Quilts are becoming more sophisticated

Written by Susie Evers.

Holding on to traditions of our mothers

When first proposed a little over ten years ago, the quilt show was conceived as a simple local event to be a showcase for the work of the local quilt clubs.  At that time, most of our quilters were beginners and the quilts displayed in the early shows were simple traditional quilts.   The Panola Squares Quilt Club and the Busy Quilters Guild had each organized and held regular meetings where the members learned basic quilting patterns and discovered new tools and techniques.  Supported by Carthage Main Street, the early shows were held at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame and attracted a local audience and a handful of vendors.

Things have changed.  Over the last few years quilting has evolved into an amazing art form and taken on dimensions our grandmothers could never have imagined.   

Just as quilting has changed worldwide and become more attractive to a more creative group of quilters, the Festival has also evolved and members of the local clubs have grown ever more sophisticated in their work.  Attendance at quilt shows and quilting retreats has helped to expand skills and ideas.  The quilts now produced by the local club members are more sophisticated than in the early years, but the traditions of our mothers are still employed, retaining the look and feel of the quilts we love and cherish.

Now, in our tenth year, the Piney Woods Quilt Festival has become a regional attraction, with quilts exhibited by quilters from more than ten counties and three states.  The show attracts a cadre of vendors from a wide area extending to Houston and Dallas.

The Festival is now lucky to have the Carthage Civic Center for the show venue.  The Civic Center is completely perfect for the event, topping all area quilt shows for a location with ideal configuration, space, and lighting.  The quilts can be displayed with room for viewers to step back or get close.  Quilts are displayed in several categories, from those with all stitching work done by hand to very elaborate machine embroidered designs.  Vendors love the arrangement with the available vendor space now always contracted well in advance of the show and with a waiting list of vendors desiring spaces.     

Vendor for this year’s show include: Barb’s Quilt Nook, J Quilts, Must Love Quilts, Two Sisters Quilting, The Scissor Guy (sharpener)/Scentsy, Susie’s Quilting Elements, Cotton Cottage, The Whistling Chicken, KSA Jewelry, The French Knot, Love Bug Fabric and Quilting, Nana’s Parcels,and Snip & Pins.

The Piney Woods Quilt Festival is an attraction that brings viewers from all over the entire Arklatex region to our city.   Last year’s show attendance more than doubled previous shows.      

There’s a reason for the success.  The show continues to enjoy the support of Carthage Main Street and a faithful collection of individual and business sponsors.  Posters recognizing the sponsors are prominently distributed throughout the display area during the festival.  In addition, the quilt clubs make a donation quilt and sell tickets to raise money.  This year’s donation quilt is a work in red, white, and blue.  The quilt is named “Cowgirl Stars”, inspired in part by the color of the blue fabric in the border.  The pattern for the donation quilt is a compass star design by Susie Evers.  Tickets to win the donation quilt can be purchased from any quilt club member, from workers at city hall, and at the library.  The price of tickets is $1.00 each or six for $5.00.

The work of the show is done entirely by volunteers who love quilting and the show is actively supported by the community.  Learning year by year, the organizers and workers have created a show with attractive features, including: 

·         Quilt entries from a wide area; the number, variety, and quality of quilts now on display is competitive with any area quilt show.  Prizes are awarded to the top three quilts in each of six categories, judged by professionals.  The show awards over $1000 in prizes.

·         The Hoffman Challenge traveling exhibit of national winners will be on display.  These are small quilts created to a specific fabric challenge with amazing creativity and detail.

·         A local challenge “Texas Crossroads” was announced last summer open to all quilters.  Details of the challenge are available on the Main Street website.

·         There are lovely handmade door prizes awarded every hour during the show and other handmade new and “gently used” items for sale in the “Country Store” 

·         “Quickie” teaching demonstrations are presented every hour.

·         Live music presented by String Power will be performed hourly.

·         Admission is only $3.00.

·         Quilt entry fee is only $3.00.  Entry forms may be obtained at city hall.  The entry deadline is April 5, 2013.

The organizers and sponsors of the 2013 Piney Woods Quilt Festival look forward to seeing you at this year’s show on April 19-20.  The Civic Center is conveniently located on the South Loop at the intersection with S. Adams Street.  There is abundant free parking and easy access to the facility.  No food is available at the Festival.

The 2013 Piney Woods Quilt Festival will be the 10th anniversary of the event.  This year’s show will be held at the Carthage Civic Center, Friday April 19, 10:00 – 5:00 and Saturday, April 20, 9:00 – 4:00.

Admission :  $3.00