Prairie Piecemakers Quilt Guild Show

NEW ULM – Quilts come in endless styles and in infinite combinations. In many ways a quilt is like a snowflake. A clear pattern and theme are present in the design, but no two are alike.

It is in this spirit the Prairie Piecemakers Quilt Guild hosts the 2014 Quilt Show on March 21 and 22 in New Ulm at the Event Center.

The biennial event brings in hundreds of people from all over the Midwest, according to Joleen Koch, member of the Quilt Show Committee and Guild member.

The Piecemakers are also celebrating 20 years as a group. Starting in 1994 the guild has grown to 80 members Most members join because they share an interest in quilting; however, non-quilters have joined to meet friends and later became enthusiastic creators of their own quilts.

In preparation for the show, guild members recently gathered at the Schoenstatt Retreat Center in Sleepy Eye. The guild meets at the center at least twice a year. Members joke that the idea behind the retreats is to meet, eat and socialize – and maybe sew. Most members already have made enough quilts to host their personal mini-show. Some members have been known to make 40 quilts in a single year.

“For our quilt show we limit it to eight quilts per person, plus some special exhibits not counted in the eight,” said Koch.

Production numbers are always up during a show year. The 2014 show will feature at least 334 quilts from 50 members. Sizes range from miniature quilts to queen size; hand quilted and machine quilted; beginner patterns to exquisite hand appliqued quilts.

Non-quilters are often surprised to learn quilting is a multi-million dollar industry. New Ulm has three quilt shops. Guild members cite the nation’s bicentennial in 1976 that re-awakened the art form. Americans were looking back on history and revived the hobby. New tools, technologies and techniques have made quilting easier than ever before, which increased its popularity. The Internet has also been a major influence. Various websites offer numerous quilt patterns, often for free.

The quilt show will feature dozens of vendors from all over Minnesota. Fellow quilters will have a chance to stockpile fabric and other materials. Demonstrations will be held every half hour from guild members on a variety of topics, including “Self Binding Baby Blanket” with Patty Haala, “Positive-Negative Ornament” with Judy Luker, and “Hand Applique” with Mary Waibel.

Guest artist Judy Martin, author of 22 books on quilting, will give a presentation. She was the senior editor and quilt designer for Quilter’s Newsletter and Quiltmaker. Martin’s presentation will focus on her love of log cabin quilts. She will be showing 30 of the log cabin quilts she has made for her books.

The cost of the event is $6 for adults; $3 for students; 12 and under, no charge. All proceeds from the show go to community projects, such as Stitches of Hope, Compassion Quilts, Quilts of Valor and Tummy Time Quilts.

The quilts at the show are for display only. Awards will be given for favorite quilts, but the real purpose of the show is to offer inspiration to all quilters as well as the public.

Prairie Piecemakers meet monthly on the second Thursday of the month from September through May at 7 p.m. in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm.

The Quilt Show will run Friday, March 21 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, March 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m, at the New Ulm Event Center.

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