3 Stories About What It’s Really Like At OSQE

Diane Tomlinson, Assistant Editor at Fons & Porter, recently went to the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, or OSQE, as we lovingly call it. She is a regular teacher of workshops at these events, so has experienced a lot of quilting and met a lot of quilters. This is what quilting is built on: a tight-knit community. It’s such a joy for Diane when she’s able to get into the thick of it all. Here are a few stories about her experiences at the latest OSQE in Atlanta, Georgia (March 9 – 11, 2017). 

At OSQE in Atlanta, I met some interesting people! I thought I’d share some of their stories with you to express how special this event really is. Bringing the quilting community together always yields spectacular results.


In the classes we teach at OSQE, the room is set up with sewing machines for the students to use while they work on their projects.

In one particular class, there was a sewing machine representative there to help if anyone needed. Her name was Miriam Coffey and she had won 2nd place piecing at Quiltcon! It was so much fun to hear about her experience there and when making her award-winning quilt. She even showed me a picture of it on her phone. The meaning behind her quilt is pretty special, as well.

Miriam Coffey
Finding The One Pieced and quilted by Miriam Coffey
Finding The One
Pieced and quilted by Miriam Coffey

Finding The One finishes at 39″ x 48″ and was inspired by the relationships people seek, “This quilt is inspired by the notion of human companionship. I am interested in, how as humans we are always seeking the one to be our pair,” says Miriam. Very cool!


Pam grew up in Georgia and her mom worked in the cotton mill close to their home. Her mother was a hard worker, who was known to split wood and keep up with the best of workers!

While sorting out her mother’s household belongings recently, along with siblings, she came across quite a bit of fabric from when her mother worked at the mill in the 1960s-80s. Some of it had Marcus Brothers printed in the selvedge.



Pam’s mother pieced and quilted by hand. In fact, she not only gave the grandkids and great grandkids quilts as they came around, but her kids (I believe she said there were 5), as well. After going through her mom’s collection of quilts, they’ll be getting at least 10 quilts a piece that she made with love. That’s a lot of quilts and a lot of love!


The class was using the Fons & Porter Pickle Dish Template Set for the quilt called Folk Dance from the Love of Quilting January/February 2017 issue. Pam had a picture of a quilt her mom made with a bubblegum background as her inspiration. Pam’s working on reproducing a similar quilt to treasure the memories of her mom and to hand down to her kids later, as well!


These quilt blocks are versions of what the students made from a class called Reflections that I taught at OSQE in Lakeland. It was a bring-your-own-fabric class, so you can see everyone’s taste in colors and textures!


In the image below, the two gals together are mom and daughter. They were showing me photos of the quilts they made in a class I taught last year and then the blocks they made this year! I love seeing returning students and watching them try new things.



It’s a treasure to hear stories from quilters that I teach. I only wish I could collect and write them all down. And, it’s great fun teaching! Especially when you see the light bulbs come on that say I CAN do it!

UPDATE ON PAM (3/29/17)

I’ve been working on my Pickle Dish quilt that I’m calling “My Mama’s Scraps.” 12 more blocks to go before it’s done. I’ll send a picture when totally completed! ~Pam

Pam -- Pickle Dish Quilt Blocks


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