Mercer woman, a semifinalist, heads to national quilt show


Cortney Ofstad/Daily Globe

Mercer resident Jane Zillmer has been selected a semifinalist for the 2013 American Quilter’s Society QuiltWeek Show in Paducah, Ky., for her quilt “Oh, Mexico Beach.” The show takes place April 24-27.

MERCER, Wis. — Mercer resident Jane Zillmer has been selected as a semifinalist for the 2013 American Quilter’s Society QuiltWeek show in Paducah, Ky., April 24-27.

Her quilt, “Oh, Mexico Beach,” along with 401 others, was chosen to go on display and will be judged. Winners will receive first, second or third prizes in 15 different categories, along with nine overall awards being given.

The show is expected to draw more than 30,000 people, and quilts were entered from 46 states and 11 countries.

For Zillmer, the show in Paducah is one of the best.

“I go every year to this show,” Zillmer said. “This is my 10th year going, and I have had a quilt in the show since 2007. My sister also lives close by, so I stay with her for the week. It’s my favorite show.”

Building a quilt

Zillmer’s quilt took around a year to put together. After she designed the layout for the quilt, she then used a technique called machine applique.

“I really like to do that,” Zillmer said. “Then the quilt was put together with a machine. It’s called machine piecing and it was done by a professional named Lisa Arndt.”

The design for the quilt was inspired by family vacations she took with her husband and now-adult daughters.

“We used to spend our family vacations over spring break at Mexico Beach, Fla.,” Zillmer said. “My husband, Steve, and I took one of our daughters down there two years ago, and I got the idea of the quilt. It’s based off our memories there.”

Being on the beach was the basis for Zillmer’s color scheme.

“I used colors of the ocean, the beach and a green design that is like seaweed,” Zillmer said. “I’ve always loved birds and there were shore birds all over the place down there, so I put that on the quilt as well.”

Quilter, author

Zillmer documents her quilting on her blog, but soon her ideas and techniques were asked to be expanded.

The American Quilter’s Society asked her to write a book, and “Nature’s Journey-Applique” was born. It is scheduled to be published around May 1.

“They contacted me about writing a book, and I couldn’t believe it,” Zillmer said. “My first thought was that I didn’t think I could do it, but they were there to help me and other new authors with any questions.”

She called the experience “every quilter’s dream,” and submitted a book proposal for approval.

“They accepted it, and it took off from there,” Zillmer said.

She hopes to spread her knowledge and display her work at the show in Kentucky.

“I am very excited, and it is my favorite show,” Zillmer said. “It should be a lot of fun.”

For more information about American Quilter’s Society, or the show in Kentucky, visit

To learn more about Zillmer, view her blog at

To learn more about Zillmer’s book, visit, or


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