Quilters shine in Lone Star festival

Sharon Schamber of Payson, Ariz., won best of show and $10,000 with her large quilt “Mystique” at the 2010 fall judged show at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.

Records fell like autumn leaves at the 2010 fall judged show at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.

First of all, master quilter Sharon Schamber of Payson, Ariz., became the first person to win the contest’s Best of Show award three times.

Her spectacular quilt titled “Mystique” earned her a $10,000 cash prize in “Quilts: A World of Beauty” and further secured Schamber’s reputation as the foremost expert in her field. She also received the top prize in Houston in 2005 and 2008.

A complex cording technique holds each panel of the heavily quilted piece together.

Precise quilting stitches demonstrate Schamber’s control at the machine and her superb execution of an original design. Beginning this project in 2007, she tirelessly dedicated many long hours to this art form for which she is world renowned.

The second record broken at the festival was the number of quilting enthusiasts who attended the event at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

When organizers tallied the numbers, they happily discovered a 15 percent increase over last year and an all-time high of 60,162 people who rushed through the doors to see the displays, take classes and shop at exhibitor booths.

The festival’s previous record was 54,247 set in 2007.

“Today’s quilters are modern artists in their own right, and more and more people are realizing that,” says Karey Bresenhan, festival founder and director.

A 2010 Quilting in America survey shows quilters spend $3.6 billion annually on their passion. That’s more than golfers, fishermen or gun/hunting enthusiasts spend on theirs, according to USA Today.

This year’s festival featured 546 exhibitors selling products on the convention center floor, a figure that was up 7 percent from 2009.

Of those, 51 were new to the festival.

In terms of class enrollees, 4,862 attendees took part in the Quiltmaking Academy, a 14 percent jump from last year, officials report.

The International Quilt Association awarded $98,250 in cash prizes to winners of “Quilts: A World of Beauty” contest.

To view all the winning entries, go to http://www.quilts.org.

The Houston festival is one of three consumer shows sponsored annually by the International Quilt Association.

The spring session will be April 8–10 in Cincinnati, the summer edition is scheduled for July 29–31 in Long Beach, Calif., and next fall’s event is Nov. 3–6 in Houston.

E-mail Sherida.Warner @gjsentinel.com.


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