After working on her entry for six years, Wildwood resident and quilter Peggy Anderson was selected to exhibit her work American Quilter’s Society [AQS] QuiltWeek from Sept. 2-5 at the Schroeder Expo Center, located in Paducah, Kentucky. This will be Anderson’s first venture into a national competition.
AQS currently stands as the largest quilting membership organization in the world. The four-day QuiltWeek events routinely draw thousands of visitors, quilters and artists from across the country.
For the 2020 show, only 400 quilts were selected from across 41 states and 16 countries to be exhibited, according to Alyssa Ragsdale with AQS.
An estimated $121,205 is up for grabs in cash awards overall, but the quilter awarded with the Janome America Best of Show grand prize will take home a sum of $20,000.
Anderson has participated in a number of quilt shows and expos at a local level, but the upcoming AQS competition will be her first venture at the national level.
“It’s the end-all, be-all of the quilting world,” Anderson said.
The only problem is, if you win the grand prize, you don’t get to keep the quilt.
“I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it,” Anderson said.
The quilt that Anderson submitted is called Love Entwined. The pattern was released on the online design blog of Esther Aliu, a notable quilt artist and teacher. Aliu spent hours recreating an interpretation of the heritage applique quilt, which originally dates back to the year 1790.
The original “marriage coverlet” as it was called, had applique patterns with flower arrangements in vase patterns, a star pattern of finely pointed diamonds, and a border pattern of rhomboid patches joined together.
Aliu created the homage to the original so that it could be remembered by quilters everywhere as a “work of magnificent ingenuity without peer or equal in its era.”
“It is an intricate, interesting quilt,” Anderson said.
The task to recreate it was daunting.
“It was very labor-intensive,” Anderson said. “I spent six years working on mine. I could have worked two years full-time.”
She took it with her wherever she went, including trips overseas. Anderson and her husband visited New Zealand and Australia in 2019 right before Christmas and were in Sydney when the fires were just 100 miles away. However, that didn’t deter their desire to travel, or her desire to quilt.
“My husband was raised by a world traveler, so he’s more than willing to travel,” Anderson said.
Anderson has been quilting since 1979, even though she watched her grandmother making quilts while growing up. Her grandmother’s quilts were not to be used, though. They were to only be looked at and admired from afar.
“She never let us use them,” Anderson said. “We would get together once or twice a year for a viewing.”
Anderson’s grandmother lent a helping hand during the creation of her first quilt. It was a baby quilt she was making for her daughter. It was made of cotton fabric and embroidered with designs of kittens. Her grandmother helped her put it together and did the quilting.
Quilting is much easier today than in her grandmother’s time, Anderson said. This is because a lot of the stitching can be done nowadays on a machine rather than by hand.
While Anderson wants others to share in her passion, she has no desire to sell her quilts.
“They’re just for family and friends,” she said.
Anderson has two grown daughters. One is a professor at Kirkwood Community College and the other is a teacher at Lafayette High in Wildwood.