American Quilt Society Convention in Nashville, TN
or The Closet Quilter in Search of Fat Quarters

Jim Admires Visitor's Choice Quilt

As we were heading back to WV from GA in August 2006, we stopped at a favorite quilt shop for a few supplies. A number of excited women dropped in, talking about traveling to Nashville and the Quilt Show. Quilt Show? Well our trip home got sidetracked right then and there.

The Quilt Show was one of the three yearly conventions of American Quilt Society. The convention was held in the beautiful Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. Since this was our second stay at the hotel, and in an effort to conserve resources, we booked the less expensive room with a view of the parking lot. However, when we got to our assigned room, our view was of the beautiful Delta Courtyard Atrium.

We are not members of the AQS, however, we wanted to see the show to view the latest quilt designs, meet the vendors, and increase our stash of quilt fabrics. We came away with several bundles of great fabrics, some new tools, and lots of business cards complete with web sites for shopping at home. We were surprised to see a vendor from Utah--where we lived for 20-years--and he was surprised to find someone in Tenn. that not only knew where Panguitch was, but how to pronounce the name like a native.

Eleanor Burns Signing Jim's Underground Railroad Book

Jim (a closet quilter) had been working on The Underground Railroad Quilt. It is based on tales of abolitionist who signaled slaves by hanging quilts on clotheslines with various patterns that slaves were taught to read prior to their escape. The quilts could indicate that a particular home was a safe house, or provided other information which would guide travelers north to Canada. For example, a quilt with a log cabin pattern containing a black center square could indicate a safe house. The quilt is based on a book, The Underground Railroad book was authored by the popular Eleanor Burns of "Quilt-in-a-Day" fame and Sue Bouchard. Jim had purchased the book a month earlier at Sew Be It quilt shop in Georgia and had completed 11 blocks and just happened to have the book with him. Well, both authors were at the convention lecturing and selling and autographing books. Both were very nice and signed his copy. There was standing room only at their booth and it was one of the most popular places at the convention.

Many folks dispute the claim that quilts were used as signal flags since the legend doesn't crop up until 100 years after slavery was abolished. Regardless of the origins, is a great book to teach historical patterns and an excellent way to use lots of the now popular reproduction Civil War fabrics. In one quilt store where we were shopping, one person was buying every copy on the shelf apparently so she could give a copy to every guild member.

Females outnumber males at least 200 to 1 at a quilt show or convention. The hotel had set aside a room where males who were escorts or drivers could hang out while their wives shopped. At least, the women didn't take over the men's restrooms as they did when we were at the Paducah, KY convention. Nevertheless, Jim enjoyed looking at the beautiful quilts, gained inspiration and purchased several bundles of "fat quarters" of fabric. A fat quarter represents 1/4 yard of fabric cut to provide the most usable pieces. It is cut 18 inches by half of the width of the fabric.

Quilt pattern based on the Golden Spiral

The week before we left Georgia, we attended a meeting of the Middle Georgia Camera Club where a guest speaker discussed concepts of composition based on Fibonacci Numbers, the Golden Rectangle and Golden Triangle, Golden Spiral, and the Fibonacci Spiral. This is a great concept because it is based on mathematics and is found many places in nature. For example, the cross section of a chambered nautilus represents a golden spiral. These concepts were explained to aid photographers in composition.

The quilt above jumped out at us as an example of this mathematical spiral.

Dear Jane Quilt

The Dear Jane Quilt is based on a New England museum quilt made during the time of the Civil War. Brenda Papadakis published a book Dear Jane: The Two Hundred Twenty-Five Patterns from the 1863 Jane A. Stickle Quilt, after considerable research and painstakingly drafting all the blocks (no two alike!) for the quilt. There is quite a following of this quilt pattern. There are books written about it, clubs and blog sites discuss it. You can purchase CDs containing a template for each block pattern. What a great way to use more pieces of your reproduction Civil War fabric!

What is there to say to describe this quilt--It can't be described in words. I can't imagine how many hours it would take to piece this beautiful quilt so I will just look at it and admire it.