second place in the Minimalist Design category.

Mexican-Korean fusion food truck. 

I ran into Rossie at the show and she invited me to come to dinner with a group of her friends who were going to check out an area with a bunch of food trucks.  I'm so glad she invited me (umm and also that she knew who I was - thank you Rossie!), her friends were awesome, we saw the famous Austin bats which live under a bridge and come out at dusk, the food was delicious, I took my first Uber ride and we had ice-cream.  Fun times!

Getting ice-cream at Amy's. 

This is Dorie from Tumbling Blocks ordering ice-cream at Amy's, a quirky ice-cream place where the staff wore quirky hats and juggled ice-cream (not always successfully).  From memory, the others in the group were Maritza, Jenna, Sarah, Emily, Rebekah, Melissa and Cheryl.

With the pinprov bee girls. 

Since we had five out of six Pinprov Bee members together, we had to take a photo.  From left to right, Alyce, me, Elisabeth, Gemma and Jess.  Together with Janice (Better off Thread), we have the most relaxed quilting bee and it was so nice to get to meet these girls that I feel like I've gotten to know so well over the last year or so.

With Rachel from Snippets of Sweetness and Debbie from A Quilter's Table

On the last day of QuiltCon, Anne and I had an impromptu breakfast meet-up with Debbie from A Quilter's Table and Rachel from Snippets of Sweetness - so much fun.

Now that I'm back home and looking through these photos, it seems strange that I won't be seeing these friendly faces all the time.  I feel like I should be running into these quilty people at the fabric shop, or at guild meeting, or even in the supermarket.  I love living in New Zealand, but it does bring home just how far away from everywhere else we are.  I'm definitely prioritising more travel in the future!

There are loads of awesome people I spent time with at QuiltCon who I didn't manage to get a photo with and people who I wish I'd had more time to hang out with.  If you're not in this post, it's not because I didn't love meeting you, it's because I just couldn't include everyone (even though I would ship you all over here in a minute if I could!).  One of the hardest parts (for a confirmed introvert like me) was trying to balance the socialising with my need to have quiet time (and, you know, sleep).  I think I opted to socialise over quiet time and I definitely suffered for it one day when I really ran out of steam (this happened to most people at some stage which made me feel a bit better).

I will almost certainly be back at QuiltCon at some stage.  On one hand the move from a biennial event to an annual event is awesome, and I hope it means more people can attend.  On the other hand, I don't think there will be such a big international contingent at each QuiltCon, and a central point to meet quilty friends from around the world is definitely part of the appeal for me.

So, did you go to QuiltCon this year and are you planning to attend in future?  Even if you didn't get to QuiltCon, have you been to any quilting events where meeting people was one of the highlights?

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HeathersSewingRoom said...

Really enjoyed reading all about QuiltCon and I think maybe it is a show to put into the calendar. The shows I have been to in the past have all been in Australia where it has been a time to meet up with quilting friends from past quilt groups. So much fun.

Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl said...

Balance on the socializing front was definitely very hard at QuiltCon. I know I crashed! I realized after the event was over that I am really sad that there are not going to be SewDown events any more; it was a smaller group of people and we sewed! It was a much better way (for an introvert like me) to meet people and put myself out there, but to also have some on site therapy ready to go in the form of fabric and sewing.

Charlotte said...

it was so lovely to meet you (albeit too brief!)

Camilla said...

It looks great! I'd love to go at some future date, tho' must admit as I am also a bit of an introvert it does sound a wee bit overwhelming; I'm not quite so in with other bloggers not having put as much time and effort into blogging as you, so might be a bit shy to introduce myself. Perhaps it would be a good way to meet others and enjoy being part of the online community, or maybe better if you already feel quite involved?
Loving reading your impressions of Quilt Con

Robyn said...

I'm glad you got to meet Bacon Sarah, you two are totally cat fabric/quilt kindred spirits! :)

Becky (My Fabric Obsession) said...

Looks like it was so much fun! I love that you were PR person for Jess, so funny.
I haven't gone to a quiltcon type event yet. Torn between spending my money on the travel or saving for a longarm! :)

Leanne said...

It was wonderful to get to spend some time with you!

lalaluu said...

I am totally kicking myself for not going this year since Austin is just right down the road for me, and everyone's posts about their experiences have been enlightening, interesting, and full of great quilts and great people (as well as great food! ;P). That said, I wouldn't mind making a trip to Pasadena next year; I just need to plan a whole lot better than I did this year! I would love to meet bloggers I regularly follow, though I think it would be awkward and somewhat stalker-ish to randomly start up a conversation with someone I haven't been introduced to, unless we were sharing an elevator or waiting in line at a food truck or something. Does Pasadena have food trucks??? ;)

SarahZ said...

Super fun post! It is really fun to see how paths crossed! I will probably never go to a QuiltCon...unless it were to be held really close, but one of these days I would love the opportunity to meet folks I've blogged with and admired from afar :)

Little Island Quilting said...

I've loved reading everyone's QuiltCon posts and yours have been no exception. I had no idea you were an too ;-)
I would love to go one year but as long as it remains in our school holidays, I'm afraid it will have to wait until our daughters no longer want to go on holiday with us. It may be a wee while yet!

Lee said...

So glad we ran into you for lunch, Adrianne! And that bbq was AMAZING! : )

Leonie said...

Just caught up on your posts about the Quiltcon. Wow - looks like an absolutely wonderful experience and hoorah for meeting so many awesome people! Looks like an absolutely fantastic experience all round!

Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts said...

I love that you were one of the very first people I ran into, coincidentally at check in on the Wednesday night :)

Jessica said...

Glad to hear you had an amazing experience, it seems it was a really meaningful trip for those I follow who travelled over from our part of the world. I had planned to go this year, was just about ready to book along with all the Aussie contingent when I found out my boss was pregnant and due right before QuiltCon and with that all hope of making it over disappeared. I was a little bit glad I didn't have to get up at stupid o'clock to book into sessions, and felt no pressing need to enter a quilt but then as all the excitement and preparation posts started popping up I wished I about to have a small break from being flat out doing 2 jobs. The real killer was seeing all the airport photos, for whatever reason that was the straw that broke the camels back. I wanted to be stepping on a plane so bad! I enjoyed watching posts from afar but only from those I already follow, I didn't seek out any more than that. I know there's always next year and the years to come, there's lots of great things at QuiltCon and great people to meet but I wonder if, like you mentioned, there will ever be such a strong Aussie/NZ contingent to travel with and share that close experience with, feels like I missed the boat (or plane as it were).

Jess @ Elven Garden Quilts said...

I LOVED hanging out with you Adrianne, it was one of the highlights of my QuiltCon experience. I'd be more than happy to employ you as my PR person too ;o) This is such a lovely post, it brought back so many awesome memories. It's especially nice reading your blog now that I know what you sound like!!