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Collections & Hobbies

Quilting is cool again

2/6/2019

Modern quilts by local guild members are accepted by QuiltCon 2019.

Quilting demographics have changed in recent years. Quilts are now useful, artistic and increasingly popular amongst all generations, according to three members of the Central Iowa Modern Quilt Guild, from left: Jessica Plunkett, Eva Marie Evans and Julie Doy.

Meticulous attention to detail. Imagination. The ability to follow detailed instructions. Expensive tools and equipment. Homemade quilts often require hundreds of dollars of fabric, materials and supplies. But that is just the beginning. The dollar figures don’t account for the untold amounts of time logged — the hours, if they were to be tracked, would generally number in the dozens.

Four local quilters — Julie Doy, Eva Marie Evans, Riane Menardi Morrison and Jessica Plunkett, all of the Central Iowa Modern Quilt Guild, a local chapter of the international Modern Quilt Guild (MQG) — will contribute five accepted entries and have their respective quilts displayed at MQG’s QuiltCon in Nashville, Tennessee, from Feb. 21-24. The event is one of the largest modern quilting shows in the nation.

These modern quilters don’t begrudge any of the effort they’ve expended. Theirs is a labor of love.

“We are passionate about quilting,” says Jessica Plunkett, president of Central Iowa Modern Quilt Guild.

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She says the quilting demographics have changed in recent years. Quilts are now useful, artistic and increasingly popular amongst all generations. MQG has more than 15,000 members in more than 200 guilds in 39 countries. QuiltCon draws thousands of attendees from around the globe and will display more than 500 modern quilts at its 2019 show while also hosting a multitude of workshops. The organization received more than 1,700 entries and accepted only 350 quilts to its juried show.

“For a small-sized guild that has only been active for two years, our members have had great success in displaying quilts at QuiltCon,” says Plunkett. “Our members also regularly have quilts displayed at the Iowa State Fair, the Des Moines Area Quilter’s Guild Show and many other juried national and international events.”

Quilts are done in stages, according to Evans. Multiple projects enable her to work on them in various locations depending on the work stage. She does some stages in solitude and others with her husband while he is watching football.

Some quilters, like Doy, work on only one quilt at a time. Others have several projects going at any given time.

“I probably have, right now, more than 20 active projects going,” says Plunkett. “But I have a list of probably 50 that I want to work on this year.”

The increased interest in the craft is partially due to social media outlets. The ability to learn online, view the work of others and to show off your own skills draws people in.

“There are millions of quilters on Instagram,” Plunkett says. “My Instagram account is just quilting. I don’t talk about my kids, my husband or anything else. It’s just quilts.” ♦

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