Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Mountain Quilt Fest

Yesterday morning my husband and I headed over to the 20th Anniversary Mountain Quilt Fest in Pigeon Forge, TN. It was a fabulous day to be in the Smoky Mountains with the bright sun and temperatures in the mid-60s. We couldn’t ask for a better day to run up there.

The Quilt Fest moved to the new LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, and it was MUCH nicer than last year when the show was divided up into two separate locations. This year there was loads of parking and it was a lovely location…and we didn’t have to drive from one location to the next to see it all.

There was lots of room in the vendor hall, which was nice, because you weren’t bumping into anyone as you wandered through. The biggest surprise…I didn’t spend a dime! Ahhh! What’s wrong with me? Having my husband with me meant that I wasn’t going to leisurely stroll through the booths looking at everything like I would have done on my own. Plus, we were on a mission. We were looking for a long arm quilting machine. Right now I do all of my machine quilting (free motion quilting usually) on my domestic sewing machine…a Viking Rose with 7 inches of space. Not much space when you have a large quilt. I really wanted my husband to see what kind of space I could have with a long arm. He really did appreciate how much fuss it is to quilt on my machine once he saw what the long arms could do.

It was nice to see so many different brands of machines in one location and to be able to try them. I was considering a sit down machine, but I think we have decided to get a stand up long arm. We’re still going to wait a bit…maybe until the AQS show in Chattanooga in September…but I know a long arm is in my future and I’m pretty excited about it!

Now back to the show! The actual quilt show was in a large exhibit hall in the LeConte Center and it took us quite a while to wander through it. My husband made a comment that it was like going through an art exhibit. I think he was pretty surprised about the quality of work he saw there. The quilts were all amazing, and I have yet to enter any kind of show, but this one made me think that maybe I can do it. Maybe next year I’ll get brave and do it.

Here are a few of my favorite quilts I saw. This first quilt is the first one I saw when I walked into the exhibit hall:

It caught my eye right away. I love the “vintage-y” look of it and I like hand embroidery in quilts. This is called “State Birds” by Maxine Roberts of Greenville, TN. It has the official state bird of each state embroidered in alternate blocks. It was in the machine quilted bed quilts category. It didn’t win any ribbons, but it was actually probably my second favorite quilt that I saw.

This next quilt is called “12,000 Pieces” and is from Bonnie Hunter’s Pineapple Crazy pattern.

This was made by Carolyn Bucklin Mullins from Daniels, WV. It’s a machine quilted bed quilt and won the Quilt Appraisers Choice ribbon and a Second Place ribbon.

I love the colors in the next wall hanging.

It’s called “Bird on a Branch” and it was made by Pam Clark from Mississippi. The photo of the label on it is fuzzy, so I can’t read all the information on it and I can’t read where in MS she is from. Sorry! This was a very striking and lovely quilt.

The next one made me think of the ladies on the quilting email list I’m a member of.

This is called “The Quilting Bee” and it was made by Gail Sexton from Sunset, SC. This was actually part of a special display of past ribbon winners, and this was a Mountain Heritage Challenge Winner from 2009. I just love the bee’s fuzzy pink slippers.

My favorite quilt from the show is this one.

It is called “Balloon Bouquet” and was made by Gail Lysett from Castro Valley, CA. This is hand appliqued and hand quilted. It won first place in the category of Large Quilts. I love doing hand piecing and applique, so this one really struck me. Those balloons are about 2 inches across, and the quilting is done in one inch cross hatches. Here’s a close-up.

There was a LOT of work put into this quilt and I was just amazed by it.

So that’s about it for now. Today was a day of quilting machine discussions and spring cleaning. It was also another lovely day in East TN, but tomorrow should be cold and rainy and this next week is looking at colder temperatures…highs in the 40s several days, plus below freezing for a few nights. I think we have a couple of more weeks of possible freezing temperatures, so the garden may be put off a bit longer. I’m sure the warmer temperatures will get here eventually!

I need to run and tend to our very needy cat. She is calling me! Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. I loved the Balloon Bouquet, too. Her circles were so completely round and placement seemed perfect.

  2. It must be a Tennessee thing, because Balloon Bouquet was one of my favorites, too. The new venue for Mtn QuiltFest was definitely a plus. All in one place with extra space to move around. And the classrooms were so spacious with great lighting. We had a great time!