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Cortez quilting group named semifinalists at international quilting competition

The quilt Cliff Palace Dreams is being displayed at the AQS QuiltWeek in Paducah, Kentucky. (Courtesy photo)
Quilt was inspired by the Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde

The local Blocks Without Borders Art Quilt Group has been named semifinalist at the 2024 AQS QuiltWeek in Paducah, Kentucky. The competition will be held April 24-27 at the Schroeder Expo Center.

The group has been selected to display their quilt, Cliff Palace Dreams, along with 387 other quilt groups.

According to quilt group member Judith Swain, the group started about eight years ago, and the women who joined didn’t know much about quilting at the time.

“It was just a few people sitting around saying, ‘Well, I’ve never done this, let’s try it,’” Swain said to The Journal. “Now we’re probably 15 or so strong, maybe a few more.”

The idea for the Cliff Palace Dreams quilt came about a year ago, when a member suggested doing a group landscape quilt.

“We took a photograph of the Cliff Palace site in Mesa Verde,” Swain said. “We sliced it into nine slices, and each one of us made one of the nine panels and interpreted from the photograph our own style in our own fabrics, manner and way.”

Swain shared that it took about a year to finish the quilt, and on a whim they entered it into the competition in Paducah, which is one of the biggest quilt shows in the U.S.

“We sent them a photograph, and we asked them if we could enter our quilt into their show, and they responded and said we were accepted for judging, which in the quilting world is a really big deal,” Swain said.

“We’re over the moon because it was just one of those things where we said, ‘Well, let’s do this,’” Swain said.

Next, they hope to send it to a quilting show in Houston.

The Paducah competition will have 16 categories with prizes for first through third, and nine overall awards.

The winners will be announced at the AQS Awards Presentation. According to a news release from the organization, more than $127,000 in prizes will be awarded, including $20,000 for the Janome America Best of Show Award and $12,000 for the AQS Best Hand Workmanship Award, BERNINA of America Best Award, Stationary Machine Workmanship Award and the Handi Quilter Best Movable Machine Workmanship Award.

Whether or not Quilt Palace Dreams wins an award, all the semifinalists will be displayed for attendees to view.

The show is expected to bring in more than 30,000 people, and quilts are entered from groups from 42 states and 11 countries.

“The quilts on display continue to get better each year as the technology and creativity of the quilter continues to evolve. The attendees will have no shortage of inspiration to continue or start new projects of their own. We are so thankful for our sponsors, everyone who enters our contest, vendors at our shows, and those who stop by to see the art,” said AQS President Bill Schroeder.

Each year, the American Quilter’s Society hosts multiple shows, and each has its own contest for quilters to compete in.

More information on the competition and other quilting competitions can visit www.americanquilter.com.