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California In Bloom - The Applique Society Quilt Show posted: 5/29/2003
by Patricia Littlefield Printable Page
Category: Reviews Method: All Series: On the Road
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The Appliqué Society Quilt Show, Sacramento, California

I am not an appliqué person, but because I was going to be in the area when the Sacramento, California chapter of The Appliqué Society held it's quilt show in May 2003, I just had to attend. So, dressed in the de rigueur blue denim quilter's uniform, I fit right in with all the other attendees, most of whom, I'm sure were authentic appliquérs.

The Appliqué Society was started in 1996 in Washington state by Anita M. Smith. Established as a nonprofit corporation in 1997, TAS as it is known, has since grown into a worldwide organization with members all over the world. Their purpose is "to Promote, to Teach, to Encourage the Love of all Types of Appliqué in Quilting."

There were approximately 162 quilts on display at The Appliqué Society quilt show, which was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Doubletree-Hilton Hotel in Sacramento. Although there was a eclectic mix of hand and machine appliqué, as well as both hand and machine quilting, hand work seemed to be dominant. There were lots of Baltimore Album type quilts, Hawaiian appliqué, reverse appliqué, wearable art, and unique, original quilts, some with embellishments and a three dimensional look and feel to them. And of course, the vendors, many with specialties in the area of appliqué, were around the perimeter of the room.

Because I have not done much appliqué work myself, I was completely humbled the quality of workwomanship that I saw. Tiny, tiny quilting stitches, that at first I was sure had to have been done by machine, turned out on closer inspection to have been done by hand. The same was true of the appliqué stitching; I marveled at how anyone could achieve such invisible stitches. I may have found the answer when talking to one of the "white glove" ladies standing nearby. She told me she started to appliqué when her husband complained that she was turning out pieced quilts too fast and that they had more than they could ever use, so she switched to appliqué and it took her ten years to appliqué 12 blocks for her next quilt. Phew! Talk about patience!

Ballrooms, unfortunately, are not the best venue for quilt shows as the lighting tends to be dim and uneven, and such was the case in this instance. Many of the quilts with black backgrounds or of darker hues did not show up well, because the curtains against which they were mounted were of dark blue, and the overhead lighting was inadequate for the task. This was really a shame because so many of the quilts were not lit as they should have been to show off their makers' skills at appliqué.

The Appliqué Society quilt show in Sacramento was certainly a learning and awe inspiring experience for me. However, it was intimidating as well. I'm afraid I never could develop the patience and precision needed to appliqué with any expertise, much less alacrity.

PS. I also found time to hit five quilt shops in and around Sacramento!

A hui hou, Patricia

©2003 Patricia Littlefield
Ed. Patricia lives in Hawaii and A hui hou means Til we meet again.

Quilt Picture Information:
1. Bloomin' Friends! by Rene Jennings, Barbara Collins, Andi Perejda, Joan Bruce, Jill Myatt, Kitty Lees, Margaret Coombs, Barbara Maroney
2. Nasturtium in Bloom By Patricia Huckaday, Best Use of Color, First Place
3. Windswept By Nancy Dickey
4. Stained Glass Garden By Barbara Little

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