QuiltCon

People and Connections {QuiltCon 2024}

Yes, the quilts are a huge draw at QuiltCon, but for me, the main reason I attend Quilt Con is the opportunity to connect in person with other quilters. It’s all about the people! A big part of my planning to attend QuitCon was spending time scheduling to meet with people for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and knowing when I’d be free to walk the show floor and visit the vendor booths.

The first part of this blog post is mostly for me. It’s record of the photos that I did manage to take with people (there were soooooo many quilters with whom I chatted, but we did not get a photo and that is okay because the conversation was the point). It might be a bit of navel gazing, but stick with me or skip over. At the end I have put together a discussion kind of post script, and I’d love to hear from you in the comments about your thoughts on how to be in person and in community with peers.

People

Walking the quilt show with my mom

Walking the quilt show with my mom (Prague 2 by Juli Smith @Zahada_Mod)

One of the highlights for me was having enough free time this year to spend walking the quilt show with my mom. My mom is also a quilter, and she was the one who had heard about QuiltCon and invited me to attend it with her in 2013. After 2013, I started working as a super volunteer to help setup the show, then I became part of the crew, and then I started teaching (while still being a part of the crew). As my time and involvement in the behind-the-scenes work ramped up, it mean I was busy in one capacity or another, and, at best, I had a few moments to blitz to the show floor and take a photograph with my mom by my quilt in the show. This year, I was not on crew and I was not teaching; I was just a regular attendee for the first time since 2015. Sure, I had things planned during my days at the show, but we had time to chat and look at the quilts together for the first time in YEARS, and while we didn’t walk the entire show together, it was a great way to spend some quality time with my mom.

Cheryl Brickey and Yvonne Fuchs

Cheryl Brickey and Yvonne Fuchs

My parents rented a VRBO house about a half hour drive north of the convention center, and my friend Cheryl Brickey stayed with us there. Cheryl and I chat daily using the Marco Polo app, but was an utter delight to catch up with her in person and spend most of my time while at the show with her.

Mariana (Sew Mariana), Yvonne (Quilting Jetgirl), and Cheryl (Meadow Mist Designs)

Mariana (Sew Mariana), Yvonne (Quilting Jetgirl), and Cheryl (Meadow Mist Designs)

I got to meet several of the clients that I do technical editing work for, like Mariana (Sew Mariana). Mariana was also a part of the Bountiful Bundle that Cheryl and I curated last November.

Yvonne, Mary, and Lorna

Yvonne, Mary (Quilting is in my Blood), and Lorna (my mom)

I had a delightful time getting to catch up with Quilting Jetgirl Patrons who were attending the show, and we also got a group photo together in front of my quilt.

Yvonne and Paula (A Quilter's Life Podcast)

Yvonne and Paula (A Quilter’s Life Podcast)

I got to meet up with Paula, who interviewed me for her A Quilter’s Life Podcast (you can listen to my episode here: April 4, 2022 – Yvonne Fuchs).

Patty (Elm Street Quilts) and Yvonne in front of Kelly Spell's beautiful quilt, Pink-A-Boo

Patty (Elm Street Quilts) and Yvonne in front of Kelly Spell‘s beautiful quilt, Pink-A-Boo

I was delighted that I saw both Patty (Elm Street Quilts) and Charles Cameron (@feltlikesweets – not pictured).

Mathew (@mx.domestic) and Yvonne

Mathew (@mx.domestic) and Yvonne

Mathew (@mx.domestic) gives fabulous hugs! It was a treat to meet them and get an opportunity to say hello in person.

Quilt Pattern Designers Breakfast

Quilt Pattern Designers Breakfast

The Quilt Pattern Designers Facebook group had a breakfast meetup on Saturday. Several people had left before we thought to get a group photo together.

They Only Come Out At Night by Janel Bendis @jaxjenelb

They Only Come Out At Night by Janel Bendis @jaxjenelb

While walking the show and enjoying the quilts, I had the pleasure and delight of seeing many artists with their quilts hanging in the show. Most of the time I took a photograph of them beside their quilt with their phone or camera, but I snapped this photo of Janel @jaxjenelb beside her first quilt to be juried into the show, They Only Come Out at Night. Congratulations, Janel, and may this be the first of many of your quilts accepted to show at QuiltCon!


Connections

It is an utter delight for me each and every time someone stops me to say hello. Thank you so much for being brave and making that connection. I know that sometimes I had places I needed to be and was moving quickly, and we all start to get tired after being around people in such an overstimulating environment, but it is my sincerest hope that everyone who said hello to me last weekend walked away from our interaction feeling as delighted by the in person connection as I did.

I heard a few people mention that this was a great “come back” year for me. I was very confused about what that meant. I will admit that I did not attended QuiltCon in 2022 and 2023 for various personal reasons. Mostly, I did not attend due to COVID. But also, without teaching or doing something else to help offset the cost of travel and attendance, I cannot really afford to attend QuiltCon every year. So I suppose that on one hand this was my first year as a pure attendee in years (and that might be viewed as a come back?), this was my first year to attend after a few years absence (and that might be viewed as a come back?), and while I have been so lucky to have a quilt juried into QuiltCon every year since 2016, I happened to win one of the top awards this year (and that might be viewed as a kind of come back?)? I’m not sure. What I do know is that it left me feeling confused and concerned that there is a form of elitism surrounding the attendance of QuiltCon that is not healthy.

I think that it is very important that I acknowledge the absolute privilege required to have the time and financial resources to attend QuiltCon.

