Jane Tripp of Springfield said that she needed a little inspiration for her new hobby, quilting.
"I'm just starting," she said. "I'm just gathering more things than actually stitching at this point."
So with camera in hand, Tripp headed to the 2007 Quilt Spectrum, presented by the Hands All Around Quilt Guild of Central Illinois, held at the Interstate Center Saturday and Sunday.
The event attracted spectators from all over Central Illinois, where more than 200 quilts were displayed, most made by guild's 350 members. Charlette Elm, publicity chair for HAAQG, said the ability to be creative helps attract people to quilting.
"This is something that a lot of people found when they had young families, and it was a creative activity that they could do at home," Elm said. "It's also a way to make some good friends."
Rows of quilts were on display as passersby inspected and commented on the quality and difficulty of their design. The main theme of the show was challenge, as quilters were asked to make something they found to be particularly difficult, such as a particularly difficult stitching technique.
This quilt challenge did no t go unrewarded as ballots were cast to determine awards in numerous categories, including best of show.
"If I stand back and a quilt just grabs my eye, then I know it's good," Elm said about making her choice. "It's like going to an art gallery and something just grabs your attention when you walk in."
There was no shortage of talent at the event, especially when it came to featured artist and ISU alumna, Barbara Miller, who has been making quilts for 25 years.
"I just love the fabric and the color, but the design is what I love most about quilts," Miller said. "My inspiration is usually nature . . . and I make a lot of them through trial and error by adding or taking away fabrics or design elements."
Nineteen vendors from Illinois, Indiana and Missouri were on hand, offering every pattern and fabric imaginable. Jewelry yarn, handmade wooden crafts and even cookbooks were also made available to the 1,100 quilt enthusiasts who attended over the weekend. The vendors themselves had nothing but good things to say about the level of quality of the event.
"The quilts are absolutely beautiful, and anyone that appreciates beautiful artwork would be impressed." Gail Warning, co-owner of Peddlers Way Quilt Co. in Washington, said.
"It's amazing," Sheri Kinman, owner of The Fiber Shop in Bloomington, said. "The talent here just amazes me."
Tripp said she gets a lot of inspiration from the quilts, and that this event was one of the best that she has been to.
"I've been to bigger ones in Peoria and Paducah Ky., but at this one you can actually walk up and see them very well. They're not bunched up," Tripp said.
Elm said next year will mark the 25th anniversary of HAAQG, and she said that it is going to be an even bigger event.