April 27, 2017

AQS QuiltWeek Paducah

Tina and I just returned from a quick trip to Paducah, Kentucky, for the American Quilter's Society QuiltWeek show.  What a thrill to have a quilt accepted into the show, and even more so to receive a first-place ribbon!

This was my first time to visit the show, as well as the first time to enter, so naturally my entry was in the "Large Quilts -- 1st Entry in an AQS Paducah Quilt Contest" category.

You can read more about my Imperial Star quilt in this blog post.

We left home at 5 am on Wednesday for the four-hour drive to Paducah.  I would have liked to have gone up on Tuesday in time for the awards ceremony, but there were several reasons why that would not work for us.  Instead, I watched the awards from home via online streaming (in spite of some technical issues).  I missed hearing the full list of honorable mentions, so when Victoria Findlay Wolfe announced I had won first place, it was quite a surprise.

We arrived at the convention center right at 9:00 and paid $10 to park in a private lot.  After purchasing a ticket for Tina and picking up my contestant ribbon, we found my quilt, took a few photos, then browsed through all the amazing quilts on display.  It was really humbling to think that my quilt was placed higher than other nearby quilts.

There were a lot of really impressive quilts, and a lot of people there to view them.  This group is admiring "Captivated By Nature" by Olga Gonzalez-Angulo, which won the Best Stationary Machine Workmanship award; everyone was trying to figure out her techniques in creating the tiny dots which form the image on this quilt.

The Best of Show winner is Janet Stone's "Ewe Are My Sunshine." I did not get a good shot of the front, but here is a view of the back:

While I was busy ogling quilts, Tina met Setsuko Matsushima, who won a Judges' Recognition award for "Over the Waves":

 Tina was able to share a few words in Japanese with Setsuko, which she seemed thrilled to hear.

This was one of my favorite quilts from the show, for the design, colors, and execution.

The crowds were not so bad in the upstairs display hall, where we saw Melissa Sobotka's stunning "Silk Road Sampler," winner of the Best Wall Quilt award.

Such amazing realism. 


I like the fringe on the bottom too.

We also saw my friend and guild-mate Elaine Poplin's quilts, "Linus,"

and "A Rhinoceros in the Garden" (on the right; the quilt on the left is "Tickled Pink" by Beth Schilig.)


For lunch, we initially waited in this line...

...but soon decided their offerings appeared too challenging to eat while seated on a curb.  (There were lots of picnic tables, but no vacancies.)  Instead, we got unexciting sandwiches from another booth.

After lunch we took a shuttle to the dome pavilion to see Victoria Findlay Wolfe's special exhibit, including this gigantic quilt:

We checked out plenty of vendors, but one vendor I was hoping to see was at the Finkel building.  We caught a bus from the convention center to downtown; the transportation there and back took longer than we expected, and I'm not sure the trip was worthwhile.  We did find some great desserts at the bakery.  On the bus ride back, we learned we had been just a block away from other transportation options which might have worked better for us.

I did some more browsing while Tina rested and charged her phone, and then it was time for my interview(!).  Bonnie Browning, the Executive Show Director, met me at my quilt and we recorded a short video.

I learned from Bonnie that the judges liked my choice of background fabric.  Apparently they are used to seeing lighter, plainer backgrounds, and Bonnie was interested in how I made my choice.  I told her maybe I just didn't know any better.

After the interview, we made our way to the car and headed towards home.  We were home by 9:30.  It was a long and tiring day, but well worth the trip.

Here are some more quilt photos from the show, beginning with "Equilateral Sampler" by Rebecca Bryan (left) and "Le Chat de Mondrian" by Connie Griner (right):

"Twilight in the West" by  Shirley Gisi:

"Summer Solstice" by Leah Gravells, which placed third in Small Wall Quilts - Pictorial (this photo does not do the quilt justice, but I wanted to share the detail below):

 "Receiving Grace" by Elizabeth Heagy:

"Bubble Wrap" by Stephanie Ruyle, with incredible quilting by Christine Perrigo; this quilt won a Judges' Recognition award.


  1. Congratulations Ben, this was such a beautiful quilt and it is wonderful that you received this recognition! Thank you for sharing these amazing quilt pictures with us.

  2. Fantastic work. Congratulations!

  3. Congratulations, Ben. I watched the awards on video and your quilt is stunning. So happy for you.

  4. Congratulations!!! You totally deserve the award for your beautiful quilt. Thank you for the other pics from the show as well. It sounds like it was an exceptional show this year.

  5. Congratulations. You've made stunnig quilt. I love your choice of fabrics and composition. Excellent.
    Greetings from Poland

  6. Congrats, so well-deserved! I'm glad you were able to go; I went last year and it certainly is fun!

  7. Congratulations Ben! It is so refreshing to see a fellow Huntsvillian win a blue ribbon at Paducah. Your quilt is beautiful.