AQS QuiltWeek in Paducah V – Rotary Antique Quilt Show

Every year during QuiltWeek, the Paducah Rotary Club sponsors an exhibit of antique quilts at the Robert Cherry Civic Center. At this location, there were also several vendors and a selection of the 2014 Hoffman Challenge quilts. My focus is on the antique quilts. This year Mary Kerr curated an exhibit of 29 hexagon quilts spanning 160 years of history. The wonderful array of patterns all created from hexagons illustrated the amazing versatility of designing with this shape. Here are seven examples that particularly appealed to me.

This hexagon mosaic quilt, 55″ x 78″, originates from Connecticut, c.1820. The maker, who hand pieced the 5/8″ hexagons and hand quilted it is unknown. The quilt is from the collection of Sue Reich. As you can see from the detailed shot, many of the little 5/8″ hexagons were fussy cut.

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The fabric in the next one is c.1830 and it was re-purposed into a bed hanging, 60″ x 68″, in the 1920’s. It comes from New Jersey and the maker is unknown. This is such an unusual setting with the chevron pattern created by the positioning of the light and dark fabrics and I love it. It is in the collection of Dana Balsalmo.

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This green and red mosaic stars, 88″ x 99″, c. 1850, from Indiana is striking. The quilt maker is unknown. It was hand pieced with 1-3/4″ hexagons and hand quilted.

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Here’s one that is really scrappy. It was made in Vermont, c. 1880, 88″ x 89″, and the quilt maker is unknown. It is hand pieced and simply backed with recycled cotton in the 1930’s. It has a piano keys border and no quilting.

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This diamond mosaic setting, 82″ x 84″, c. 1860, is another quilt from the collection of Dana Balsalmo. It comes from Pennsylvania and the maker is unknown. It is hand pieced and hand quilted. The limy yellow really makes the diamonds pop.

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This elongated pattern is an unusual hexagon setting. The quilt comes from North Carolina, c. 1940, 74″ x 85″, and again the quilt maker is unknown. It is hand and machine pieced from 1″ hexagons and quilted with red thread in the white hexagons in between the elongated clusters.

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The last one, 70″ x 90″, has the traditional Grandmother’s Flower Garden rosettes with beautiful color gradation and is unusual in that the rosette centers are black. It was made c. 1930 by an unknown maker who used 1″ hexagons. The quilt is hand pieced and hand quilted. It was absolutely gorgeous.

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ASQ QuiltWeek in Paducah IV – Hand Quilted Quilts

I was in awe of the of the beauty and incredible hand work displayed at the quilt show. These hand quilted applique quilts represent hundreds of hours of devotion and fine workmanship. I love these quilts with their floral splendor creating an impact from a distance and then they reveal marvelous details close up. The Japanese are known for their meticulous workmanship. There were 40 quilts In the Hand Quilted Quilts category, 22 of which were made in Japan. I’m showcasing three here, two of which are Japanese.

Look Up at the Blue Sky, 77″ x 77″, was made by Toyoko Nakajima of Japan. This quilt won the third place award. The design is original and reminds her of a heart filled with love and brings a smile to her face. It brought a smile to my face too!

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Mie Totsu of Japan is the maker of Bright Autumn Day, 72″ x 82″. She made this quilt to depict a calm autumn day with the flowers and fruits under the gentle sunlight. I like the tonal quality of the background fabric, bringing a soft look to this gorgeous piece.

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Heralds of Spring, 80″ x 80″, was made by Joann Webb from Grain Valley, MO. The spring flowers include dandelions. Flower sprigs are arranged as petals in one large flower head. The dimensional elements such as ruching in the dandelions and daffodils and what look like tiny folded yo-yos for the lily-of-the-valley really enhance the piece. This is a truly magnificent quilt.

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AQS QuiltWeek in Paducah III – Feathered Star Quilts

I have a soft spot for Feathered Star quilts, so am sharing some beauties with you that were in the quilt show. The first is Nostalgia, 73″ x 73″, by Gina Perkes of Payson, AZ. This quilt was a major prize winner taking the AQS Best Longarm Machine Worksmanship award and yes, the workmanship is fantastic. This project served as therapy for Gina as her life changed from stressful to peaceful and represents growth and positive change.

