One of the largest quilt shows in New England is the World Quilt New England show in Manchester NH put on by Mancuso Show Management. I’m fortunate to live just a half hour or so away from where the show is so I always make it a point to put it on my calendar. This year’s show took place August 16-18.
I was there on the first day just as the show was opening thinking that the crowds would be pretty light (after all it was a Thursday and I figured most people would be at work) but it turns out that opening day usually draws the biggest crowd according to the show organizer that I talked with. Since the show is held in a hotel is split it up into two large rooms combining both quilt exhibits and vendors in each which helps to disperse the crowd a bit and alleviate that shoulder to shoulder, push and pull feeling you get at some shows. It also makes it feel more of an immersive experience because the quilt exhibits are interspersed among the vendors so rather than just looking at one or the other you can bounce back and forth between the two.
“Exploring Color” 60” x 40” by Catherine McDonald of New Zealand
There was plenty of shopping to be had at the show with 49 vendors from 20 states across the country and whether you were shopping for fat quarters or a long arm there was a booth for it. Major vendors such as Innova, Superior Threads, Gammill, and Martelli were all represented right alongside local vendors such as Keepsake Quilting, Nashua Sew & Vac and Bits ’N’ Pieces Quilt Shoppe and which is pretty standard for a traveling show like this. While most of the fabric shops had the usual offerings of fabric, threads, patterns and of course fat quarter packs,
Bag making supplies for sale.
I did notice that there seemed to be a resurgence in making bags again. I came across several vendors selling bag making patterns, supplies and hardware and Wingspan Crafts had a very popular booth that was packed full of everything you need to make your own bags.
“Quilt Melt” by Lorraine Woodruff-Long of San Francisco CA 44” x 57”
What I didn’t see was any displays or samples with a modern quilt aesthetic. Given the popularity of the modern quilting movement, this was somewhat of a surprise.
Caleb Camel Collage Quilt Pattern by Laura Heine.
In the vendor hall collage quilt patterns by Laura Heine seemed very popular and were carried by several different vendors. In the quilt exhibits, I noticed a lot of collage and raw edge appliqué work on display. There was also a good amount of traditional quilts, along with some incredibly fancy free motion design quilting. I also noted quite a few quilts with limited color palettes where the quilter used just black and white as the primary colors. Overall, quilts with texture created using collage, raw edge appliqué, and hand stitching combined with machine quilting were definitely in the majority.
Award-winning fiber artist Sue Bleiweiss creates vibrant colorful and whimsical quilted fiber art collages using her own hand dyed cotton. She is the author of “The Sketchbook Challenge”, “Colorful Fabric Collage” and her latest book Modern Art Quilts will be available in Fall 2018. She is a regular contributor to Quilting Arts Magazine and has made several TV appearances including The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims and Quilting Arts TV. Sue’s award-winning quilts have been exhibited internationally and reside in private collections all over the world.