Grand Rivers Quilt Show & Spring Festival

Grand Rivers, Kentucky

Grand River Community Center, inside the Quilt Show, outside were craft vendors

Each April, coinciding with the big AQS quilting show and convention in Paducah, Grand Rivers also hosts its own show at its Community Center. Grand Rivers is a quaint little village that sits between Kentucky and Barkley lakes, at the north end of the National Park/Recreation Area appropriately named Land Between the Lakes. As it is only about 20 miles west of Paducah, its area motels and B&Bs host many quilters attending the Paducah Show. So with all the quilters in town it is a good time to host its own quilt show and spring festival. When we go to the Paducah show we stay in the nearby Canal Park RV park so we are regular spring-time visitors to Grand Rivers.

Here’s a few pictures of quilts I liked at the Grand Rivers Show. One I particularly liked was made from a 100 pound antique flour or feed sack.

Amish Quilt by Ella Bontrager

Detail on Amish Quilt by Ella Bontrager

Here’s another one I liked, made by Joyce Puffenbarger of Symsonia, Kentucky.

Quilt by Joyce Puffenbarger

Mr. Bill's Restaurant, Grand Rivers, KY

Mr. Bill's Restaurant, Patti's 1880s Settlement

The Community Center is in the heart of town. Nearby across the street is the Badgett Playhouse which usually schedules a production to run during the Quilt Show and Festival. Across the street in another direction is Patti’s 1880’s Settlement (see our web page on Patti’s and Grand Rivers here), a very popular regional attraction featuring a restored log cabin village with shops, gardens, ponds, streams, walking paths, a little country church, a mill pond waterwheel, and two fantastic restaurants. Last month we posted a blog on our dinner we had at Patti’s Restaurant. So this trip we decided to try brother Bill’s restaurant, appropriately named Mr. Bill’s Restaurant. We found the menu similar to Patti’s and the wait staff were similarly costumed in 1880s attire. Basically the only difference in the two establishments is the interior design motif. While Patti’s is filled with antique furniture from the era and dining is in several smaller more intimate rooms. Bill raised roses so his restaurant is filled with roses and a floral motif with liberal sprinkling of LCD lights. The dining rooms are larger and more open. But that ends the difference because like Patti’s we found the service and the food outstanding.

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Paducah Quilt Show 2011

April 28, 2011 Paducah AQS Quilt Show

Quilters getting off the bus at the Pavilion (Bubble Dome)

Lunch time at the Farmers Market Plaza - Good Food, decent prices and a beautiful day

Scuplture outside the National Quilt Museum, across the street from the Farmers Market

All over town quilters were eating ice cream cones from the Ice Cream Factory

Finally sunshine arrived on Thursday in Paducah, after 5 days of rain and severe weather alerts. See our blog on our arrival in Paducah. Yesterday between showers I had a chance to visit the Pavilion (Bubble Dome) where many of the quilts were exhibited. I also stopped in the Baptist Church on Broadway to see all the wall quilts. And finally at the end of the day I caught Eleanor Burn’s Tent Show – this year’s theme was “Strips to Stars.”

I had previously reported the location changes due to the rising Ohio River endangering the Convention Center which has traditionally been the primary host facility for the AQS Quilt Show & Contest. Several additional sites had to be employed, some quite distant from downtown Paducah, to make up for the loss of space at the Convention Center. The Chamber of Commerce/Visitors Bureau did an excellent job adding buses and new routes to provide free transportation to all show locations.  While I spent more time on buses traveling around I discovered there were some benefits to the inconvenience of having the show spread out over so many different, and somewhat distant, locations. Previously most of the quilt exhibits were in the Convention Center. This year no single location could handle all of them, so they were spread out among the Pavilion, the  Baptist Church, and the Kentucky Oaks Mall facility. The result. The exhibits were less crowded; I could make my way through them easier. I also found the lighting at these new/temporary locations was just as good as the Convention Center if not a bit better- so light for viewing of the quilts was about the same.  Another benefit of spreading out all the quilt show attendees was at lunch time. Didn’t have to wait in line long to get served and was easily able to find a seat at a picnic table.

