By Troy Lesan

During the years that I’ve written articles, it’s never ceased to amaze me how stories just seem to fall in my lap. More times than I can count, I’m wondering what I’m going to write about when, all of a sudden, a story or two will simply fall out of the sky. Take this one for example. Shirley and I are spending the month in Florida, and I really wasn’t planning on doing much. What I wasn’t counting on was our stop in Paducah, KY. Yes, you heard me right. Paducah!

We always go through Paducah on our way to Florida. On our returns, we often stay there, as opposed to Nashville, which makes for a shorter final day of travel. We have, therefore, often seen the billboard on the highway advertising the National Quilt Museum at Paducah, yet have never stopped there. This time we did and wow! The place was very impressive.

Regular readers of the Lake Viking News may tire of me writing quilt stories, but since my wife has spent so much time with the Lake Viking Quilting group – making and giving away quilts during the past 15 or so years – the interest can be explained. And after visiting the quilt museum in Paducah, I can say that we have completed our pilgrimage to Quilters Mecca . . . we have seen the Quilting Promised Land.

Actually, the museum in Paducah confirms the fact that even quilters are part of the new age of technology and digitalization. The quilts that are winning the national blue ribbons, these days, are quite different from the ones grandma used to make. I can still vividly remember my great grandmother’s quilt with its big square velvet and flannel patches, large stitches and hanging threads – or for that matter the traditional patchwork products put out by the Lake Viking Quilters. Today’s quilts are ultra-sophisticated works of art that sometimes look more like paintings by Peter Max. In fact, as the accompanying pictures will show, observers are sometimes hard pressed to find evidence of stitching. One of the quilts on display at the museum, with an intricate lace border, reportedly had two million tiny stitches. On the other hand, a couple other quilts, one a solid grey and the other a solid pink were, upon closer inspection, spectacular displays of intricate and complex stitching.

The Paducah attraction refers to itself as the National Quilt Museum, but it could actually be called an International Quilt Museum. That’s because at present there is a very large display of quilt offerings from Japan as well quilts in the permanent display that are made by ladies from some other countries. The museum has a permanent inventory of over 600 beautiful quilts with 60 featured on display as well as the Japan Exhibition and a display of quilts made in honor of famous women.

I would recommend The National Quilt Museum as a must see for anyone passing through Paducah, KY. It is an impressive display of artistic excellence.

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