A funny thing happened at the 31st Annual AQS Quilt Show in Paducah, KY,
COASTAL LILY WON!!
First Place - Bed Quilts - Longarm Machine Quilted Category.
Even though this is the third quilt that Judi Madsen , Green Fairy Quilts, and I worked on together, and the third quilt juried into the AQS Show in Paducah, this is our first win (Two Score and Seven Stars and Evening Bloom were our first two entries). And interestingly enough, before the awards ceremony, Judi and I had never met in person.
Another wonderful moment was being greeted by Linda Hrcka and Lisa Bongean, who were on stage for winning second place in this category with their quilt Words To Live By.
This is one happy group of quilters. I was so busy taking pictures of Linda and Lisa on stage for their win that I didn't even see Coastal Lily pop up on the screen for winning first place. I just heard the announcement, squealed, and ran up on stage! It is really all a blur, luckily there were some other quilters taking pictures at the ceremony so I have these to remember and relive the moment. The winners are not notified in advance, you find out at the show that you're a winner, which makes for a crazy roller coaster of a time, lots of happy and surprised people.
The ribbons at the Paducah Quilt Show are topped with their traditional homemade dogwood blossoms, the colors vary, but how perfect Coastal Lily adorned this pink bloom, my favorite color! I love dogwood trees and they were blooming everywhere in the trees lining the road on my drive down to the show. I appreciated those blooms even more on the drive back home. That has got to be the best ribbon at any show.
So here is Coastal Lily on display at the convention center with it's fellow Bed - Longarm Quilting winners. Words to Live By, which won second, is on the left, designed and pieced by Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings and quilted by Linda Hrcka from the Quilted Pineapple. On the right is Vintage Moments which won third place and is pieced by Jan Zimmerman using the pattern Vintage Moments by Marsha McCluskey and quilted by Jan Hutchison.
It was fun watching the different reactions to the quilts from folks attending the show. Some were drawn to the reproduction feel of Words To Live By, others went right up to Vintage Moments saying "I love 30's fabrics". But what a nice assortment of winners, something for every taste. I think the colors of Coastal Lily caught everyone's eye first thing, but it's the quilting, that creates a secondary pattern within the quilt, that really brings that top to life. It was as if folks would look at the blooms then notice the quilting, then be in awe of the accuracy and creativity of how Judi quilted this top.
This is the pattern that started it all.
Some people think that quilts entered into the show must be an original work, but quilts made from patterns are allowed, as long as the designer grants permission for the quilt to be displayed in the show. Laurie Simpson could not have been nicer and happily gave her permission for Coastal Lily to be entered for consideration into the show. Whenever I was asked at the show if a picture of our quilt could be posted on social media I said yes, as long as Judi was given credit for the quilting and Minick & Simpson credit for the pattern. I hope that happens, because even though Minick & Simpson were not on stage with us, they sure had a hand in the win, a good group effort. Additionally, AQS provides the quilter's names and pattern information in the show book for each quilt. The Costal Lily pattern is still available for purchase here.
Judi and I were asked to go back to the Convention Center at 5 am the morning following the awards ceremony for a live TV interview with the local NBC affiliate. My first time on TV, let alone live TV, but it was fun. The AQS staff does such a good job of running the show. I really appreciated their help navigating the expectations and responsibilities of being a winner.
To all the quilters who did stop by Coastal Lily at the show, thanks for your kind words. When I was hanging out by the quilt I met several folks in person, which was even more fun. I enjoyed talking to all the quilters. I think I may have even planted a few seeds about entering their quilts in future shows. You do not need to be a professionals quilter, a teacher, pattern or book writer to be in the quilt show, I'm a testament to that. Like I always say, quilting is my hobby, not my job. I'm just like you, which means you can have quilt in this show too, please give it a try.
Quilts juried into the show came from all 50 states and 10 countries for a total of 404 entries. For the US the state of Illinois, where I live, had the most entries, 25, California was second with 24. There were 63 entires from Japan.
My favorite picture of all, Linda greeting me on stage where she could not be happier. And look, I'm still carrying my phone and camera that I was using to take pictures of them for their win. Last year Linda, Lisa and I won Honorable Mention for Door County Cherry Baskets and Lisa and Linda won first place for Portland Rose. I didn't think I could top the joy and excitement of the 2014 Paducah Quilt Show but I did. Winning was wonderful, but sharing the experience with friends, new and old, made it even more special, a night I'll never forget. I am truly honored and humbled by the whole experience.