TWEET: While I’m in Houston, I’m sending my tweets to my personal FB & my FB Page. I apologize for double tweets but want everyone to see the pics!

This is how I started my exciting 48 hour adventure to the Houston Quilt Festival. I wanted to share it with as many as my friends as possible. I was so excited and nervous about going, I accomplished practically nothing in the last couple of weeks leading up to the show other than packing my suitcase.

I went alone. I haven’t traveled alone since I was much younger and I looked at it as a grand adventure.

TWEET: Checked into Hilton Americas — isn’t the Chihuly glass chandelier amazing?


It’s impossible to mistake a Chihuly. There are two of them like this at Hilton Americas. I was lucky to find a room in the Hilton — it’s connected by a walkway to the Convention Center — something greatly appreciated by me when it poured rain on Wednesday and Thursday.

TWEET: Walked down bad streets to find this amazing place — District 7 Grill.


But this Tuesday, the skies were clear. I checked into the Hilton. I was starving — it was so late — but I was determined to be more original than eating in the hotel. I turned on my iPhone & looked for a restaurant nearby with at least a 90% approval rating. The closest one was District 7 Grill. I crossed the street to the convention center and made a left — which unhappily took me in the wrong direction. I ended up walking completely around the convention center — which is huge and covers probably 4 or more city blocks. I had to be careful about the streets I walked down and stick to ones with cars on them. I eventually found this haven of wonderful food. I had someone tell me it was in China Town. It was certainly a place that the locals go.

TWEET: Did I mention — no calorie counting on this trip?


I know it’s cliche’ to have a picture of my plate — but I couldn’t help it. It was 2:30 my time & I hadn’t eaten since 6am. This is a grilled veggie pizza on naan bread with feta cheese & pecans. I ate the entire thing. No regrets.

TWEET: An hour until I get ready. Decided I can’t eat dinner before I go — too nervous. Next tweet — Winners Circle.

I ate so late though that I wasn’t hungry later. Mix that with the excitement of getting ready for the Winners Circle — and the most I could get down was a banana. At least I was able to find some fruit downstairs in the lobby.

TWEET: The infamous Paula Nadelstern carpet.


Many quilters know the story of Paula Nadelstern, a quilter famous for her kaleidoscopes, showing up one year, looking down, and seeing her designs on the rug leading from the hotel to the convention center in the walkway. She successfully sued them for copyright infringement.

TWEET: I’ve seen Charlotte Warr Andersen & Jamie Fingal in the halls — rock stars in the quilt world.

I kept passing people that I know — but I don’t know. It was very surreal. Although non-quilters won’t necessarily know these people, I’ve seen their work & followed them for years — some of them I’ve even spoken with on Facebook. And yet I couldn’t bring myself to say something to them. I suppose a part of me thinks that famous people should be allowed their privacy.

TWEET: I’m here!


I finally found the correct ballroom. There are signs every 100 feet for a ballroom down the length of the convention center — none of them marked anything other than “ballroom”.

Karey Bresenhan

This is Karey Bresenhan speaking at the beginning. She is the the nexus of the entire International Market and Festival. She is the founder and without her, none of us would be there.

TWEET: Ran into my friend Denny Webster & her friend Marilyn Wall! I took pic with my camera so I’ll blog those later in the week.

Marilyn Wall & Denny Webster

Me with Marilyn & Denny

I was standing by myself in line waiting to go in to the ballroom when I spotted my friend Denny Webster! She used to live here in Atlanta but moved a few months ago to North Carolina. She was there with Marilyn Wall who I was delighted to meet.

TWEET: I’m in my red Vera Wang — I’m overdressed.

I did feel overdressed — although later I was glad that I had chosen it. There was a full range of dress code — from jeans to full kimonos.

TWEET: I’m really close to Sharon Schamber — too strange!

She was sitting in the front row. I’ve followed her work for years. I follow her techniques for my bindings. I have my pressing board built like hers. Thank goodness for YouTube — I’ve never met her in person though. She’s petite like me.

TWEET: Bonnie McCaffrey is videoing at the front & Luana Rubin is sitting next to her.

Again, two people who I find interesting and follow. Bonnie was videoing the ceremony from the 2nd row and Luana was seated next to her.

TWEET: My heart just stopped! Did you hear it? 1st place in Art-People.

