Nearly 500 creative and colorful quilts will fill the Orr Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds March 18 and 19. This biennial event features quilts made by members of the Springfield Area Quilt Guild. It is one of the largest quilt shows in the Midwest and is not just for quilters. These aren't your grandmother's quilts.
The quilts showcase the creativity and artistry of today's quilters. Patterns cover the gamut, from traditional geometric shapes to highly abstract and everything in between. Some are a modern representation of a traditional design. Better instruments to cut fabrics, highly sophisticated quilting machines and new quilting techniques are tools talented quilters use to create quilts which are works of art.
The Springfield Area Quilt Guild was established in 1984. Guild members call themselves Q.U.I.L.T.S – Quilters United In Learning, Teaching and Self-Improvement. This is the 23rd quilt show. Tammie Klein and Linda Tinkham are this year's co-chairs.
The show will feature over 400 quilts made by guild members within the past two years, including full-sized bed quilts, baby quilts, table runners and decorative quilts to hang on a wall. "Challenge quilts" will also be displayed. Typically challenge quilts must all use a certain fabric. Due to the pandemic, this year the challenge quilts are based on a theme, "My Happy Is...". Quilters found creative ways to take on this challenge and memorialize in a quilt design something that makes them happy.
For each show, one member is selected to feature with a wide selection of their quilts. This year's honoree is Neil Thompson, a retired nurse anesthetist. He will also receive the guild's Marian Brockschmidt award, named for a renowned local quilter who helped found Q.U.I.L.T.S. Thompson is the first male recipient. He also donated a quilt he made for the guild's quilt raffle. The drawing will be 2:45 p.m. March 19.
Judy Martin, from Grinnell, Iowa, is a nationally known quilter and author of quilting books. She has designed and published more original patterns than anyone. She will give a bed-turning demonstration, showing a selection of her quilts from the past 42 years, while sharing the stories the quilts represent. (Demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. both days.) She will also have her new book available, Red, White and Blue Star Quilts.
As a member of the Quilts of Valor Foundation, the Springfield guild donates quilts to people who have been touched by war. Five veterans will receive quilts, which will be presented at 1 p.m. on both days.
The show is not just an opportunity to view beautiful quilts, but also support community organizations. Proceeds from the sale of small quilted items made by guild members will be donated to Girls on the Run of Central Illinois and Wooden It Be Lovely. Other handcrafted items will also be for sale, including jewelry, woodwork, handbags, batik and apparel, in addition to fabrics and quilt-related items. Thirty vendors will be on hand.
This is a child-friendly event. Organizers have designed a scavenger hunt for children to earn a prize by finding things in the quilts' designs.