As an individual member of the MQG, I do not have a local quilt guild or local quilters with whom I am in community. My community is all online, and I am deeply grateful for each and every one of you who reads my blog posts, gets my newsletters, or follows me on any social media app (like Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube). Because I am a solo quilter 99.9999% of the time, the opportunity to spend time with quilters in person at an event like QuiltCon is something that I treasure.

Now, does that mean that I think everyone should try to attend QuiltCon? No, certainly not. I do hope that we are all able to make in person quilting connections in one way or another, but that doesn’t have to require expensive travel and lots of time. Local quilt guilds (if you are lucky enough to have them) are a fabulous opportunity to build community and connection. There are also charity sewing groups (like Project Linus or Quilts of Valor) that form outside of quilt guilds that may be an option near you.

Personally, I do plan to attend QuiltCon 2025 in Phoenix because it is withing driving distance for me. I suspect that QuiltCon 2026 will be back toward the east coast somewhere (the MQG will be announcing the 2026 location in April). If so, I will likely not be able to afford to attend, and that is okay.

In my experience, quilters are caring, enthusiastic, and really generous humans. I’m so glad for the moments of in person connection that can happen for me at QuiltCon because so much of the rest of my connections occur online. I’d love to know how you make and sustain in person quilting connections: what works best for you?


My QuiltCon 2024 wrap-up posts:

11 thoughts on “People and Connections {QuiltCon 2024}

  1. Ruby Freed says:

    I’m a quilter with local guilds and lots of in-person meetings available and no quilting business of my own.
    I’ve never been to Quilt Con and have been considering going there next year so I really appreciate your comments. I follow you on Instagram.

  2. Patty says:

    Great post! It is all about the people – connections with someone you’ve known only through social media/blogs or only see once a year. I’m glad you and Cheryl got to spend much time together plus time with your mom too. It was great to share a hug and a photo! See you in Phoenix!

  3. Julie says:

    Maybe it was a reference to you returning to the mainland? IDK what else it could be since you haven’t been missing. You even posted during your off-road adventure. Our local large club is hosting its show this year, it’s quite a big event. As a worker I’ll be privileged to get a sneak peek at all the quilts in advance of the show. A real treat for me as the show itself is so overwhelming when it’s filled with people. You look like you had a wonderful time connecting with peers & fans at Quiltcon – and of course Mom-time.

  4. I so agree that one of the fun things about quilt con is meeting people that you know from afar. I am sorry people called it a comeback. Not sure if they meant something like returning to a common place of joy, rather than you were in some kind of slump. I know I am lucky in that I can afford to do most of what I want, but sometimes personal needs outweigh our desire to be elsewhere. And sometimes, language is just inadequate and people use words without understanding the way the hearer will react. We have so much to learn with this. Anyway, fun to see you with your Mom and Cheryl. You and Cheryl are one of the reasons that I came to love and meet more great quilters via the internet!

  5. When I began my blog, I had no idea how my quilting world would change. I have so many quilting and creative friends out there, most of whom I haven’t met in person. Someday I’d like to attend QuiltCon, and maybe meet some of them. I enjoyed seeing your photos and all those smiles, and how wonderful that you were able to spend time with your mom.

  6. I always enjoy your writing so much. Seeing you in person and being able to say hi was so lovely. I’m glad you enjoyed your experience.
    I love that you acknowledge what an absolute privilege it is to be able to attend QuiltCon. It’s so easy to forget about that.

  7. Cocoa Quilts says:

    It was great to see that you got to enjoy some of this time with your Mom. It is surely a privilege to get to QuiltCon. I have been lucky enough to live a few hours from both Atlanta and Raleigh, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to attend. Keep on sharing your talents with us online so we can enjoy them from afar.

  8. Shannon says:

    I’m so with you, Yvonne, the people and connections are the best part about QuiltCon! I’m so sorry to have missed seeing you and Cheryl this year (and your mom too!). Keeping my fingers crossed we meet up at an event soon!

  9. Elizabeth E. says:

    What a lovely write-up of your time at QuiltCon. I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on the “come-back” comment, and I thought you explored it skillfully. I think you were a regular for a while, and then took a break. I also will go to my local QCon shows, rather than the distant ones, unless they hold it again in Austin (my favorite).
    I remember the first time I went to QuiltCon (Austin) and was blown away by meeting in person all the people who had previously been a figment of my imagination, as I knew them only digitally. It was so nice to put faces with names, and to see the 3D people. That year was also a really good year for quilts; I have not always felt that way, subject as we viewers are to the preferences of the judges.
    But when a show seems as high quality as this one has (judging only by online reports) and when two people I know fairly well get big awards…well, thank you to the judges for recognizing that this was what was needed at this time: excellence in both execution, and thought.
    Congratulations!

  10. Kate says:

    It’s so nice to get to catch up with people in person. Like you, my quilting community is mostly on-line. Working women have a hard time going to guild meetings during the day. I’ve only met one of my online buddies, but that was such fun. Congrats again on the award. And on getting to hang out with your parents, that’s always nice too that you can do something together that you both enjoy.

  11. Melanie says:

    I love how Kathleen but it. Often times we mean something totally different from what someone else hears in our words. And do we weight every word we speak ourselves? We of course take more time on harder conversations but normal interactions … I know I have produced “missinterpretations” …
    PS: I would like to add in that at such an event there are also a lot of people there from all around the globe. English might not be everyones first language…

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)