Corvallis Quilter Susan Paceley has been selected to compete with her quilt, 'Make Our Garden Grow,' at the American Quilter’s Society Quilt Week this fall in Paducah, Ky.
AQS Quilt Week is an international contest and exhibition with over 700 quilts coming from 38 states and 16 countries. The show recognizes the artistry of today’s quilt makers as hundreds of quilters in the AQS Quilt Contest compete for $121,250 in cash awards.
Paceley said she always wanted to get in to the AQS Paducah show and started seriously quilting only 10-years ago when she moved to Montana.
“I have always loved to sew,” Paceley said. “I’m from the generation where we had home ec. in the school and my first experience was in elementary school where I made an apron. Over the years, whether I was hemming pants, making Halloween costumes or curtains for my house, it always made me happy.”
When her children were older, she decided to give quilting a try.
“I’d always heard that quilting was precise and it is a really nice challenge to see if I could sew that precise,” Paceley said. “I took my first quilting class at Seeley Lake because I needed a way to meet people. It was a great way for me to have a social group. We met monthly for over a year, it was fun.”
It was in that first class she joined for socialization that she made the first quilt she entered in to a quilt show.
“That quilt was the polar opposite of the one that will be in Paducah,” Paceley said. “That quilt had 225 unique blocks. Most of them were four and a half inch squares and some had 50 pieces in them. It was very detailed and a reproduction made during the Civil War, which I got to see in Vermont.”
She started her AQS national show quilt, 'Make Our Garden Grow,' before she was ready.
“It was a large medallion block with bright colors,” she said. “I started it in 2013, hit a wall and realized I didn’t have the skills and put it in a drawer for many years. I took more classes to learn now to add the 30-degree wedges that radiate out of the center of the quilt.”
Paceley said that Hamilton quilter Peggy Holt taught her how to draft a mariner’s compass and those skills helped her “get over the hump.”
“I have to also give kudos to my daughter Jaclyn who sketched out the quilt stitching design for the large solid green areas,” Paceley said. “Because I was discouraged, I had slacked off on the quilting just stitching in the ditch but she was honest and challenged me to do a better job.”
The quilt 'Make Our Garden Grow' is in Paducah, and is the fourth quilt that Paceley has had juried in to a national show in the past five and a half years.
AQS Quilt Week event is open to the public and the contest quilts, as well as hundreds of special exhibit quilts, will be on display. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sept. 11 – 13, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 14. Tickets and additional information can be found at quiltweek.com or by calling 1-270-898-7903.