Quilt By Eileen Daniels, Broadhead, Wisconsin

Next year when the show returns to the Conference Center, I’d like to see them continue to display quilts in the Pavilion and put more of the quilting vendors in the Conference  Center. (In 2010 the Pavilion (Bubble Dome) was mainly used for vendors. Below are a few photos from the exhibits. AQS wants permission from both the organization and the quilter before I publish any photos on so that will have to wait for later. But I can show you one here from my friend Eileen Daniels (see her website here) who has already given me permission. By the way, in the past Wisconsin has been well represented at the annual show (our state is among the leaders of all US states in the number of quilt shops so we must have lots of quilters too) but this year it seemed we had fewer than usual entries.

In the Pavilion (Bubble Dome)

In the old Office Depot building at Kentucky Oaks Mall

Paducah garden restaurants

Jo and Ross enjoyed a nice lunch and brew at JP's dining garden

sidewalk cafes in Paducah Kentucky

Sidewalk cafes abound in downtown Paducah

Art exhibit Paducah Town Square

Artisans and art abound in the Paducah Town Square and throughout downtown

sidewalk sale during the Paducah Quilt Show

sidewalk sales are sprinkled throughout downtown as well

Did you go to the show? If so let us know how you liked it in the comments section below.

Happy Quilting,

Jo –

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Arriving at Paducah Quilt Show

Update Paducah Quilt Show – April 26, 2011

The Ohio River is rising - view from the upper deck of the Carson Center, Paducah, KY

Installing one of the 47 gates along the Paducah Flood Wall

Jo and I arrived yesterday, Monday, in Paducah so she could be one of the first in line at Eleanor Burn’s Fabric Fair sale in Carson Park. When we arrived we found workers were busy trying to re-install the Big Top show tent that had recently collapsed from heavy rains. With luck they should have it ready for the show opening on Weds. Fortunately the smaller Fabric Fair tent weathered the storm OK so Jo was able to snap up some good deals.

When we arrived in downtown Paducah we found city workers with cranes working on the Flood Wall. As the pictures here show Paducah is closing the gates on its Flood Wall, the first time all 47 gates have been closed since the 1950’s. The Ohio River is at flood stage and going higher. But as the second picture shows on Monday, April 25th the river is still a few feet below even the base of the flood wall. It is hard to imagine that during the next few days the river would rise several feet to lap at the base of the Flood Wall. My guess is that won’t happen until after the Quilt Show is over.

But Paducah is getting out ahead of potential problems by sealing up the entire wall. We had more rain last night and expect more tonight, so the advance planning is paying off. However since the Expo and Convention Center is on the river side of the flood wall, Mother Nature has caused some changes to the 2011 Paducah Quilt Show but it looks like the city of Paducah and AQS has everything well organized.

There’s been a musical chairs change to the location of several events and activities. Because the Expo Center is in the flood plain, all original activities scheduled for there have been moved to the Dome (Pavilion). Activities scheduled for the Dome-Pavilion have been moved to locations in the Kentucky Oaks Mall area, which historically has also hosted some Quilt Show vendors. The Food Court is being moved to the Farmers Market Pavilion across from the National Quilt Museum. Events scheduled for the Museum and at the Carson Center remain the same. Workshops and some exhibits will be moved to the First Baptist Church on Broadway. As in the past free shuttles will be running between all quilt show locations.

The weather forecast remains for the rain to stop on Weds and sunny weather show up. The only change Jo is making for her quilt show attendance is for sure she is buying the multi-day ticket. With the show being distributed among more locations she figures she’ll need more time to see what I want.

The rain has also affected my plans. When it finally does stop raining I don’t know if I’ll be able to find a golf course that isn’t flooded. I had hoped to golf at the Kentucky Dam course, Paxton in Paducah, Drake Creek in Ledbetter, and Miller Memorial near Murray. May have to settle for just hitting some balls at the range.

Jo will report later on the show and I’ll report on golfing (or lack thereof !)


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Leaving for Paducah Quilt Show

Snow in Mount Horeb, WI April 20th

“Arvy” our little Rialta motorhome is just about all packed and ready to travel to Paducah for the big AQS Quilt Show and Convention. We’ll all be happy to be heading south because the weather here in southern Wisconsin has been pretty nasty. Just a few days ago we had snow and low temps around 20 degrees (see picture).  The weather forecast in Paducah during the show is for temps in the 70’s but also scattered thundershowers. Opening day Weds, April 27th there’s a 40% chance of showers and presently a forecast of a high of 68 degrees. So bring a rain coat or umbrella just in case you get caught in a shower. Thursday will be mostly sunny followed by Friday and Saturday partly cloudy.  So overall some nice weather. The show is a little later in the month this year so the Dogwood’s might be past their blooming.

