Quilt-y pleasures

Quilters’ Guild of North Dakota hosts 37th annual Metro Quilt Expo

Take your eyes off your notes for a few hours this Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4 to take in the sights at the 37th annual Metro Quilt Expo at the Ramada on 13th Avenue South.

Originally called the Indian Summer Quilt Show and scheduled for the fall, the Metro Quilt Expo showcases the work of the Quilters’ Guild of North Dakota and community members. All are welcome to enter quilting projects, including youth.

“The only category (we don’t have) this year is youth quilts. We didn’t have any youth entries,” Metro Quilt Expo chair Muriel Richardson lamented. Richardson explained that last year they received as many as 26 entries by youth and hope next year’s expo will see the return of youth entries.

“I don’t know if it is just that the shops around town that really work with the youth maybe didn’t have as many classes this year?” Richardson continued. To help ensure younger generations are exposed to the wonders of quilting, May’s guild meeting encouraged members to bring a child or a friend to learn how to quilt.

Despite the lack of youth entries, this year’s expo still boasts an impressive 194 quilts split into seven judging categories based on size and style.

The quilts are judged by a certified quilt show judge, Kate Eelkema, who awards a first, second and third place in each category. In addition to these awards, multiple businesses from across the state sponsor awards, such as Excellence in Appliqué and the Landscape/Pictorial Award.

Richardson and MQE publicity chair Virginia Dambach couldn’t stress enough that you don’t have to be perfect at quilting to enter. “You don’t necessarily have to be making a what we would call a traditional award-winning quilt. In the sense that, ‘Hey, I just made this quilt, and it’s all out of batiks, and hey, it fits into this specialty award.’ So you can win for just a fun thing,” Richardson explained.

This year’s expo also boasts three special exhibits: crazy quilts (1880s to present), quilted antique tablecloths and handkerchiefs by guild member Barb Nicholson and painted barn quilts by members at Crooked Lane Farm.

So what can you do at the MQE? Dambach explained that there is something for everyone.

“We have 14 quilt merchants coming and selling everything from pins, and scissors and needles, to big monster quilting machines and fabric, and kits, books and patterns. It truly is a quilt makers dream,” Dambach said.

Dambach added that a small quilt silent auction will also be going on throughout the two-day event: “It’s a great way if someone likes quilts to get some small pieces at a really reasonable price.” This year the proceeds are going to guild education programs so that national teachers can come in and teach.

A fun activity for kids (and stressed out college students) is a scavenger hunt, where participants search the designs of the quilts for the items listed.

For those interested in honing their skills in various quilting areas or simply learning a new skill can take in any of the lectures or demonstrations throughout the two-day event. Some demonstrations require a small fee to pay for the kit materials used, but otherwise attendance is paid with your $5 expo admission fee.

Expo hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, May 3 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 4.

Who knows? Perhaps you will discover a new hobby and even want to join the Quilters’ Guild. Richardson wholeheartedly encouraged anyone to join: “People are under this misconception that, ‘Oh, you have to be an amazing quilter to join the quilt guild,’ and that so not true. I’m a fun quilter. I’m not amazing, but I have fun.”

At the very least, Dambach and Richardson said they hope this year’s Metro Quilt Expo will fulfill the Guild motto of “sharing the joy of quilting.”

Friday Lectures and Demonstrations

10 a.m. Barn Quilts

11 a.m. How Quilts Work- Basic Design Principles for Quilters

Noon All-machine binding

1 p.m. Log Cabin Rulers

2 p.m. Cuddle Fabrics

3 p.m. Zentangles Mini Class ($5 kits required)

4 p.m. English Paper Piecing

Saturday Lectures and Demonstrations

10 a.m. Rulers Demo

11 a.m. Mono Printing on Fabric

Noon A Pattern is Just a Suggestion

1 p.m. Dorset Buttons Mini Class ($7 kits required, purchase from button booth)

2 p.m. How to Prepare Your Quilt for the Long Arm Quilter

3 p.m. Untangling the Wool Appliqué Thread

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