Craftlands: QuiltCon

Craftlands: QuiltCon - Peppermint Twist by Irene Roderick

This past weekend, I had a house full of guests and several action-packed days surrounding the first occurrence of QuiltCon in Nashville. It’s an event I’ve wanted to attend for several years and never get to, but what could be more convenient than it happening in my own backyard?

QuiltCon is the quilting equivalent of a Stitches event for knitters, except in addition to the convention-center rooms full of classes, lectures and vendor booths, there are also over 500 modern quilts on display. It’s pretty dizzying. The marketplace area is fairly small compared to a Stitches event (though still plenty vast) but try to picture rows and rows of pipe-and-drape “walls” hung with that many quilts. It’s a lot to take in! And it took us two visits to see it all.

Craftlands: QuiltCon - Exit Wound by Audrey Bernier

I snapped photos of all of my favorites (too many to share) and of those only Exit Wound by 17-year-old Audrey Bernier was one of the official prize winners. It was among the Youth quilts, an area that was robust with social-justice quilts done in conjunction with the Social Justice Sewing Academy. Exit Wound is a statement on gun violence in the US, and the design was inspired by the fact that the exit wound for an AR-15 is the size of an orange. It is a mix of strong concept and subtle details, and a collage of patchwork, appliqué, embroidery, hand- and machine-quilting. Truly powerful work.

If I could have brought any one of the quilts home with me, I would have chosen Peppermint Twist by Irene Roderick, pictured up top. There were lots of quilts in the show that used tiny little strips of fabric, which was mind-boggling to me, and this one just really struck me as both technically amazing and visually stunning.

Or maybe I would take the quilt called Six Pairs of Pants by Sherri Lynn Wood, who was the featured quilter for this year and had about three aisles of quilts on display. She previously did a residency at the dump in San Francisco and made art and quilts from some of the discards. This one is literally made from six pair of pants, which takes you a minute to realize. I also loved the dress shirt one, where she’d left the buttons intact.

Craftlands: QuiltCon - featured quilter Sherri Lynn Wood

Of course, the best part was seeing old friends and meeting several new ones. In particular, I was thrilled to find out Karyn Valino was in town for the event. When I first got back into garment making, Karyn (aka @make_something) was a huge inspiration — I basically just wanted to sew every pattern I saw her sewing, and still do. (I definitely quizzed her about every garment she had on and added a couple of things to my list.) So it was great to get to meet and spend some time with both her and the lovely Jaqueline of Soak, who she was here with.

Craftlands: QuiltCon - Karyn Valino and Sandra Johnson

And in the aisles at the show on Friday, a woman walked past me wearing a fantastic hand-quilted, shibori, haori-style jacket. When I said “I LOVE your jacket,” she spun around and showed us her hand-stitched jeans and bag as well, then quickly told us her name, what all and where all she teaches, and that we could follow her on Instagram at @sandrajohnsondesigns for more, which of course we promptly did! Sadly, we didn’t get to see her quilted pants in person.

That’s barely skimming the surface of the incredible display of talent that is QuiltCon. Photos don’t begin to do the quilts justice, and if you get a chance to see a future batch in person, I definitely recommend it. I believe next year’s QuiltCon is in Austin TX.


PREVIOUSLY in Craftlands: Slow fashion retreats


Elsewhere: Yarny links for your clicking pleasure

Happy Friday, friends — here’s a nice juicy Elsewhere for you!

– It’s #tolticelandicwoolmonth — I’m really hoping to finish my cardigan in time to join in! (having made that pesky rule …)

– Best online panel discussion title ever: Pussy(c)hat, March 4 at 12pm EST — I’m sorry to miss it! It promises to be a rich and nuanced discussion

– I’m honored to be included in an upcoming book called “Woods – Making Stories,” which is now in crowdfunding

– “Even as a maker, I’m a consumer. I consume yarn and fabric … which means that the guidelines slow fashion provides us with … apply to makers as well”

Lovely scarf pattern with a heartbreaking and worthy mission (top left)

Jenny Gordy’s sashiko-patch mending technique (bottom right)

Anna Maltz’s back-of-the-envelope explanation for which way short rows should go (bottom left)

– “… starting the making process as adolescents, it often takes around a year of a person’s life to make one of these dresses, and some women continue to decorate and dye their garment for their entire lives …” — you MUST watch the video at the end

– NPR’s interview with the Monopoly thimble made me LOL (thx, Angela)

–  I covet Jen’s quilt

– And this one (free pattern right there on IG!) (top right)

– I’m eager to listen to Marlee Grace and Mira Blackman

– I dream of traveling to Denver and taking Sara Cougill’s seam finishing class at Fancy Tiger, but meanwhile I’m studying Liesl Gibson’s Six tutorials for seam finishes

Have a marvelous weekend, everyone!




