Saturday, April 26, 2008
The American Quilter’s Society’s 24th Annual Quilt Show & Contest showcased more than 700 quilts and wall hangings with $100,000 awarded in prizes for outstanding quilts in various categories, and I witnessed the madness first-hand on Friday in a little town called Paducah.
I caught a ride with Melody and Robyn for the 2-hour drive across Tennessee, over the Kentucky line to see an amazing array of quilts in the cutest town ever, which was bulging with the buzz of quilters high on the smell of fabric and sewing machines.
The quilts were astounding, and my cell phone camera quickly filled up with images as I clicked away, trying to capture the beauty on a 2-inch screen. I found out really fast that you are NOT supposed to touch the quilts, as 4 guardians sat with yardsticks to smack those curious fingers if caught sneaking a quick reach toward the majestic works of quilted art.
One of the cutest quilts had this mouse appliqué with amazing detail. Every quilt there was filled with so much creativity, that it was hard to grasp the enormous amount of work and dedication it took to accomplish.
The Wrights booth was brimming with quilt enthusiasts, vying for the attention of celebrity quilters and authors; Darlene Zimmerman and Mimi Shimp. The Side Winders were flying off the shelves, and the EZ Tools were being demonstrated to a packed audience.
Darlene Zimmerman designs tools and patterns for EZ Quilting by Wrights. Designer, quilter, textile historian and author, Darlene Zimmerman has been an integral part of the quilting industry for twelve years. Darlene has authored eight quilting books and is widely known for her 1930s reproduction fabrics. She has appeared in countless quilting magazines, the T.V. show "Sew Creative," and continues to lecture and teach nationally for shops, guilds and symposiums. She is such a sweetheart and her creativity is contagious.
Mimi Shimp, designer of the Las Vegas Centennial quilt, A Journey Through Time. Mimi Shimp is a Product Manager at Wm. Wrights Company, and she is the author of Twelve Days of Christmas, Stolen Moments, The Garden Club, Hearthside Hangings, More Hearthside Hangings, and numerous patterns. Her quilts have been featured in Quilting Today and The Quilter magazines. This little gal is an absolute tornado of activity and enthusiasm.
Michele Muska had a fabulous Dresden quilt displayed with a collage of yoyos and fibers that caught my eye. Michele has written articles and How To's for magazines, and her designs have appeared in books, web sites and television shows. She is the queen of trade shows and other marketing venues for Wm. Wright Company.
I spent the day in a flurry of quilt gazing, idea gathering, and shopping, shopping, shopping. My happy stash of findings included new templates for my mom and dad’s quilting machine in their little studio, Pearl’s Quilts in Oklahoma. I snagged something called a “jelly roll” of fabric strips and Quilt Patis that I intend to make a quilt with, and some fabulously razor sharp fabric shears, bias tape rolled up like a lollipop, and Eco-Friendly Batting from Eco Craft.
We walked to lunch, and had fun checking out all the places to eat, including this one. Cracked me up! Somehow I just got a giggle when I thought about quilters and beer. Maybe that’s how crazy quilts got started….hmmm?
This quilt was simply stunning, representing the Braille alphabet. The workmanship was daunting, and the message was very personal through the creativity of the artist. If you click on any of the photos here, you can see them closer.
And why not have a giant cow for tourist attraction on the streets of Paducah? Sure got OUR attention!
Robyn and I walked to the coffee shop in the afternoon for a little pick-me up. We just about flipped out when we saw these darling quilt cookies! Yummmy, and oh so cute.
The day ended in Paducah’s historic downtown at Cynthia’s Ristorante with Wright’s V.P. of Marketing, Michele DeFay leading the way down the sidewalk, past live music and shops filled with a plethora of quilting pleasures. Our group was giddy with the excitement of the day's activities and filled the restaurant with noisy fun as we munched on the luscious flat bread pizzas, delicious Italian food, and outrageous desserts.
My head hit the pillow around 1:30 a.m. and I slept like a baby, dreaming of quilts, templates, tools, fabric, and comfy clouds made of quilt batting.