Madison Quilt Expo 2018

I just returned home from 3½ fun filled days in Madison, WI at the Quilt Expo. Each year I like to do a post about the show because each year it seems to get bigger and better. It has become a national level show, with quilts and vendors from all over the US and a few other countries as well.

I know many quilters go to shows for the vendors, and I do enjoy a bit of the shopping frenzy, but my favorite part of the show is always the quilts. So, I immediately headed towards the competition quilts – and the first grouping I saw was the Expo’s annual challenge: “Bake Off”. My friend Lori had entered a spectacular quilt she entitled “Tools of the Trade” – and SHE WON THIRD PLACE!

Great job Lori!

I knew there was a special memorial exhibit of Nancy Zieman and Natalie Sewell’s quilts, so I decided to head there next. You may remember I posted about Natalie’s passing 2 months ago.

They were such good friends, and special friends of mine. I loved seeing their quilts one more time.

These dear ladies will be missed.

From there I went to see the competition quilts. The beauty, skill and creativity displayed in these quilts was overwhelming. What a feast for the eyes! I’d like to share just a few of my personal favorites, along with a photo of the cards that describe the quilt and credit the maker:

The detailed appliqué on this quilt is amazing, and the hand-quilting is so well done.

This quilt has a lovely, vintage feel, and I think the simple grid quilting was the perfect choice.

Made to God’s glory!

Kim’s use of ombré fabrics took this colorful quilt to a whole new level.

These talented ladies are friends of mine, and they all are very skilled crazy quilters.

I found Colin’s story fascinating.

What a wonderful use of a gradation fabric as the background, and what a joy to be able to share in Eileen’s celebration!

This one caused me to do a double-take. Take a look at the following close-up:

Now that’s true recycling!

The second day of the show a friend came up to me and said she liked my quilt. I was a bit confused, as I hadn’t entered a quilt this year. It turns out the Sun Prairie Barn Challenge quilts were hanging at the show and my barn was traveling with the group. Mine’s the one at the top right in the corner:

I repliquéd the interior of my friend Di’s Falkwerk barn, with a view of their traditional red barn out the window. I was sure I had shared that quilt in a previous blog post, but I can’t seem to find it. I think you might find it interesting, so please watch for it in a future post  🙂 .

I was blessed with the opportunity to teach at Expo once again this year. I taught both a Seminole piecing border workshop, and presented my new Modular Memory Quilts lecture. The students were delightful and I feel everything went well (although I forgot to take any pictures 🙁 ).

Over the years I’ve shared photos of a blue sedan covered in rubber duckies that is usually somewhere in the parking lot of the convention center, but I hadn’t noticed it for a couple of years. Well, as I was leaving the show to go out with a friend for pizza one night – look what was in front of us! Different car, same duckies.

They make me smile!

It was another spectacular show! And I enjoyed all aspects of it, but I think my favorite part each year is reconnecting with friends. Smiling, reminiscing, sharing stories and laughter, as well as starting some new friendships. What a blessing this quilt show is! Thanks to everyone at Nancy’s Notions and Wisconsin Public Television who work hard to make it a first class event. Thanks also to all the wonderful volunteers. I’m already looking forward to next year.


17 Opinions

  • Judy Stowell said:

    Thanks for the wonderful photos Chris. Sorry I missed Expo this year – hopefully I’ll get there next year.

  • Pat Zimmerman said:

    My daughter and I attended your lecture on Modular Memory Quilts and loved it. Please, please, please publish a book, as you mentioned it as a possibility! Are you teaching “Replique” anywhere in the near future? Thanks!

  • Ruth said:

    I love your blog. Your class and lecture were wonderful. I hope to be able to take more classes from you in the future. By the way the duck car is owned by the owner of the Electric Needle. It is a sewing machine and fabric shop here in Madison.
    Thanks again for a wonderful class.

  • Alice Brooks said:

    Chris- It was great to see you! Made my day to have a few minutes to chat!

  • Nancy Sojka said:

    Chris, Thanks for mentioning my recycled quilt made from Carl’s paint clothes. I have to give you some credit: you were my first machine quilting instructor–at a workshop done with the Northeast Iowa Quilters’ Guild! You showed me how to set up my 25-year-old Riccar sewing machine to quilt. I moved up to a newer Bernina with a stitch regulator a couple of years ago.
    Thanks again!

    • Carol said:

      Loved this quilt…glad you did, too, Chris
      True recycling. Workday necessities elevated to an Art form..
      P.s. I think the ducks on the car live with the owner of a quilt shop in Madison, The Electric Needle. Visible from the belt line and insures the shop is open!

  • Joanie Oberfoell said:

    Was at show Thursday, beautiful quilts, you did a great job on yours as usual, great vendors. Sorry I wasn’t able to see you.

  • Nadine Cordio said:

    Hi Chris, I really appreciate this “at home mini quilt show” from you. I had hip surgery recently and had to miss Expo this year. Excellent pics and descriptions here. And a reminder to me to finish my project from my class with you last year. Thanks, thanks, thanks.

  • Nancy Pederson said:

    I saw you at Expo this year, Chris, but didn’t have a chance to say Hi! Thanks for posting a picture of my friends with the Door County quilt. I used to be part of the group, but my diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease in 2014 caused me to discontinue. I know they were working on the Door County quilt, so it’s nce to see it finished.

  • Jodi Grzeczka said:

    I had such a great time this year! I attended alone, but I wasn’t alone! I met so many of my good friends from home, and instantly bonded with like-hearted quilters along the way, in classes, lectures, even when I sat on a bench to eat an ice cream cone! This weekend was spectacular and has revved up my quilting juices to keep up the creativity! It was good to see you, Chris, and I, too am already looking forward to next year!

  • Geri Traub said:

    I had the pleasure of attending the quilt expo this year on Thursday with my very dear friend, Gladys Rosakowski. Gladys actually taught me the fine art of quilting who, in my opinion, is an “expert”. The Quilt Expo was great. It was so nice to buy some items from the vendors. Since I live in Antigo, WI the quilt shops in my area are all over an hour away.

  • Laura said:

    Saw you at WI Sheep and Wool on Sunday too,yes?

  • Cheryl Parker said:

    I saw your barn quilt at the show. It was a great show, but, very crowded.

  • Joanne howe said:

    Myself and 3 like minded quilters went on Saturday. Always enjoy the quilts first for inspiration and then shop to replenish my fabric addiction. A beautiful day!

  • Cari said:

    Enjoyed your barn quilt as I had not seen it before. Great that our friend sue took home a raffle prize.

    • Chris Kirsch said:

      Yes – I was there when she found out. 3 bundles of Cherrywood. I was a bit jealous, but it couldn’t have happened to a sweeter quilter :-).


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