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Sherri Richards, Published September 20 2012

Annual Fargo quilt show weighs artistic aspects of craft

If you go

What: 33rd Annual Indian Summer Quilt Show and Conference

When: 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. today, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Fargo Civic Center, Centennial Hall

Info: Admission is $5 per adult, children under 12 free. A three-day pass is $10

FARGO – Members of the Quilters’ Guild of North Dakota are piecing together their signature event in a new venue.

Moving this weekend’s Indian Summer Quilt Show and Conference to the Fargo Civic Center’s Centennial Hall means more room for quilt displays and vendors.

“It was a bit scary to try to plan a new venue that was much larger than the old one,” says Muriel Richardson, chairwoman of the 33rd annual quilt conference and show. “We have had no problem filling it with quilt entries.”

More than 240 quilts are now hanging at the Civic. All but a few were judged by nationally certified judge Klaudeen Hansen of Sun Prairie, Wis., Richardson says.

Quilt judges like Hansen look not only for good technique – nice bindings, perfect corners – but its artistic qualities as well, Richardson says.

Contest categories include fabric art, original design and fashion and fun. Other categories are based on quilt size or technique.

“I think people are enjoying the back-to-roots quilting, and also art quilts have taken on this whole new path,” Richardson says.

Virginia Dambach, publicity chairwoman of the show and conference, says there has been a large resurgence and interest in crazy quilting, which feature beading, embroidery and auxiliary materials beyond fabric and thread.

She’s excited to shop at a new bead vendor at the show, one of more than two dozen vendor booths.

The exhibitor space and teaching lineup have also been expanded this year to include a commercial machine quilting segment. For the first time, class participants can try out a long-arm machine, Dambach says.

“We have had demonstrations (of a long-arm machine) in the past, but never had classes where people could really work on their own pieces,” Dambach says.

Dambach says new interest in quilting has led to new products, which make the onerous tasks of quilting more efficient.

“The fabrics now are so stunning, and we have so many tools ... even when I started quilting in the ’80s, we didn’t have rotary cutters,” Dambach says. “There are so many things that make life worth living as a quilter.”

The quilt show has a full slate of classes taught by three national teachers and 15 regional teachers. There is also a raffle, silent auction and scavenger hunt for kids, Dambach says.

“For a quilter or someone who enjoys quilts, it’s the event of our season,” she says. “Not only do you get to look at quilts, you get to see demonstrations, you get inspired and you have to buy some things.”