This was the week of the long-awaited Des Moines Quilt Show. Once again the show did not disappoint. One of the highlights of the show for me was a group of quilts from Caohagan, a tiny island in the Philippines. About 15 years ago a quilter moved to the island and started teaching the natives to quilt. Now about 125 of the 600 residents quilt and the quilting industry represents about one third of the island’s economy. The quilting is all done by hand except the last step when the binding is put around the edge. In order to set the colors in the fabric of the quilts they soak them in the ocean when they are all done.
The show is put on by the American Quilting Society (AQS), based in Peducah, Kentucky. The Des Moines Quilters serve as hosts and also display some of the quilts from their extensive collections. The show also features a number of theme-based quilt collections and a dozens of vendors selling the latest gadgets and technological wonders for the modern quilt-maker.
So many people still have the mistaken idea that quilting involves just piecing random pieces of cloth together to make glorified blankets but quilting has come a long way from its humble beginnings. It’s much more of an art form now than just a way to use up left over scraps of cloth. I would love to share some of the pictures I took at the show but these high-end quilts are protected by copyright laws. Two of the quilts I remember from last year’s show were pretty technical. One was based on the Fibonacci Sequence and the other, which won the grand prize, was entitled, “Quilter’s DNA.”
The AQS also puts on shows in Michigan and Tennessee. Their main show of the year is in April in Pedecah where they also have the National Quilt Museum.