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What is the Raleigh Quilt Expo?

Rona Herman

Another year at the annual Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Raleigh, NC is in the record books. And this year, we got Cosplay!!

Driving out to the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Raleigh, NC has become a ritual. Every year I get up before dawn, fill my thermos of coffee and head out the door. Every year I am amazed at all the talent represented in both quilting and sewing form.

But First, we learn.

Every year at the Raleigh Expo I try to work in a couple classes. After all, I am always eager to learn more about quilting! This year I was able to get into two very different classes. Embroidery and Scraps.

How to add dimension to applique and embroidery

My first class of the day was with Cindy Losekamp where she discussed ‘adding dimension to applique and embroidery’. I must say, at first, although I do love applique, the idea of adding applique to clothing was a complete turn off. UNTIL, I saw some of her work. Oh my! Everything from jackets and sweatshirts to kids clothes, the possibilities were endless. I was so fascinated with her samples that these were the only ones I remembered to take a picture of.

Cindy’s techniques were quite fascinating. Using couching, silk screening, hand stitching, trims and much more she creates an incredible layer of depth to her work. I’m definitely glad I took the class because most all of her techniques can also be used on quilts!

Oh, Scrap!

The second class of the day was a lot of fun. Heather Kojan gave us her list of different ways to use up scraps of all shapes, colors and sizes. Have you ever made a greeting card using scraps? Me either! But, now I want to.

What to do with fabric scraps

String quilts, Charm quilts, Postage Stamp quilts, all possibilities when working with scraps. And, depending on the background you use, the look of the designs can be fantastic!

Time for lunch!

Although there really is no food inside the Convention Center, there are LOADS of places within a very short walking distance to fit anyone’s fancy. Since a couple friends had joined me at the Expo, we decided to try something new.

And we did. Walking approximately 2 blocks away we stumbled upon a greatest little hole in the wall cafe called Sosta. Sosta serves French style Cuisine using all fresh ingredients. The cafe is so French, so is the owner! Super fun and friendly atmosphere, I highly recommend a stop. And, don’t forget the espresso!

Here comes the Cosplay!

In years past the Expo has mostly been focused on quilting. As a quilter, that always made me happy. However, this year I was delighted to see so many entries from the Cosplay arena including from our friend Cheryl Sleboda from Sew Much Cosplay. She’s also a teacher here every year.

What is cosplay

Warning, geek ahead

You may not know this, but I’m a big geek. In fact, in my younger years I frequented the NorWesCon convention in SeaTac, Washington. Nearly 20 years I attended that Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention and every year I was floored by the amount of talent in the Cosplay represented. When Star Wars, the Phantom Menace came out in theaters, you would have thought some of these people actually worked on set their costumes were so amazing!

Although, some people do tend to take their cosplaying a little overboard. As in, one year I was waiting for the elevator to take me down to the main floor of the hotel. The moment the doors opened I had to do a double take. There, in front of me, were 3 Klingons that looked like they were heading back to set to begin shooting the next Star Trek film. Dutifully impressed, I walked in and the doors closed. Then, the strangest sounds started coming from behind me. They were actually having a conversation with each other IN KLINGON. Now, I may be a big geek. But, actually speaking full Klingon is far beyond my powers.

No Klingons or Princess Amidala’s were present at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Raleigh, however the imagination and talent was well represented. Cosplay interpretations from Disney to Japanese animation were on display in all their grandeur!

Oh those Quilts!!

As always, the quilts are simply stunning. This year there were 2 exhibits that took the cake for me. The military collection and the National Parks interpretations.

Dating all the way back to World War I, these stunning military quilts all told a story of love and valor. The time and attention sewn into these quilts always pull a little at my heart strings.

New this year was the National Parks exhibit. Each piece was inspired by one of the many parks around the country. As an avid traveler and National Parks passport holder, these were especially enjoyable for me. I only captured a few of the amazing quilts but I think you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.

All in all, the Expo was a success. The vendors were tremendous and the quilts were amazing. So much inspiration in one building! Next up, the Barn Quilt festival! Until we meet again next year!

As always, Hoppy Quilting!

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