In 1910, women in Washington state received the right to vote. However, long before they could cast ballots they still found a way to make their voices heard, using needle and thread. Karen Liguori, member of the Spokane chapter of Washington State Quilters said, “Throughout the years, women have expressed their political ideas through quilting. They even used to take campaign ribbons and turn them into quilts.”
“Women’s Voices,” is the theme for the 32nd annual WSQ Spokane Quilt Show. Organizers expect thousands of visitors to flock to the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center to celebrate the art of quilting.
This year’s featured quilter is Karen Brown from Otis Orchards. Brown, a professional longarm machine quilter, pieced her first quilt in 1981. “My grandma’s quilts were all made of leftover fabric and were squares, pieced in random order and tied with yarn. I had a lot of flannel scraps left over from making flannel pajama bottoms for my boys,” she said. So she stitched quilts for both of her boys.
Brown will unveil her latest creations this weekend, including three quilts she made as graduation gifts for her grandchildren. One of them, “Lindsey’s Pinwheels,” was birthed from Brown’s infatuation with lime green fabric. She said the green and purple quilt is perfect for her granddaughter. “She’s a funky, edgy type girl. It suits her personality to a T!”
In addition to displaying her work, Brown will give several presentations. “I certainly never considered myself an artist, growing up,” she said. “But I enjoy the creativity of quilting.”
The show will feature more than 600 quilted items and daily quilting demonstrations. The soothing music of harpist, Journey Brown, will add an elegant ambiance, as enthusiasts browse the merchant mall and take in the Hoffman Challenge Traveling Quilt Exhibit.
Organizers expect the club challenge exhibit to be a popular draw. The theme is Woman’s Vices. Liguori said, “Some titles had to do with chocolate and one featured flip flops!”
This year’s raffle quilt “Gems,” is a colorful combination of bright Batik blocks. Guests can purchase as many $1 tickets as they wish and the quilt will be awarded to the winner on Sunday.
The Mountain of Quilts was a big success last year and Spokane WSQ members hope to build on the idea. Quilters are invited to bring quilts of all sizes and add them to the Mountain of Quilts at the show. These items will be given to charities throughout the region. “Last year we collected and distributed 700 quilts,” said Liguori.
The quilt show isn’t just about shopping and learning, it’s also about competition, and visitors play an important role. Echoing the theme of Women’s Voices, attendees can exercise their right to vote by selecting their favorite quilts. “Anyone who attends can choose a favorite quilt in any or every category,” Liguori said. “Public votes are important because they determine the ribbons awarded to the winners.”