Our Quilt Guild Show!

IMG_8836The biennial show of the Champlain Valley Quilters’ Guild of New York was just over a week ago—it was wonderful fun, but pretty intense!

There were a few days there when I didn’t care if I ever saw another quilt!!

But I’ve gotten over that and am thinking happily about new projects, inspired by the work shown by my guild mates and by the vintage and antique quilts on display as well.

For those of you who don’t quilt and haven’t been to a quilt show, a little background might help. A local show like this is not juried—members of the guild can enter quilts that have not been shown in previous years. A numbers of awards are given by community members and by voting among attendees.


Made by Anne Gillette. This quilt is about 26″ square and was acknowledged by attendees as “Best of Show.” It’s made by a technique called paper piecing. (Sorry about the keystoned image–it was hung above my head!)


The strips of fabric are about 1/4″ wide!!

Many of the quilts are projects of the quilter’s own choice but others are made around a theme or challenge held by the guild.

For instance, a guild challenge we had last year was to make a long, narrow seasonal banner of a certain size and with a specified range of colors. The fun came with seeing how different makers translated the theme. (You can see larger, full images by clicking on the photos.)

Other special displays were made of mystery quilts (the quilters choose fabrics then follow directions given out over time, to make a pattern that will only come clear at the end of the project), quilts made by junior quilters, and a memorial display, with quilts made by guild members who have recently died.

You may remember me writing about the “Cot to Coffin” quilts done for the Bicentennial of the War of 1812. Some of those quilts were also displayed together. For lots of photos of those, you could visit the original post.

Probably my favorite part of any show is the inclusion of antique and vintage quilts owned by guild members. We had a “bed turning” display that was very popular with show attendees. The format was a stack of old quilts layered on a bed. Each was revealed as its history and story were told. The quilts ranged from 150 years old to 9 years old. We had four generations of quilts from one family and poignant stories. Grandma Van’s quilt made its appearance, too!

Guild shows often reflect the region in which the quilters live and what I would call the guild’s group style and values. Our guild has a definite focus on nature and rusticity, and the members seem to prefer traditional styles and patterns. I saw a lot of pictorial quilts and almost none that I would call “art” quilts (although I would consider many of them artistic). Many of the quilts demonstrate superb technical skills and most are machine quilted, some with virtuosity. As a whole, the guild tends not to do a lot of handwork, although some hand appliqué was astounding.

Here are some of the quilts that caught my eye! So many were wonderful–I wish I could include them all.

And, because some of you were nice enough to show interest, these are my quilts from the show. I’m a hand quilter and, mostly, a hand piecer.

IMG_8811 IMG_8757 IMG_8774

58 thoughts on “Our Quilt Guild Show!

  1. The best of the show quilt is amazing! To think those strips are 1/4 inch wide! Your quilts are gorgeous. Do you actually use them as quilts or are they for display?

    I’m watching the weather this morning showing snow in upstate NY and VT. Maybe you are in a winter wonderland this morning. Stay warm.

    • The best of show quilt was truly cool–I wish you could see it in person! And the woman who made it was so cute–she was totally shocked to receive the award! And as far as my quilts go, mostly they stayed folded up in an armoire. I find that I care mostly about the process of making them and then lose interest when they’re done. Silly, really.

  2. I haven’t been to a quilt show in a long time but your pictures remind me of the almost sensory overload. Stunning work all of you. And thanks for sharing yours, I especially love the middle one with all those blues.

    • I found the show somewhat overwhelming, too, but I wouldn’t’ve missed it. I wish there was a way to hang the quilts so those with similar colors would be near each other–I found it jarring when super saturated colors were next to muted earth tones. But the process of hanging that many quilts is a huge headache as it is, without introducing a new variable. And thanks for the kind words–I like that blue quilt, too!

  3. This is one of the best explanations/descriptions of what a quilt event/show is that I’ve seen!!!!! I must say…..it feels like I was there! Love the skinny challenge and the “Best of Show”/Viewers’ Choice(?) is awesome!!! Thanks so much for sharing this with us!!!!!!
    No snow here (S.E. MN) but blustery, very dry (fire danger=high!…with the combines in the fields) and supposed to hit 70F today. Hugs……………….

    • Thanks, Doreen–what a compliment since I know you’ve been to lots of shows and read lots of quilt blogs! I cannot believe you had 70 degrees this week–we hit 21 last night! Your turn will come . . . !

      • Thank YOU!!!!! Yes, we actually almost hit 80F yesterday and headed for mid-70s today. It would be even better is the Asian beetles weren’t so thick we can’t be outside!!!!! Yes…….they’re swarming……it’s creepy!!!!!!!!!

  4. I was delighted to see photos of quilts you’ve made. My first thought was, of course she took to weaving. Your color arrangements would work well for woven cloth, with gradations of colors and flecks of contrasting color for sparkle. They are lovely.

