Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Quilt Show - Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza 2019

In mid-September I attended a quilt show put on by the Mancuso organization, Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza. It is held annually in suburban Philadelphia, a little over an hour's drive from where I live in New Jersey.

I've attended this show most years but the quality keeps declining, making me wonder about the future of quilt shows.  Have the internet, blogs, Pinterest, and Instagram filled the need for inspiration and contact with other quilters such that quilt shows no longer serve the same purpose?  While there were some outstanding quilts on exhibit in the show, I also saw a lot of quilts on display that in my mind fell far short of quilt show standard - uninspiring design and inferior workmanship.  I don't expect to like every quilt displayed, nor do they all need to be perfect, but they should inspire in some way and exhibit superior workmanship.  Elizabeth of OccasionalPiece-Quilt blog had a similar experience at Pacific International Quilt Festival, another Mancuso show.  So if you've been thinking about entering a quilt in a show,  just do it!   They appear to be in need of exhibitors and your work is probably much better than you think.

Okay, enough negativity.  Like I said, there were some fabulous quilts.  You can see the prize winners here.   And plenty of very cool quilts that didn't win prizes; I'm showing you a few of my favorites here.

The quilt below was a raffle quilt.  It caught my eye and I knew there was something familiar about it.  On closer examination, I recognized the fabric collection as Garden Delights from In the Beginning fabrics.  I have jelly rolls and fat quarters from this fabric collection in my stash, waiting for a use to present itself and this quilt gave me some ideas. 

I knew this next quilt was in the show and was looking for it.  I am a follower of Wendy Welsh's blog, where this quilt made its original appearance.  Wendy has won prizes for her quilts in her native New Zealand and in Australia and mentioned that this quilt had been selected for an international tour.  This quilt, Vibrant Curiosities, was English paper pieced in mostly Tula Pink fabrics then hand quilted. 

The primary shape is an octagon.  It must have taken ages to piece this 80" by 80" quilt!  The mix of colors is really fabulous - there are so many different prints and colors, it could easily have turned out a hot mess, but no, it is very striking.

This next quilt, Sexie Hexies, was in an aisle that displayed quilts by quilters who were teaching at the show.  Sarah Bond had several quilts using wedges and curved piecing, all part of a series she calls Coming Full Circle

Sarah Bond teaches at shows, including the 2020 Modern Quilt Guild show.  This is something I'd like to learn to do. 

She made great use of color in this block. 

 The show also included an exhibit of quilts from Kaffe Fassett books.  I liked this one, called Ripples (from Quilts in Ireland), in softer colors than I associate with Kaffe Fassett designs. 

Lots of half square triangles here!

 This last quilt is called Confetti Star, by Missy Bauer.  She made it using a jelly roll then it was quilted by Nora Dougherty.  The quilting is absolutely fabulous, especially in the open spaces.  I've seen other examples of this kind of lopped off lone star and am putting it on my to-make list. 

 photo signature_zps7mcw44cc.png


  1. Yes, I think you are right and sad that some of the shows are getting smaller and less attended. I still enjoy seeing the quilts and vendors and there is such a wealth of info at these shows that you don't get sometimes online. Thanks for the pics....

  2. Holy smokes, those are small wedges in those Sarah Bond quilts, but they are striking. I think one way social media has possibly impacted quilt shows is that people see mostly the best work of people and so they're left feeling like their work might not be good enough.

  3. I was at the Mancuso show at the Oaks too. I thought that there was a great variety of quilts there. I enjoyed it. I have also gone to the shows in Lancaster. The old shows at the “Host” were wonderful. AQS started doing shows at Lancaster at the Convention Center. The shows were always poorly lit but there used to be lots of quilts and vendors. It has declined severely, still poorly lit quilts, not many vendors. I’m sad to say that I will not attend an AQS show again. Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings said last year that their booth sales at shows was down and she was asking what prople want to see. I’m wondering what the future holds and what shows are worth attendance. I usually need to drive 3-4 hours and stay at least overnight.

  4. Well, at least you found some beautiful quilts at your show. I stopped going to our local show years ago 'cause of what you said -- the quality just wasn't there. Like you, I don't expect perfection, but I don't expect obvious tucks and ripples in the fabric either. I don't think the internet is the culprit -- I think standards have just gone down. Along with the "everyone is a winner" attitude -- if I can be a winner with tucks and ripples, why go to the extra work to not have them??? You know, the "Finished is better than Perfect" attitude. Now, it's my turn to get off the soapbox LOL.


I love hearing from you - thanks for taking the time to leave a message.