Saturday, April 29, 2023


I knew  that Paducah, KY is considered the Quilt City, and some say it is the quilt capital of the world. We've traveled through Paducah many times in the past, and never stopped. By chance, it happened that we were on our way from SW Florida to St. Louis...and our path took us through Paducah during Quilt Week! Wow! I managed to find reservations at a nearby campground  during quilt week. I reserved tickets for the show and I was ready to be dazzled....

Then, the Mister developed debilitating pain in his side/back. He had what he thought was a muscle spasm on his right side (which he had commented about a week or more before). He also had a fever and could barely move. After arriving in Calvert City, near Paducah, we headed south to an immediate med in nearby Benton. They couldn't determine why he was in so much pain, and had a fever, and suggested we go to an ER at a hospital. So, we went to Paducah to a recommended hospital. I dropped the Mister there, returned to the RV to take care of the pups, and returned to the hospital to pick up the Mister. Sadly, he didn't get any answers. A strained muscle - muscle relaxants, and a virus. Seriously?! 

We took a day off and stayed at the RV park all day. The next day he felt a bit better and we went into Paducah. Our first stop was at the National Quilt Museum and we were dazzled by many of the quilts on display. 

 Our favorite quilt was "Floating" - a quilt made by Fraser Smith of Tampa. It was carved from basswood!

We had a few other favorites as well.... actually, I loved just about all of the quilts at the museum!

Marilyn Badger created the quilts above. She puts a lot of embellishments on her quilts, including buttons, pearl beads, hand embroidery and sparkly gems. Her quilting created lots of texture. I loved the shaped borders of the green and red quilt. 

Another collection included "larger than life" quilts by Velda Newman. Her quilts were 15-20' across and 7 or 8' tall. For most of the quilts she painted flowers, and then used thread painting to enhance them. 

There were also several quilts by Kaffe Fassett, featuring his bright, bold prints. 

Another favorite was a thread-painting art quilt of a boy pouring a bucket of water over his head. It is called "Summer Fun" and was created by Marina Lani and Fabia Diniz from Brazil. The description includes: Hand dyed and painted fabrics; fused applique, stationary machine quilting
“I think that the joy of this boy in this moment of play is always contagious.” - We agree, don't you?

As much as we loved the quilts on display, we were both a tad bit disappointed that the "museum" element, an historical perspective, was missing. 

We went on to "The" quilt show. Wow! Just wow! How can there be that many women in one place that essentially are just like me?! 

I was asked whether I could see trends based on the quilts on display. Great question - what did I notice? Honestly, I was overwhelmed and in awe of the skill I saw in the quilts. It seemed to me that the quilting was showcased more than piecing. There seemed to be more appliquéd quilts than pieced quilts. A lot of the quilts had extensive quilting in various colors of thread, and many of the quilts had embroidery and other embellishments.

Tbe Grand Prize quilt featured 8 tatted lace pieces from Istanbul. "Sweet Madame Blue" was created by Margaret Gunn. She spent 2 years working on the quilt. It was gorgeous! 

The quilting was very dense, as seen from the back side. 

Another grand prize winner was this quilt that received the Bernini Award for machine quilting using a stionary machine. "Joyful Japan" was quilted by Pat Holly from Ann Arbor. She also told me that she spent about 2 years working on this particular quilt. 

Here are just a few other quilts in the show...

This is a close up. Each square is only 1" X 1"!! Yowser!

This is what the quilt looked like from 6' away!

Instead of going back to the AQS show the next day, we went to a local quilt show in Grand Rivers. This was an eclectic collection of quilts from a local group. A few of the quilts were created in the 40's by grandmothers. I found my historical quilts here! It was interesting to see how patterns and colors have changed over time. I was in awe of how many quilts were hand pieced or hand quilted, one made of 1" diamonds.

From there we made our way out into the country. We drove through beautiful Kentucky countryside to visit "Backyard Fabric" near Mayfield, KY. Quilters at the campground told me about the shop, and declared it was a "must visit". The owner has had the shop for 16 years. She charged $9/yard for Moda fabric and $7/yard for all others. (many by Andover) I didn't think to ask her how many bolts she had, but a video on her site showed stacks of bolts arriving in anticipation of large sales volume through the show week!

We returned to the show pavilions on Saturday and checked out a few more vendors. We came away with a few prize purchases: scissors (including "in the hoop" snippers & left handed scissors), some ink and stencils to customize fabrics, Electric Quilt 8 software and plantar fasciitis! Ugh! 


  1. Those quilts are dazzling in their beauty, the grand prize winners are so beautiful. Thanks for posting your photos.

  2. Wow what a beautiful bunch of quilts they are works of art! I especially enjoyed the woodcarving and shared that with my husband. I hope The Mister is feeling much better!

    1. Ah, yes, he would love to see the carving! The artist layered basswood. The piece was about 5 inches in depth, and has a lot of texture. It was colored with watercolor. (Dreaming)

  3. Hi Cindi - they are beautiful quilts ... wonderful you had time for a good look around ... at them - fabulous to see - cheers Hilary

    PS The thread quilting ... and the fish one - both exquisite ... as too the others.


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