The “Dome” Arena will again host a portion of the show. The old Executive Inn has been torn down and the Convention Center expanded somewhat, but until a replacement for the Executive Inn is built the Quilt Show will need to use the Arena. See pictures from last year’s Quilt Show . I am planning to attend Eleanor Burn’s Fabric Fair at Carson Park bright and early Monday morning to catch some of her great deals on fabrics. If you are going to the Fabric Fair, you can get a coupon here at her website. Eleanor’s tent show is on Wednesday 27th. This year’s theme is Strips to Stars. Always a fun show (you can some pics from an earlier Eleanor Show here). There’s lots of other events going on during the week the show is in town. Go to the Visitors Bureau Calendar and see the complete list.

We’ll report later either from the show or later.

See ya’

Jo –

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Visit to Paducah before the AQS Show

Paducah gets ready for the AQS Show

On the way home from our spring trip down south to escape the tail end of Wisconsin  winter, Ross and I stayed a few days in the Paducah area at our favorite RV campground – Canal Park in Grand Rivers, KY.

Paducah Convention Center - Site of the annual Paducah Quilt Show & Convention

One day we drove over to the Paducah Convention Center, the site of the AQS Quilt Show and Convention to see what’s new.  We’d heard that the failing Executive Inn hotel, which was attached to the convention center, was torn down. And the rumor turned out to be true.  All that was left was a giant pile of broken concrete and rubble.

New Addition being added to the Convention Center

We could see that where the hotel was attached to the convention center a new addition is being constructed, but I doubt that it will be finished in time for the big Quilt Show the last part of April.  So quilt show goers can expect to use the big “White Dome”  exhibition hall for part of the show’s activities.  Since the rubble from the torn down Executive Inn is actually covering more space than the former building, expect parking space to be even more stressed than usual.

Downtown Paducah in Bloom

While an overcast day, downtown Paducah was looking pretty good with apple and pear blossoms in full bloom.

If you’ve never been to the annual Quilt Show in Paducah here’s some links you can visit: Paducah and the AQS Quilt Show and Scenes from 2010 AQS Quilt Show

While in Grand Rivers we stopped at Patti’s 1880’s Settlement Restaurant.

Patti's Restaurant Grand Rivers, Kentucky

The restaurant is part of larger complex of a little 19th century village with shops, gardens, a mill, a little church, and other attractions. Wait staff in the restaurant are costumed in historically accurate apparel and the interior is filled with antiques from the period, adding to the 19th century atmosphere. As with our previous visit we found the food and the service exceptional. I had their grilled salmon on a bed of rice with a side of steamed vegetables. Grilled salmon is one of my favorites so I have a good amount of experience with grilled salmon. Patti’s is one of the best I’ve ever had. Cooked and served at exactly the right temperature and very moist. Nice detail touches to the main meal were their homemade fresh bread cooked and served in a little earthenware flower pot and serving their ice water in a canning jar with a quarter lemon slice on the rim. It was a cold, rainy Wednesday evening in late March, well before the tourist season in little Grand Rivers, yet Patti’s was almost packed. Evidence of the value and quality of their service that they could draw so many people from many miles away.

On the way to Grand Rivers we stopped at the Murray State University golf course so Ross could play 18 holes. While the grass had yet to green out the fairways and greens were in good shape for golfing. The Miller-Murray University course is quite scenic and well-maintained and they do offer a senior rate so it is a good value for us. Ross will probably stop there again when I am back in Paducah in late April for the 2011 AQS Show.

I’ll report back later from the show. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Jo –

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2011 Quilting Event & Quilt Show Calendar

2010 Paducah AQS Quilt Show and Quilting Convention

Hi All,

Just a note to let you know I’ve posted the 2011 edition of our Quilt Show Calendar on Quilting Pathways. As always I am looking forward to the Big Paducah Quilt Show, this year being held April 27th – 30th. This spring I also plan to attend the Dallas Quilt Celebration being held March 11 – 13, 2011 and the Azalea Quilt Show in Tyler Texas being held March 25-26, 2011. Both of these shows will occur during our Texas Hill Country scenic byways trip, which I expect to profile here in April. Naturally I’ll also be visiting some quilt shops along the route. Two other quilting shows on my personnel calendar is the Minnesota Quilters Show, June 16-18, 2011, being held this year in St. Paul, Minnesota and the Madison Quilt Expo in Madison, WI Sept 8th – 10th.

