Thursday, April 6, 2017

"A Peek into the Quilter" at AQS QuiltWeek Lancaster 2017

The day began before dawn—a lovely sight for our drive.
It had been several years since I (Teri) had attended AQS QuiltWeek in Lancaster, PA. This year, I was able to make it, though only for a day—and I can assure you, it was a day jam-packed with beauty and inspiration!

I had been remiss in renewing my AQS membership, so that was my first stop. While I was filling out my card, I was chatting with the lady behind the counter, explaining that I write a blog and would be including photos of the show and wanted to be sure I was staying within the guidelines that I had read about on their website. She responded with a lovely surprise: I was given a Press Pass, as well as a personal tour through the entire exhibit with the Marketing Director, Katherine Rupp. I felt so official! As Katherine walked me through the exhibit—which spanned three floors—and pointed out various ribbon-winning quilts, I was struck by how difficult it must be to chose "winners" from amongst such a vast pool of talent. In my mind, they were all winners! She noted that the AQS was the largest membership quilting organization in the world, and the exhibit itself represented quilt work from countries across the globe. (In fact, among the ribbon-winning quilts, I counted nine winners from six foreign countries, as well as 13 American states.) While transitioning from one floor to the next, Katherine stated that at such a quilt exhibit, "there's a peek into the quilter of every quilt, and you can't help but be inspired." Wow, that really struck a chord with me! If you have read many of our blog posts, I'm sure you can guess why. I was so grateful for the time Katherine spent walking me through the show.

After the tour, I returned to the first floor to study the quilts at a slower pace. I found myself looking for that "peek into the quilter," wondering what she was thinking when she made her quilt. Was the quilt her story, or was the story of the quilt in the actual stitches she lovingly placed in the quilt? I pondered whether what I was seeing was her intended message, or one that the quilt placed in my own mind, making the quilt special, and in some way, unique to me. In a sense, I suppose that each quilt has the opportunity to "speak" individual stories to whoever sees it, as we all bring our own thoughts and experiences to the quilt before us. 

Enough of the philosophical mind-wanderings. We have quilts to see!

Best Hand Workmanship Award
  MY SWEET HOUSE WITH KIRARA, Ayako Kawakami; Funabashi, Chiba, Japan

Detail shots of  My Sweet House With Kirara, by Ayako Kawakami
I love everything about this masterpiece: the color, the skill, the town, the garden stitched in the blocks, and the combination of patchwork, appliqué, and embroidery. 

Best of Show Award
    AZTEC SUNSET, Linda Roy, Knoxville, TN

Detail of Aztec Sunset by Linda Roy
Stunning use of color, movement, and quilting!

Best Stationary Machine Workmanship Award
    COUNTRY ROADS, Joanne Baeth, Bonanza, OR

Detail of Country Roads by Joanne Baeth
Talk about a quilt with a story! 

Best Movable Machine Workmanship Award
    INTO THE WESTWARD SUN, Bethanne Nemesh, Allentown, PA

Kara and I saw Into the Westward Sun at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival; it was no less impressive here! The quilting itself is full of stories. As I studied more of the exhibit, I was impressed by the variety of quilt styles on display, and quite pleased to see so much appliqué and embroidery! Here were a few of my favorites. (It really is just a sampling, though it seems like a lot; it's so hard to narrow it down!) 

Decadent Victorian Darlings, Hattie Williams; Boswell, PA

Detail of Decadent Victorian Darlings, Hattie Williams
The lovely lady above reminds me of the Colonial Ladies in the quilt my mother-in-law gave me—you can read about it by clicking here. And of course, the quilting lady, below, is a favorite! The fabulous quilting adds so much to this quilt.