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Fall Feathers, 81″ x 83″, by Sandi McMillan of Albion, NE is a beautiful soothing bed quilt with perfect borders to complement the star blocks. Sandi is a quilt teacher and was inspired by her five partially sewn step-by-step demo blocks.

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The third quilt is a group endeavor by the Riverwalk Quilters Guild of Naperville, IL. Stars in My Garden, 88″ x 88″, was made for the Guild’s next fundraiser. The pattern is emphasized by the brightness in color, both in the intricate piecing and in the hand applique. The design source was The Pepper Quilt by Susan Bradley published in the American Quilt Magazine and the quilting is by Monique Peeters.

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Roxanne Mierow of Cornelius, NC made Sisters Challenge, 70″ x 70″. The sisters challenged each other to make Feathered Star blocks and Roxanne made five. Now she is challenging her sister to finish. I like the octagon and partial octagons created by the triangles in the setting to display the stars. The design source was Kay’s Star Quilt, a pattern from Marsha McCloskey’s book, Feathered Star Quilt Blocks 1. The quilting is by Pat Barry.

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AQS QuiltWeek in Paducah II – Bird Quilts

There were so many wonderful quilts in the show, but I found some particularly appealing. I enjoy bird watching and marveled at these incredible renditions of birds. Here are five outstanding bird quilts which all won major awards. The first, Ricky and Lucy, (65″ x 49″) by Nancy Sterett Martin and Karen Sistek of Owensboro, KY was inspired by a photograph. This quilt won the Bernina of American Best Home Machine Workmanship Award.

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Captain Nimo, (49″ x 52″), was also made by Nancy Sterett Martin. This magnificent heron won first place in the Small Wall Quilts, Home Machine Quilting category. Nancy was inspired by a photograph she saw on the Captain Kimo website. Check out the incredible stitching details and the raw edge applique trailing neck feathers.

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Robbers’ Roost, (41″ x 41″) , was made by Joanne Beathe, from Bonanza, OR. This quilt received the Brother International Corporation Best Wall Home Machine Workmanship award. Joanne writes, “Crows are known for their intelligence and love of mishief. To unlock the theme of the quilt, look closely.” (Notice the gold key on the tree trunk).

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David Taylor from Steamboat Springs, CO, won first place in the Small Wall Quilt Pictorial category for his quilt Beneath my Wing, (55″ x 41″). The design source was a photograph, Peek-A-Boo by phtogorapher Inge Riis McDonald. Once again, amazing detail in the stitching to create the feathers.

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My final pick is October Sky, (60″ x 66″), by Bethanne Nemesh of Allentown, PA. This silk dupioni quilt is an ode to a Pennsylvania fall. All the flora and fauna are original designs that were freehand, free-motion quilting. This quilt won the Handi Quilter Best Wall Longarm Machine Workmanship. The close up details were so impressive and beautiful.

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AQS QuiltWeek in Paducah I – An Overview

QuiltWeek in Paducah is something to be experienced and I had a wonderful time. This sleepy little town by the Ohio River is transformed during QuiltWeek and quadruples in size with over 30,000 quilters descending. I was thrilled to be on the teaching faculty and had a busy schedule with only half a day off. When I wasn’t teaching, there was so much to absorb. In addition to the American Quilters’ Society international quilt show in the Convention Center, I went to the amazing National Quilt Museum, a fiber arts exhibit at the Yeiser Art Center, a display of antique hexagon quilts at the Civic Center, Hancock’s of Paducah and more. I will write several blogs to share my photographs.


Quilters from 50 states and 12 countries entered their quilts into the show and 404 quilts were juried into the contest. The array was stunning with so many outstanding pieces, but my favorite was Thank you! Gratitude, 78” x 78” by Akiko Matsumura from Japan. This quilt won the AQS Best Hand Workmanship award. The hand appliqué and quilting were absolutely exquisite and I loved the beautiful soothing design. Akiko wanted to express her gratitude to the important people she has met and lost. They opened up the world of quilting to her. Here it is in all its splendor.

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