The Houston International Quilt Festival is an amazing sight to behold. It's apparently the biggest convention that comes to Houston each year, and the George R. Brown Convention Center was expanded specifically to allow the IQF more room for the amazing quilts and vendor displays. There are hundreds of simply amazing quilts on display here, and hundreds of vendors hawking their goods as well.
Barb and I hit the festival in the afternoon on Thursday and developed a game plan to look at vendors on Day 1, quilts on Day 2 and then show the highlights to Dad on Day 3. Michelle and her mom were there as well, but Michelle was taking classes all day every day so we would only see her in the evenings. I'm not sure how Michelle survived the week with the schedule that she had, but as she put it "I live for this all year, so I'll crash after I get back home."
The vendors were a little overwhelming - very crowded and some people were a little pushy (but not too terribly bad). I bought a few new things - decided to try out applique for the first time so I bought a few Halloween kits with really adorable wool felt pumpkins and ghouls and goblins. Tune in next year to see how they turn out (assuming that I can actually figure out how to make them)! I also bought some great fat quarters, a fun panel that's going to turn into a Christmas gift for a special little boy, and another kit that is going to be a really snuggly blanket for Karl and I (Barb bought one as well, so I say we challenge ourselves to finish it before the end of the year!). Karl was really happy with the snuggly blanket kit because it has lots of his favorite print - PLAID. That dude is mad for plaid, I tell ya. ;)
So that's Day 1. I don't have any pictures to share because most of the vendors didn't allow photography in their booths to protect their proprietary goods. It was exhausting, but fun. That evening, we went to dinner with Michelle, Jackson and Sharon. Much hilarity ensued with trying to find a restaurant (and proper parking), and we ended up eating at a completely deserted restaurant that had surprisingly good food.
On Day 2, we hit the quilt displays. Unfortunately I can't attribute all of the following quilts to their proper creators because I didn't get all of that information written down. With how crowded it was, I was happy just to get photos that didn't have people blocking the quilts! Here is a summary of my favorites:
I think that this ballerina is my favorite quilt out of all of them. She was one of the finalists in the Reality Publishing's $100,000 Quilting Challenge, and it's called At the Bolshoi by Pat Blair. Her tutu is all embroidery. Simply phenomenal.
And another cow! Big surprise that I liked this one! :) This one was a prize-winner of some sort, and it was very well deserved - it's so cool.
This quilt won the Robert C. Cohan Master Award for Traditional Artistry (a $5K prize...not bad at all!), and it's called Promise by Noriko Kido of Japan. It's hard to convey how breathtaking this quilt is, but I absolutely loved it. She created this quilt for her 20th wedding anniversary - what a precious heirloom!This quilt covers all of the signs of the Zodiac, and the level of detail was really amazing. The colors were much more rich in real life, and my favorites were Aries (but of course!) and Leo.
I love the fall colors in this one, and how it really makes you feel like you are laying on the floor of the forest looking up to the sky.
This quilt even has several mini quilts in 3D! And the artist used metallic thread to convey the fence lines, and there are even individual pickles in the jars on the table!
I found the silhouette concept on this quilt to be really striking and unique.
I like how this quilt incorporates beautiful quilting on the yellow background, and how the bright blue really pops off of those muted tones.
And now for some collages of some of the other quilts that struck my fancy. I just couldn't get over the amazing amount of detail, precision and creativity that was on display here!
The photos don't even do these quilts justice (and I just noticed that one quilt is duplicated up above, but I'm too lazy to re-do the collage). I tried to capture my own personal Best of the Best, but there were inevitably some that just didn't photograph well (like the whole cloth quilts that had amazing amounts of detail but were all one color). I'm so glad that Michelle encouraged us to come down and check it out!
Also while in Houston, Barb and I checked out a trendy shopping center on Westheimer. It had a Restoration Hardware, Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Coldwater Creek and a bunch of other fun stores. Barb bought us matching slippers at Coldwater Creek and those puppies are keeping my feet warm as I sit at the computer to type this post (it's cold and rainy in Seattle today, I'm sure you are shocked and awed by that).
So that's my big recap of our big trip! It was lots of fun, and very inspiring!