    • Thank you so much! You’re the second person to mention the weaving angle and I hadn’t thought of it before. But maybe I will try, someday, to do a woven project with similar colors and see what happens.

  5. Ohhh… I have scrolled though this post and scrolled, and drooled… The quilts are all fantastic!! The red work quilts were a treat. Really like the spiders web on the one. You have a lot of time in those three quilts if you hand pieced them yet!! Lovely work, Kerry.

    • Thank you, Deb! Aren’t the redwork quilts fab?! I’d really like to try one–I do like embroidery. And, yes, I have a lot of time in my quilts–I do not work fast at all but I don’t really care. It’s the handwork, piecing and quilting, that moves me.

  6. What a beautiful post. I love seeing quilts and hearing about their history. I love that generations of families pass quilts down. But your quilts knocked my socks off. I remember seeing the regal eagle and all the beautiful hand embroidery you did. The other two are magnificent studies of color blending, beautiful undulations! I am always so impressed with your talent Kerry!

    • You’re so sweet, Cathe, and so supportive. I realized, when I saw all the quilts in the show, that I come at quilting differently than a lot of my colleagues. Some people had about 10 quilts in the show, all made in the last two years! Impressive! I’m very slow–I ponder the idea for a long time and collect colors and then all that hand stitching. And I think about the way it all connects me to those women who made the antique and vintage quilts. I just like the process so much.

  7. I just love seeing the vintage quilts that come out for display in quilt shows. Your quilts are beautiful, and I’m glad you could be inspired (after getting over your “no more quilts” break). Sometimes at a show, there is a quilt that is not my cup of tea, but there is still something in it…a border, or some exceptional hand quilting…that inspires me.

  8. It looks like a wonderful show. You must have very talented quilters in your guild. The banners, the red work, the best of show! Very good. And thank you so much for sharing your own. I do love the first two with their lovely transitions of value. And the third is a treasure of completely different nature.

    • Thanks, Melanie–that’s especially nice to hear, coming from such an experienced quilter! The folks in our guild are hugely talented and in so many different ways–they have all the bases covered, it seems!

    • I think you’d love the bed-turning display. If there’s a quilt show near you, as if they’re doing such a display–I think it’s quite popular. Obviously every one is different but the stories are always inspiring. Might make you want to take up quilting! 😉

  9. “Auntie Green’s Garden” is amazing. I would never think to use gray as the background color but it really works to show off the quality of the applique and the quilting.
    I also love that in the memorial section, they have two plain metal chairs and that table blocking the view of the quilts. Quilters are so focused on the quilts that they never seem to worry about the overall appearance of things. If everything else is just functional, that’s fine. It’s not like it’s a photo shoot for Architectural Digest!
    I was glad to see Grandma Van’s quilt again. It is such a friendly-looking quilt.
    And your pieces are amazing! I have seen the 1812 one, but not the other two. I especially love the circular quilting in the blue diamonds. And hand-pieced!! I am very impressed.

    • The woman who made Auntie Green’s Garden told us that she submitted it to a juried show and the judges hated it! So interesting! All of her work is amazing. And thanks for the nice words about my quilts–I love doing the hand piecing and hand quilting. Sometimes I try piecing on the machine, just to speed things up, and I get so ticked off, I go right back to my needle and thimble!

      • That would make a great book – quilts that didn’t get into shows. It would be so encouraging to others.
        I tried hand piecing a little 8-point star back in the 70s, and was very disappointed when the corners didn’t meet properly, and as a result, gave up on quilting until 2000. Now I know that corners are tricky, and I appreciate precision however people achieve it!

  10. Oh it all looks splendid…your and other people’s quilts! Love your writings about too so much! I am not a quilter myself but I do love going to the shows. I admire the workmanship of the new and old ones, the colors and patterns. very inspirational. My oldest son often joins me, for the same reasons. Always good times!
    What is your last quilts actually about? Is it commemorating an occasion? I can not really biggify it.
    xo Johanna

  11. I always love to read about the quilts and to see them hanging together in a mass display. They are all really beautiful! I remember seeing the one in your last photo last year, it made an impression. The first one though takes my breath away. Hand made you say? Then I would have to say that this is an art quilt! Look at the way you have graduated the shades into paler and paler versions of themselves until they become a mere shadow. And I love the intensity of colours in the outer edges ……. The attention to detail is surely worthy of a best in show!!

    • You’re such a great friend, Pauline! I’m glad you like my quilts–and I know you love color! One of my tricks for that red and green quilt was to use both the “right” and “wrong” sides of the fabric, to get more color variation. The wrong side of the fabric are often lighter, fainter, and subtler than the right side. It was a fun quilt to make.

      • I never picked you had used both sides of the fabric Kerry – in my mind you were spending hours hunting through the stash and then various fabric stores to find just the right thing …… sigh!! That is a very clever use of fabric! Did I say how impressed I was that these are also all hand stitched? Wow!!