Elsewhere: Yarny links for your clicking pleasure

There were so many great responses to my question about worthwhile podcasts last week. One that got a lot of mentions and that I’ve really been meaning to listen to is Stuff You Missed in History Class. I’ll have to start with the House of Worth episode. And (major tangent but) that reminds me — if you’re lamenting the end of Downtown Abbey and haven’t ever seen The House of Eliott, make haste! It’s been 8 or 10 years since I watched it; think it’s time to watch again.

– Monday is Leap Day — here’s a great idea for what to do with it

Good wool hunting in Shetland (via MJM)

– And a day in the life of a Bodega Bay sheep farm

– Love this Japanese short rows method

– Levi’s boss on why you should wash your jeans less

Using “risk management” to make better stuff

The power of buying less by buying better

Fantastic interview with Jamie & the Jones, some of my local small-batch fashion friends

– And and in-depth podcast discussion on the birth of Tamar, a fascinating new British yarn I’ve had the pleasure of petting

The hero of this video game is a piece of yarn

Delightful tiny video (press play) from —WARNING: NSFW— the most provocative Instagram knitting feed I’ve seen

– Quite the back story on this beautiful quilt

– And some truly stunning macramé (she calls them “weaves”)

IN SHOP NEWS: The wooden gauge rulers are finally back in stock! While the sale shelf is getting verrrry sparse.

Thanks for all the great conversation lately, everyone! Have an amazing weekend—



Photos (l to r) from Kelbourne Woolens, Fibershed, Style Bee


Fiber/fashion links for your clicking pleasure

Lawsy, what a week this has been — with less internet access and less hot water than I expected! Plus all sorts of exciting Fringe Supply Co. business going on. I hope the blog will be back to regular hours next week, but here’s a mini-Elsewhere for you in the meantime!

– Congrats to Kate Davies on her nuptials. Can’t wait to see pics of her handknit cardigan and his handknit kilt hose, and to hear more about their forthcoming yarn.

– More and more, I feel like there’s a quilt in my future. Pretty obsessed with this one right now.

The myth of the ethical shopper

– Great post from Jen on sewing pattern organization (digital and otherwise)

DIY tassel necklace

Oh, and I finished that little sleeveless turtleneck sweater I’ve been working on. Hoping to get pics soon!


PREVIOUSLY in Elsewhere

First socks x colorwork = bad idea?

Flying Geese quilt and socks

Two things I had vowed to knit this summer: my first pair of socks, and some kind of colorwork project. I keep waffling on which socks (currently debating between one of these or these), and have been collecting good options for beginner colorwork (watch for a roundup!), and it would probably be a bad idea to combine the two in one project. But I’ve been sorely tempted by this Flying Geese sock pattern that recently appeared at Knitty. The traditional Flying Geese quilt is one of those impossibly beautiful, timeless designs, and I love Lacey Volk’s idea of adapting it to a sock pattern. Plus the construction is pretty fascinating. The minute the always-inspiring Maura Grace Ambrose, of Folk Fibers, began Instagramming her indigo- and osage-dyed quilt (above left), I began picturing these socks in a combination of undyed and indigo-dyed yarns. Wouldn’t those be the best socks ever?

It’s just a little short-row intarsia — what could go wrong?

Meanwhile, since August means the onset of back-to-school-clothes fever, this week’s ICYMI post is FO Sightings: Z’s coveted closet of handmade clothes.


March, thanks and Elsewhere

irish mesh cowl fancy tiger dresses heidi kirrmaier and sarai mitnick

Happy March already! And I mean happy. It’s Friday, we’re days away from Daylight Savings time, and an astonishing number of people read Fringe Association in February. So I want to say a huge heartfelt thank you, again, to everyone who likes the blog well enough to not only read it day after day, but to help spread the word about it. Every link, tweet, pin, fave, etc really means so much to me. I can’t say that enough.

Speaking of spreading the love through linking, it’s been awhile since we had an Elsewhere, so here we go:

— Seasonally appropriate in every way: My beloved friend and knitting mentor Jo Strong has published her (free) Irish Mesh Cowl pattern. (I have a couple of hanks of green Manos on hand and am wondering how this would look at aran gauge.)

— Loved Fancy Tiger’s QuiltCon recap, plus their lead-up posts on the dresses they made to wear to the event. This one is my favorite. Or maybe this one.

— Great interview with designer Heidi Kirrmaier on the Quince blog.  Plus back-to-back interviews with Gudrun Johnson and Ysolda Teague at Amirisu.

Crazy. (via)

Another yarn portrait at Design Sponge. (This time hung on the wall; see the second photo.)

— Thought-provoking post by Sarai Mitnick on the decline in quality of mid-range clothing.

— The jewel-encrusted beanie rage continues.

— Etsy blog on the Master Knitter program. (Who knew?)

— And I’m thankful to Stephanie Madewell at Even Cleveland for this Pippi Longstocking quote.

FYI, with regard to that cardigan conundrum, I cast on Acer the other night. Don’t forget to share what you’re working on this weekend. Inquiring minds want to know …