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Quilters Abroad


Tips, Ideas, Patterns, and more by the crew at Bernina Sewing & Design


Quilters Abroad

Marsha Cowan

We’ve all heard the saying that travel broadens the mind–it introduces you to new places, people, foods, and ideas. Even if you return with less money in your pocket, you’ve gotten wonderful experiences and memories in exchange. Quilters, you can take it one step farther, and return home with new ideas and inspirations for your next project. That ‘s what our own Jill did on her recent trip to Paducah, Kentucky, America’s quilting capital.

You don’t have to be quilting for long before you hear about Paducah. Every year the American Quilter’s Society hosts a huge QuiltWeek event there, and the whole town joins in. This year it was April 20-23. (Hotel rooms and event tickets for this sell out well up to a year in advance, so book early.)

Jill went with a whole group of ladies from New Mexico, who joined the Quilt Heaven in Paducah Tour, organized by Sun Tours of Albuquerque, NM. Sun Tours runs a different quilting-related tour every year, and Jill can’t recommend them highly enough! This was not a simple shop-hop tour. Aside from attending the show events at the Carroll Convention Center, they did a lot of other fun things: toured the city and learned about its history, followed the Dogwood Trail, went down to the beautiful Ohio River; attended a fabulous dinner at the Broadway Methodist Church, held every year during QuiltWeek to raise money for the church music program; and visited the National Quilt Museum. They even met Paducah’s famous Quilt Man!  Click here to see Sun Tour’s website.

Eleanor Burns and Ricky Tims were guests of honor at this year’s show. Aside from the opportunity to see these quilting greats, you can take classes and workshops, browse the many booths representing major fabric vendors and quilt stores from across the country, as well as booths selling everything from jewelry to yarn to purses made on treadle machines by Japanese tsunami survivors.

A juried quilt show is part of the event, and incredible entries from all over the world are on view at both the Convention Center and the Paducah Expo Center.

One of Jill’s favorite stops was the National Quilt Museum. She was fascinated by an exhibit on the New York Beauty block: one section featuring quilts made using traditional presentations, while another section featured quilts using variations and modern interpretations of the same block.

If combining travel and quilting appeals to you, plan a visit to Paducah, Kentucky. The good news is that the AQS is planning both Spring and Fall events there in 2017, so you’ll have twice the opportunity!

Happy Stitching!