A century ago, quilting wasn’t considered an art form; it was a matter of necessity. Appalachian settlers sat by the fire after the sun went down and the chores were done, sewing together warm, cozy blankets for the family. Using scraps of clothing too worn out to wear anymore, the frugal settlers made quilts that provided physical warmth and the warmth of nostalgia, as their owners wrapped themselves in the soft fabric and reminisced.
With their vibrant colors and striking patterns, it soon became apparent that quilts were more than just household goods: they were works of art. And so, the era of quilt shows began, allowing quilters to showcase and sell their gorgeous quilts. Here’s a list of some fall quilt shows around the Appalachians.
Reflections of Love — Wilkesboro, NC: September 11, 9:00 AM–6:00 PM; September 12, 9:00 AM–4:00 PM. This quilt show, put on by the non-profit Wilkes County Quilters, features quilts made with love by quilters in this beautiful Appalachian town. The $4 admission price includes a raffle ticket, giving attendees the chance to win a quilt handmade by one of the group’s members. The show is held at the Stone Center, 613 Cherry Street, North Wilkesboro.
Stories of the Stitch — Galax, VA: September 12, 10:00 AM–3:00 PM. Come enjoy the gorgeous fall temperatures at this outdoor quilt show. Enjoy live music on the porch of an historic farmhouse and watch as fiber artists of all types demonstrate their crafts. Browse the quilts hanging up outside, reminiscent of days past when seeing them flap in the breeze was a regular occurrence on wash day. The event is free and open to all ages. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.
Quilt Week — Chattanooga, TN: September 16–18, 9:00 AM–6:00 PM; September 19, 9:00 AM–5:00 PM. The Chattanooga Convention Center hosts four days of quilt exhibits, vendors and demonstrations at this popular quilt show. Quilts displayed fall into several categories, including Authors’ Showcase, in which the quilts feature books from popular authors, and Red, White, and Quilted, showcasing new and antique quilts done in this stunning color scheme. The Convention Center is at 1150 Carter Street in Chattanooga. Tickets are $14 for a single day, $25 for two days and $35 for a multi-day pass.
Original Sewing and Quilt Expo — Fredericksburg, VA: October 1 and 2, 10:00 AM–6:00 PM; October 3, 10:00 AM–5:30 PM. This is more than just a quilt show. Enjoy demonstrations and exhibits from all kinds of fabric artists, from fashion shows to make-and-take crafts, and of course, quilts in a variety of styles. Youth ages 9–18 participate in a contest to show off their sewing and design skills. The quilts on display are some of the most creative you’ll find anywhere, featuring vintage styles, modern art, and even some inspired by the different meanings of the phrase “text message.” The Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center is at 2371 Carl D. Silver Parkway, Fredericksburg. Tickets are $10 per day, $15 at the door. Classes cost extra, but value packages for admission and classes are available.
Asheville Quilt Show — Asheville, NC: October 2 and 3, 9:00 AM–5:00 PM; October 4, 10:00 AM–4:30 PM. This large quilt show on fairgrounds just south of Asheville features nearly 300 quilts from around the United States. Featuring a gift shop, demonstrations by quilters and a silent auction, this can be an all-day event. Admission is $6, and the venue is handicapped-accessible. The Asheville Quilt Show is held at the WNC Ag Center, 1301 Fanning Bridge Road, Fletcher, NC.
A Mountain Quiltfest — Pigeon Forge, TN: March 13–19, 2016; Hours TBA. It’s worth planning ahead for this quilt show, featuring quilts made by artists from the Appalachians and far beyond. Quilts are displayed and judged in a variety of categories, from beginner to professional. Hand-pieced, embroidered, themed, and youth-sewn quilts are among the favorites of the show’s visitors. More information about ticket prices and hours will be made available as the show gets closer. Check their website.
Photo credits: wjon.com