Detail of Decadent Victorian Darlings, Hattie Williams

Flower Boxes, Christine Wickert; Penfield, NY

Detail of Flower Boxes by Christine Wickert

Red December, Gail H. Smith and Angela McCorkle; North Barrington, IL

Phebe, Christine Sudberry; Tampa, FL

Detail: center medallion of Phebe, by Christine Sudberry

Detail: Center medallion border of Phebe, by Christine Sudberry

Old Glory Under His Wings, Julee Prose; Ottumwa, IA

 Details of Old Glory Under His Wings, by Julee Prose

First Place: Hand Quilted Quilts
Baby Blues, Antonia Hering; Hoorn, Noord-Holland, Netherlands

Civil War Bride, Nechama Cox; Baltimore, MD

Detail of Civil War Bride, by Nechama Cox

Second Place: Hand Quilted Quilts
Crazy Birds, Donna Douglass; Apollo Beach, FL

Bouquets for a New Day, Karen Boe and Barb Simons; Langdon, ND

Hugs & Kisses, Kathryn Brigham; Colleyville, TX

Royal Garden, Eliane Bailey; Dallas, TX

Detail of Royal Garden, by Eliane Bailey

Ewe Are My Sunshine, Janet Stone; Overland Park, KS

Detail of Ewe Are My Sunshine, by Janet Stone

Iznik Garden, Tamsin Harvey and Angela Perry; Bowral, New South Wales, Australia

Detail of Iznik Garden, by Tamsin Harvey and Angela Perry

Victory, Colette Dumont; Saint-Romain, Quebec, Canada

Family Tree, Peggy Garwood; Crossville, TN

Blessings of God, Elaine Merritt; Highland, NY

This is but a taste of the inspiring quilts I saw on the first floor alone. It's probably not too difficult to make the observation that I am drawn to appliqué, and particularly, album-style quilts. To be honest, I didn't even realize that most of the photos I took were this genre, until I had them all posted and thought, "Well, I am consistent!" I guess we like what we like. 😀  There really WAS a great variety!

And I must have been missing Kara—I noticed that at least seven of the quilts I included here had "put a bird on it!" Did I miss any birds? (I'm quite certain there were many in the show I didn't photograph.)

One special exhibit on the first floor, The Gala of the Unexpected from The National Quilt Museum, included creative works of quilted art made of such unusual materials as duct tape or sugar packets. Not joking! Alas, photography was not permitted, so you'll have to reeeallllly use your imagination for those!

I wandered through about half of the vendors' booths before my stomach began screaming for food. I got my ring cleaned by Something New Jewelry Cleaner, bought some legs for my portable Cheryl Ann's Design Wall, and some Auriful 80wt cotton thread from Follow That Thread for my appliqué. 

There was so much left to see! I met "the sisters," and we had lunch—we needed to fortify ourselves for the afternoon: two more floors of quilts and the rest of the vendors. But enough for now. You'll have to wait to see what beauty lies upstairs! (Not to mention the laughter and fun I shared with my adopted sisters!) 

Stay tuned . . .


  1. I am Soooo sorry I missed meeting you there! You picked out some of my favorites too. It was a great experience for me. I did ask if I could take photos for my blog and the said as long as I give credit to the makers (of course!). I'm happy to hear you got the royal tour!! Thanks for sharing. And, let's hope we meet at a show soon!

  2. Well now, this is a Quilt Show! What beautiful hand work and beautiful quilts!
    Dallas Show was such a failure and will not show there but these quilts are absolutely beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love Phoebe (one on my list) and the Best of Show is interesting. Nice to see the embroidery and applique - thought that the art was lost to the Modern quilters. Thx for sharing

    Nanette -

    1. It WAS a wonderful show, Nanette! I was happy to see so many appliquéd and embroidered quilts; there seems to be a resurgence! There was a nice balance in this show of modern and traditional quilts—something for everyone!

  3. thanks for sharing all these beautiful quilts - so many do not share all the hand quilted quilts which I love and I do appreciate seeing them

    1. You're quite welcome, Karen! It was great to see so many quilts with handwork displayed at the show.