Quilt Show Sponsors. If I’ve missed your show or some of the info on our Quilt Show Calendar is incorrect, write me at

Happy New Year,


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November 2010 Quilt Class “Floral Bunda Tote Bag”

Shar exhibits her quilted "Big Bertha" tote bag!

Last September, my friend and quilting buddy Sue and I attended the Quilt Expo in Madison, Wi, When we saw this big tote bag and fabric displayed at “Thimble N Thread’s” booth, we both thought what a great gift idea for Christmas this would be. Shar, the shop owner, is holding up a sample of the bag in the picture to the right.

Looking for something quilting relating to do, now that our travel season is over for 2010 and Arvy is parked for the winter, Sue talked me into taking a class at  “Thimble N Thread” on making this large Floral Bunda tote bag. What fun we had making the bag. And we liked ours so much that we both decided to keep our bag for ourselves – Merry Christmas Sue and Jo!

Sewing the straps for the "Bunda" quilted tote bag

In this picture, my friend Sue is so intent on getting her bag straps just right.  This pattern was easy, simple to make yet elegant looking.

I was able to make a somewhat smaller version of this tote with some  floral fabric I had in my stash for my cousin who is in wheelchair. I had to make the strap proportionately longer so she could handle it easier.   She later wrote that she loved the bag  (see that picture below).

“Thimble N Thread is a great quilt shop (located at 2315 Hwy 14, Richland Center, Wi).  This shop has all your fabric and quilting needs.  This past summer when my sister, who is a non-quilter, visited the shop with me she said “Now this Is a Quilt Shop.”  Even non-quilters have opinions on what makes a great quilt shop. On our website we have a directory of quilt shops along some scenic byways (Arkansas Scenic Highway 7, the Great River Road, & Lake Superior Circle Tour)

Quilted Small Tote Bag

Thimble and Thread Quilt Shop, Richland Center, WI

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Eastern Iowa Quilt Shops

Quilting Pathways goes on a Fall Shop Hop

Every fall I like to take a one day road trip to visit Quilt Shops that I don’t get to in the normal course of our summer travels. This fall my quilting friend Sue and I headed out for Eastern Iowa, across the Mississippi River from Prairie Du Chien, WI.

Pickett Fence

Forest Mills Quilt Shop

Our first stop was a re-visit to one of our favorite shops – The Picket Fence in Prairie Du Chein. Since our last visit they have expanded their quilting fabric area. We then crossed the river and followed US Highway 18 west to Postville, Iowa. Our destination was the Forest Mills Quilt Shop located in rural Postville on Forest Mills Road (also County X16). Located in an attractive country setting and off the beaten path a little bit yet well worth the drive. They specialize in batiks (displayed on an antique bed), wildlife prints, and civil war reproductions. The shop also offers a number of neat gift items, sprinkled throughout the shop. Sue especially enjoyed browsing the wildlife fabrics; she found a panel with an eagle that she’ll use in a quilt she is making for a friend. After spending an hour or so in the shop, it was time to move on.

One Block Over Quilt Shop

Our next stop took us to West Union, Iowa to visit the One Block Over shop, 322 East Main Street in West Union (website address The shop carries the full line of Jinny Beyer’s color palette. What a treat. I love Jinny Beyer’s fabrics. A number of years ago I took a color class from Beyers at the AQS Quilt Show in Paducah; it was a fun class and it sure did help me when choosing fabric colors.

Quilters Window Quilt Shop

Our fourth stop was in New Hampton, Iowa. This town has two quilt shops and they happen to be across the street from one another. Each shop has something unique to offer quilters so if you are in New Hampton make sure to visit both shops. Unfortunately Sue and I had spent so much time at the first three shops on our Shop Hop tour that we arrived in New Hampton near closing time. The shop named Quilters Window (website address is located at 101 East Main Street. A few years ago it was a featured shop in Better Homes Quilt Sampler feature.

Material Magic Quilt Shop

Across the street at 22 East Main is the Material Magic shop. Owner Pat Vsetecka generously stayed open past closing time so we could tour her shop. Thanks Pat. Next time we visit New Hampton we are going to have to do it earlier in the day so we an see more of these two shops.

Our little Shop Hop tour turned out to cover more miles than we thought – 375 miles. After getting dinner we headed back towards Wisconsin, arriving home around 10 pm. A really long day but a fun trip.

Happy Quilting – Jo

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