  12. Wow. I’ve never been to a quilt show, though I’ve admired individual quilts–those of friends and some of my grandmother’s. Your quilts are gorgeous. And the raffle quilt, and if I start naming them, this will go on and on. Thanks for writing about this! It really brings the show process to light. I’m in awe of your skills.

    • Thank you, Lisa! You should make an effort to go to a local show sometime–seeing so many quilts in one place is a mind-blowing experience! It might inspire you to try your hand at quilting–it often appeals to the same people who love gardening!

  13. What an enjoyable post. I’ve poured over all of your photo galleries and left comments as I went along. They’re all stunning in their own way, and the skill and time that goes into them is incredible. I’ve always loved quilts and always meant to pick it up as a hobby but never did. Maybe one day.

    Thanks for sharing your own beautiful quilts along with several of those featured in the show. Your color choices are vibrant and blend beautifully, one piece to the next. I hope you get a lot of joy from working the quilts. It sure looks like an enjoyable past time, with something both practical and useful as well as beautiful, when you’re done.

    • It’s so nice to have you back, Alys! You spent a lot of time on this post of mine–thank you. I think you’d love quilting–I just said to Lisa that gardeners and quilters are often the same people–something about blocks of color and order, I guess. I wish you lived here–we could to quilt guild together!

      • Thank you, Kerry! I like that analogy of gardeners and quilters. I may get to it yet in the years ahead.

        It would be great fun to attend a quilt show together. I know I would learn a lot from you, too.

  14. Amazing and beautiful work , Kerry…thank you for sharing the photos and also filling readers( who don’t have a quilter’s background) in on the format of these shows. I especially loved you quilt in the rich blues! great work!

    • Thanks–I loved making that quilt–it took FOREVER! Local quilt shows are a lot of fun–if you have the chance, check one out. It’s amazing to see the range of creativity all in one space.

  15. Love your nine patch! Great, moody sort of colors. I am into them, since I am still working on my bed quilt. I like the banners too. Just like you, I probably would’t have done one either, but they look wonderful all together.

    • I’m not much into fussy cutting and sewing so the nine-patch is a nice pattern for me! The guild challenge for this coming year is a red and white quilt–hmmm . . . I need a straightforward pattern that will have some oomph!

  16. The standards here are so high! I loved the quilt of yours which moved from dark reds to blues which was so satisfying to look at, in the same way that an Escher drawing is, making the viewer feel that some puzzle has been solved.
    I also loved Auntie Green’s Garden and the old Crazy Quilt. I must say that you have really made me think about making a crazy quilt. Now how am I going to find time to do that ?! 🙂

  17. I find such inspiration in going to a guilt show and looking at all the quilts made by such talented quilters. The sky is the limit with regard to future projects. But, I also find some solace in noticing that maybe in an instance or two there might be blocks that aren’t perfectly lined up – almost perfectly but not quite because it means there’s hope for me. 🙂 I also went this year with a person with totally different likes and dislikes, and it was amazing how one would appeal to her and not me and vice versa. I think quilts speak to a person but sometimes you are receptive and some times you aren’t, but you always appreciate the hard work and hours involved in their creation. 🙂

    • I am always fascinated by the little “mistakes” in quilts, too–to me, it’s just evidence that the pieces were made by real people! And I love that what appeals to me can leave a friend cold. I saw so many quilts with very hot, saturated colors at our show. It’s definitely a trend that many people love but I like more muted and subdued colors. Chacun a son gout!

  18. Wow, your quilts are amazing! And hand quilted to boot. I don’t think I could ever have that much patience! Congrats 🙂 I absolutely love going to quilt shows, it showcases the incredible work of quilters of yesterday, today and tomorrow, it’s really inspirational.

  19. Wow, these quilts are incredible. I love your quilts. I really like the visual impact of the top one with the light squares in the middle. It’s so artistic. I’m not a quilter, but if I was I’d be a hand quilter. 🙂

    • Thank you, Sheryl! It’s funny about hand quilting–some people are completely uninterested in doing it. Very few people in my guild do it, even though most of them know how. It IS slow but I love the process. And I love the tradition behind it–so it doesn’t surprise me that you’d choose hand quilting, knowing your interest in history and tradition!

  20. I can see how it would be easy to be overwhelmed by quilts, be they ever so beautiful. But here is something equally overwhelming…have you ever thought how awful it is that advertisers have taken the comfort and loveliness of quilts to sell toilet paper and kitchen paper? Nowadays the closest some of us get to quilting is the row upon row of quilted toilet paper!

  21. Wonderful. Amazing. My goodness. All that hand work. Such beauty. I love your quilts too, Kerry. Such beautiful work. Your third one is unusual and striking. I wish I could quilt but I am in awe of it.

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