North Star Quilters Guild show celebrates modern and traditional art and craft during two-day run at Grand Forks' Alerus Center

Event offers wide range of quilts to view, as well as trunk shows, demonstrations and presentations for novice and experienced quilters

Colleen Carlson, of Grand Forks, created this quilt, inspired by the Heritage Village Church in East Grand Forks, for the Watercolor Challenge Special Exhibit on display at the North Star Quilters Guild show at the Alerus Center. (Submitted photo)

Members of the North Star Quilters Guild, in partnership with the River Forks Watercolor Society, are presenting the biennial “Quilts on the Red” show Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19-20 at the Alerus Center.

More than 250 quilts, created mostly by regional quilters from throughout North Dakota and Minnesota, will be displayed at the judged show, along with several special exhibits, 14 vendors, demonstrations, daily basket raffles, trunk shows, and quilting, sewing and photography lectures.

A special feature of the show is an exhibit by quilters and watercolor artists who have teamed up again this year -- this time to interpret 30 local iconic landmarks in watercolor and in fabric. Each pair of quilters and artists created one quilt and one watercolor painting of a landmark, said Nancy Klatt, event chairwoman.

“This is the third time we’ve done this pairing,” said Jolene Mikkelson, event organizer. “The watercolor artists chose the topic, local landmarks such as the Smiley water tower, and we had a blind pairing because of the pandemic. The artists didn’t know who their (quilt) partner was” until the exhibit was hung.

Lectures and trunk shows range from traditional to modern quilting topics and practical skill-building. Speakers include professional photographer Russ Hanson, who’ll describe techniques for photographing quilts, and fiber artist and modern quilter Kim Baird, who will explain how fibers are turned into fabric and the basic properties of various natural and synthetic fabrics.


Another special feature will be an exhibit of quilts dedicated to essential workers. The “Salute to Essential Workers Challenge” display is a tribute to those workers who have made a difference in this region and around the world during the pandemic, Mikkelson said.

For many quilters, quilting has proved to be a welcome respite from the challenges brought on by the pandemic, Mikkelson said. Because of imposed restrictions, and sometimes quarantine, many had more time to focus on the craft, she said. “I think quilters went crazy. They thought, ‘I’m going to finish this project and that project.’ ”

The show will be held in the Alerus Center Ballroom from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets, which may be purchased at the door, are $6 for one-day admission and $10 for a two-day pass. Children under the age of 12 will be admitted free. Lectures are $12 plus admission.

Attendees are encouraged to nominate their favorite quilt for the Viewers’ Choice Award, one of 11 special prize ribbons to be awarded in this year’s show.

The quilt show, which includes a few quilts from quilters in the eastern and southwestern United States, is supported in part by a grant from the Greater Grand Forks “Simply Grand Fund”.

For more information, or to pre-purchase tickets, go online to . Photos and background on vendors’ quilt shops and lectures are online at .

The North Star Quilters Guild is a not-for-profit volunteer organization dedicated to the art and craft of quilting. Its mission is to provide the opportunity for education, appreciation and advancement of the art of quilting, service to others, and fellowship. The Guild is open to anyone.


Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at or (701) 780-1107.
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