Houston Quilt Festival 2014 -Part 1


My senses are still spinning from one of the best Festivals I have ever attended. I have been going since 2000 and I know this is one I will remember as a highlight year.

What can I say? Karey Bresenhan and Quilts, Inc. really pulled out all of the stops and presented some of the best special exhibits in the show’s history. I am sure you have already seen so many images of the Ruby Jubilee quilts and WOW, I mean– WOW!

Even to this hardcore quit show attendee who is used to seeing impressive displays had goose bumps on goose bumps when my eyes fell upon this display. I was awe struck and for once, speechless.

The exhibit was truly magical and it literally took my breath away.






There were many magical moments at the show this year. What I found REALLY encouraging was the amount of foot traffic in the quilt display areas. Believe it or not, at many of the Houston shows you could hear a pin drop amongst the quilts. While at the Vendor area of the show, one can hardly move forward down an aisle.

This year, I loved seeing so many people actually looking at all of the quilts and exhibits. It made my heart sing.

This little guy was too much and I wanted to take him home. I think many did as they watched him trot alongside his quilter companion with his knight “jockey” bouncing up and down in the saddle in rhythm with his stride. Poor thing, I think he was a little put out with having to stop every few steps and pose…AGAIN. It truly was hilarious to watch that knight bouncing in the saddle as he walked.



The IQA judged show quilts were really good this year although my armchair judging was not in step with the front row (big winner) quilts. But that is the way it goes because judging is subjective and no combination of three judges is going to come up with the same results which keeps it all interesting and also keeps many of us on our toes.

I want the bar raised and I want to be challenged by what others do. I wish some of the people I heard comment could open their minds to the same experience.

In other words, I am not interested in the show quilts being average so my ego is comforted and feels stroked (an empty stroke is more like it). I want the best each and every time. Bring it on, I can handle my work being inferior and grow from the experience.



“Vivaldi by Moonlight” Sandra Leichner

IQA World of Beauty Judged Show:  Merit Quilting Machine–First Place


I felt I got lucky in my category–really lucky. I will do another post on the judged quilts in more detail and some pictures later.

The picture above is my quilt hanging in the show prior to the BLUE RIBBON being pinned on. Yep, first place! Those dragonflies really sparkled under the lights which is what I wanted–cool!



“Renaissance” by Zena Thorpe

IQA World of Beauty Judged Show:  Innovative AppliqueHand applique and hand quilting


The Special Exhibits were just phenomenal. I kept wondering to myself if there were any quilts left out in the wide world of this caliber to show next year. I think we all know that Festival always has a way of introducing us to more eye candy we had no idea existed.

I am always inspired by many of the quilts I see even if the genre is not my thing. A different use of a technique, color, composition, ……

I am really into the Australian style and the exhibit, “The Best of Australian Traditional Quilting” which included the quilts of Di Ford, Michelle Yeo and Carolyn Konig and sponsored by Quiltmania were my favorites. I want to create a mixed applique quilt in this style. Time is a problem but I can dream.



The other Treasure of an exhibit was the “Tristan Boutis” quilt sponsored by Bohin. Such an amazing project and story.So inspiring for me on a creative level and played perfectly to my love of history.




Shopping and all of my finds is also one for another post to itself. However, let me give you an indication of the jungle-like atmosphere and sheer determination it took to navigate the aisles and vendor area….


Could YOU walk through this?

 Throw in way to many scooters and bad scooter drivers (I swear they must drink before they get on and drive those things) and those “$%#$@!” new Costco walkers that are huge and include a seat and you have the MOST FRUSTRATING shopping experience known to man. Maybe that is why the quilt exhibits had so much more traffic? Everyone wanted to get away from the chaos that was the vendor area.

Oh and a friend witnessed a large stroller that did not include a baby. It was a deceptive trick to replace the rolling carts that are no longer allowed (for very good reason). They used the LARGE stroller for storing and carrying their purchases. You do get very bad behavior mixed in with most just wanting to enjoy themselves.

This year I was actively bidding on the IQA auction quilts. Many do not know the names of highly valuable quilters and it is a great strategic advantage to me in auctions. Trendy quilters get the most attention and high dollar bids (who is hot that year), but I know the works that will be quite valuable down the road after the trendy are forgotten and the price paid is a loss, unless you really like it and then the point is moot. You could almost hear my evil laugh, “wha ha ha ha” as I could pick up some high level work without the “trendy” price tag.



I was REALLY lucky to get this piece by Ruth Bloomfield. She is an Australian Quilter who is not only a fabulous artist, but a wonderful person too! I am proud to know her and on cloud nine I got this quilt. It was a fight in the end and I admit, I was sweating on the inside as I had to pounce in the last ten seconds to pull off the win. The picture is all wonky, believe me, this quilt is perfectly square and perfectly beautiful.

I did manage a day and a half at market and was able to accomplish many of the goals I had set out to do. I talked with Weeks Dye Works and Gentle Arts threads and I am excited to start working more with these threads that are difficult for me to get access to. There are some patterns down the road I really really needed these for to include in the thread kits. I also ordered some more Dovos and talked to the Australian distributor about the needles I love and can not get in the states. I can get them now!

From Riley Blake’s booth:

I love red and pink and cute pillows. I have really been dismayed that my little “pink” girl is all grown up and a senior in high school now. I really loved sewing little girly girl things.








I was also lusting after this sewing table to be a large portable table for machine quilting on my domestic machine. Check out the rug, wouldn’t this be cool for a sewing room? oops, I guess I should say…. “stew-dee-oh“.




So here is a Margarita toast to Karey, Nancy and all of the crew at Quilts, Inc. for putting on a SPECTACULAR show this year. Karey, congratulations on your Ruby Jubilee and sharing it in such a momentous way with all of us quilters and quilt lovers.


I hope this first part, the overall experience, of Houston Festival 2014 gives you a taste of what an experience it was to be there.

Now the hard part is coming home and all the orders placed in my absence that need shipping. Yikes! They are on their way.