“A great success’ – Quilt show draws more than 600 visitors

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, May 8, 2024

SALISBURY — Quilters of all ages and skill levels visited the biennial Central Carolina Quilt Fair, which was presented by the Salisbury-Rowan Quilters Guild. 

Visitors, both locally and from surrounding counties, came to the fair, with proceeds going to support the guild’s community service work. The two-day event was May 3 and 4 at the West End Plaza and featured more than 100 quilted creations on display, vendors, door prizes, food and more.

While the rainy weather may have hindered the display of the quilted car and World War II Army jeep, it didn’t dampen attendance for the event as Holly Little said, “the show was a great success with over 600 paid visitors, not including our guild members and volunteers.”

Little, along with Chloe Goho, served as co-organizers of the quilt fair. Prior to the event, they had estimated a crowd of 500-600 in attendance, so Little said they were thrilled.

Kathleen Rountree, a quilt maker and teacher of Hendersonville, served as judge for this year’s quilt show with multiple ribbons presented for winning entries.

Top ribbon winners included: Best of Show, which went to Diane Watkins for her large bed quilt named “Twirling Irish Tulips” and the Judge’s Choice ribbon went to Shelley Lenhausen, for her work in the miniature category, titled, “For the Love of Hexies.”

There were 11 first place category winners, seven second place winners, and seven third place winners.

“In addition to viewing the beautiful quilts, quilt fair attendees did some serious shopping with our vendors,” said Little, “who seemed quite satisfied with the turnout.”

Vendor Alby Halsey said that was the case for her as she said there had been “just enough traffic and the people were very interested, they loved the color, they loved the quilts.”

Monique Kusick, with JS Quilt Shop in Statesville, echoed that sentiment telling it had been a good turnout for her as well, and that it had “been a wonderful venue, and I’m looking forward to all the other quilt shows for this year.”

Two of her visitors were Jody Cox and her granddaughter Ella Strange who were looking at the quilts Kusick had. One that caught their eye was the Wonder Woman quilt hanging high on the booth wall. Cox said she is a quilter and that Ella, who said she would like to learn, likes to sit in her lap and watch her sew.

One area of the show that also attracted a lot of attention was Granny’s Attic Boutique, which offered fabric at discounted prices, along with patterns, accessories and additional quilt-related merchandise for sale.

Junior quilted Tawny Rose was busy searching for fabric for upcoming quilt projects and had a big smile when she found just the fabric she was looking for.

“I’m a big pink girl,” she said, “I like pink and purple and the bright colors.”

She has been quilting since her last birthday and has since made multiple projects including several mud rugs, a box and pillow, both in the show, and is considering making a tote bag as her next project.

When asked what got her interested in quilting, she said it was the colors and patterns and “the way that you can let go and do anything you want with the fabric.”

Once Tawny completes a project, she shows it to her family and starts a new one.
“She’s really excited about it. You can see her confidence when she completes the project, and feels very confident she can do something greater, and when she sees Mrs. Maureen (Maxwell, her instructor), smile, that’s when she’s, ‘I did it! I really did it!’” her mom said.

Other quilters visited the show to see all the quilts and just have fun. That was the case for cousins Chelsey Haithcock and Chris Whitley as they made it a family event.

Haithcock said she had just recently gotten bit by the bug, and in just over a year has made 17 quilts. She then pointed to Whitley, and said she had made more than that. When asked how many, Whitley said, “I have no clue.”

Their quilts have become gifts, they have kept some and have sold some.

While looking around, they both said they had gotten ideas for future quilts.

“Always,” Whitley said.

Just as there were a wide variety of quilts and other quilted items on display, there was a variety of vendors offering an assortment of quilted-related merchandise.

Katey Ramsey with Azalea Corner Quilt Shop in Mooresville showcased a variety of material along with various tools and accessories needed to quilt.

She doesn’t sell quilts but can point customers in the right direction to get that help.

When speaking about quilting, Ramsey said it’s not just sewing, but it’s “creating a work of art. It’s fiber arts. Some people have a passion for painting or playing music. We sew, and we express ourselves and create works of art in fabric.”

Another vendor, Puzzle With a Purpose, had handmade puzzles for sale with pieces that can be arranged in more than 100 different ways, said artist Lewis Strite.

He said the puzzles, which are made out of recycled plastic, can be used by quilters to design quilt squares and they are “great for stimulating cognitive skills, therapy if someone has had a stroke or Alzheimer’s or a person with learning disability.”

There were also demonstrations of quilting machines going on and attendees could get lunch in the tea room. Little said that the guild expressed their thanks to Debbie Suggs for catering once again, and help was provided there by the local 4-H Club.

When new construction at the West End Plaza is completed, Little said the Salisbury Rowan Quilters Guild hopes the county will continue to make the event center available.

“It is an ideal space for nonprofits to hold their events,” Little said.