Piney Woods Quilt Festival

Written by Debbie Pierce.

Hundreds compete for award-winning quilt ribbons


They come from all walks of life with one thing in common….their love for creating heirloom quilts.  Teachers, coaches, secretaries, housewives and musicians of all ages gather to share their patterns, technique and skills.  They are the ladies of the Busy Quilters Guild and the Panola Squares Quilt Club who each spring work to bring the Piney Woods Quilt Festival to Carthage.

The quilt festival began nine years ago as a project of Carthage Main Street.  It has grown each year and now includes hundreds of quilts from all over the United States that are entered in this juried event.  Each quilt is placed in one of the categories of hand pieced and hquilt showand quilted, machine pieced and machine quilted, hand and machine pieced/quilted, hand embroidery/hand appliqué featured, machine embroidery and machine appliqué featured, small quilts and quilted projects, antique quilts and other projects.  The antique quilts and other projects are not judged but are there to show only.

The club members work for days ahead of the event taking in the quilts, carefully categorizing and hanging each one in preparation of the judging.  Three experienced quilters from other parts of the state are selected as judges for this event.  On the day that the festival opens to the public, the judges arrive to give careful consideration for the quilts in each category.  They select a first, second and third place winner for each category, awarding ribbons and cash quilt showprize for first place.  The judges also select the one quilt that in their expert opinion exemplifies the ‘Best of Show’.  During the festival, each person that is admitted to the show has the opportunity to vote for the ‘Viewers Choice’ of the quilt they feel is their favorite.

Quilting has been around for hundreds of years.  Early quilts were made from remnants of fabric left over from sewing clothing for the family.  The smallest of pieces were saved and put into making a quilt top that would be joined with cotton batting and an under layer of fabric to form the quilt.  To join the layers together takes hours of making small stitches through all the layers.  Ladies in the community would gather together and socialize as they helped one another quilt a project.  Today that practice still occurs within these clubs.  These ladies work tirelessly to create these keepsakes for their families and friends.  They are truly works of art and some quilts even have a story to tell of special memories or events in a person’s life. 

Come enjoy the fruits of their labor on April 15 -16, 2001 at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.  The show opens Friday at noon until 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.   There will be quilt supply vendors, a knife and scissor sharpener and hourly door prizes along with quilts and quilted projects for sale.