That was a moment to remember. They called 3rd place — so I thought — oh good! 2nd place! And then they called 2nd place — and I knew. I whispered “I think my heart just stopped.” I certainly stopped breathing.


I wish I had a picture of me on stage. I managed to get this picture from Victoria Findlay Wolfe.

TWEET: Fairfield Mastery Contemporary Artistry to Noriko Nozawa — gorgeous!


I took this pic the next day but it came out better than the ones I took the previous night. I found this quilt (Photographer Darling) worth studying. The background is quilted with a grid of black thread on white (mostly) — the postcards are black thread-work on white — and the image of the photographer is cross stitch! I did wonder how she managed to keep this piece flat — given the change in thread layers across the piece, it had to be challenging.

TWEET: Babylock master award for innovative artistry — Jane Sassaman!

International Quilt Festival 2013

This is also a pic from the next day (Illinois Album). It has a black border that is difficult to see because of the black hanging background. The design is phenomenal, but what struck me as surprising is that the white background is not a typical cotton fabric — it’s an embroidered white, probably not cotton. She also used a lot of embroidery stitches from her machine. These are not details that affect the overall design but they are interesting details for close inspection.

TWEET: Superior Award for Thread Artistry — Masanobu Miyama! (He’s a man!)


The majority of quilters are women so I’m always struck by a man that’s a quilter. He was the only man in the top winners. This piece (Wind) is very small. He painted the fabric with Tsukineko dyes, fused all the pieces down, and then heavily thread painted it. His wife was there and also had a piece in the show. They were from Japan. (30% or so of the winners were from Japan.)

TWEET: Pfaff Award for machine artistry — Shirley Gisi!

I didn’t get a great picture of this — but you can see it on the IQA Winners page here. It’s an abstract piece that effectively uses gradation fabrics to create 3D effects. Very clever.

TWEET: eQuilter award for WOB — Christine Alexiou — love this one!

Christine Alexiou

Christine Alexiou

This piece is called Septum Peccata Mortalia (Seven Deadly Sins). It opens like a book and has several pages.

That night, I was sitting next to Karen Ponischil (who won an Honorable Mention) and Christine on the other side. We shared our joy of the evening together and ended up meeting the next day to spend time together. My experience in Houston wouldn’t have been the same without them.


TWEET: Founder’s Award – Karen Seivert & a 2nd one to Margo Hardie!

I was confused here. Karen Seivert won a Founder’s Honorable Mention. Then Margo Hardie and Janet Stone both won Founder’s Awards.

TWEET: Another one to Janet Stone!

TWEET: Best Of Show — $10,000 award — wait for it ………

TWEET: Best of Show — Melissa Sobotka — stunning!!!


Melissa Sobotka

I don’t know that she could have found a better dress to stand beside her piece.

TWEET: Will get a better pic soon!


This, of course, is my better pic. It looks like a painting — or a photograph. It is raw edge  with commercially bought batiks. I was stunned that raw edge  has gained such acceptance. I hazard to guess that this is the 1st raw edge  that has won Best of Show in Houston. And when I saw raw edge — I mean that there is no appliqué stitch — only tight quilting. I saw this on many pieces at Houston — raw edge but tight quilting or thread painting. It’s making me wonder if I should continue to spend so many hours covering my edges with appliqué stitches.

TWEET: I stood by my quilt for an hour — wow!! Everyone was so nice!!


I’m so glad that my new friend Karen insisted on taking my pic as I didn’t get one with me later the next day when Lincoln had it’s blue ribbon next to it.

International Quilt Festival 2013: Winner's Circle

And the money shot. This is also Karen — I don’t know what I would have done without her.

TWEET: I took a bunch of pics that I’ll post on my blog when I get home.

And so I’ve incorporated them here — both my tweeted pictures and the ones on my phone.

And finally — I couldn’t ignore the coolest shoes in the room. These were Philappa Naylor’s boots. She won first place for Scarlett’s Crimson in the Wearable Art category. She does beautiful quilts usually around a medallion so I was surprised to see her in the Wearable Art category — but I understand that it can be thrilling to step outside your comfort zone. Even better to do it and succeed at such a high level.

coolest shoes

I had a blast. Although I didn’t get to stay very long, it was incredibly fun.

Part 2 will come tomorrow and I’ll show pics from my second day in Houston.