Quilters Unlimited 44th Annual Quilt Show

Northern Virginia is home to a group of avid quilters who belong to a vibrant and very large guild. Quilters Unlimited is comprised of 11 chapters throughout the Northern Virginia region. Each year they have a show in Dulles, and this year I *finally* made it there.

As you would expect from such a large group, there were a wide variety of quilt styles represented. In addition to the approximately 500 quilts made by QU members, there was a fabulous special exhibit, as well as an unexpectedly large and varied vendor mall. It was certainly worth braving the traffic around the Washington Beltway to get there.

Here’s a sampling of the work shown.

One of the first pieces I saw was this gorgeous original design by Judy Ballance.

Dee’s Orchids ©Judy Ballance

Look at the beautifully detailed stitching.

Detail Dee’s Orchids ©Judy Ballance

How about this charming story of a quilt that was started in the 1930’s, then finished much later? Dottie Dane’s description of her quilt tells the story better than I can.

Isn’t that wonderful? Here’s a detail of the finished heirloom.

Eighty Years of Stitches ©Dottie Dane; Made by Lena and Dottie Dane, quilted by Deb Spitz

I was delighted to see that John Trundle took an amazing photograph in 1986 of hot air balloons that was much like those I took a few weeks ago at the Preakness Balloon Festival. He made a fantastic quilt based on the photo, and used nylon to pay homage to the balloons themselves. Love it! (My apologies that this particular photo is not completely sharp, the quilt was hung a little too high for me to get a really good shot.)

Hot Air and Nylon ©John Trundle

Baby clothes hold so much sentiment for many of us. (It was all I could do to part with some of my boys’ clothes!) Bonny Siekman incorporated the pockets of baby clothes in this heart-warming quilt. Wouldn’t it be fun to hide message or trinkets in those pockets?

Larkin’s Quilt ©Bonny Siekman quilted by Marcia McConnell

There were a number of challenge quilts at the show. All QU members were invited to submit quilts to represent this year’s Quilt Show theme of “Wing It”. There were many well done pieces, but these two particularly caught my eye.

A Luna moth with detailed stitching? Yes please. Look at the thread play on Wing It – Luna by Sandy Kretzer.

Detail from Wing It – Luna ©Sandy Kretzer

Owl Moon by Anna Willard demonstrates an exceptional use of textured embellishments.

Owl Moon ©Anna Willard

The rickrack, crochet, and raw edged feathers add lots of dimension.

Owl Moon ©Anna Willard

And speaking of the moon, my friend Susanne Jones was also at the show with the Fly Me to the Moon collection that she curated. As always, it was great to see Susanne and this wonderful group of quilts that she’s assembled.

Susanne Jones with one of the quilts she made for her Fly Me to the Moon exhibit.


Part of the Fly Me to the Moon collection.

As  mentioned previously, the vendor mall was quite impressive. I definitely plan to go back next year! Congratulations and thank you to all the QU folks for putting on such a fine show. I’m looking forward to speaking at the Reston chapter in September and the Arlington chapter in October, as well as getting the opportunity to see more work from these talented quilters.

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