Linda Shafer wins Best of Show and other awards
By Shirley Shuman
The West Virginia Quilt Festival, held in Summersville June 22-24, featured over 200 quilts completed by WV quilters along with a few from other states. Linda Shafer of Duck won three ribbons with her Wreath quilt. First, Shaver won first in Category 600 Individual Mixed—Large. Then came the crowning glory as Shafer’s quilt was chosen Best of Show All Around. Finally, on the last day of the show, the local quilter also received the Viewers’ Choice ribbon. Considering this is only the second time she has entered the WV Quilt Festival, she was, not surprisingly, quite happy and, she said, “Surprised.”
Shafer’s first entry into a WV Quilt Festival won second place. She entered the same quilt into a show at the Culture Center. Although she did not win a ribbon, her quilt was chosen to hang in the Culture Center for a period. That quilt was machine quilted. She hand-quilted the one for which she won the three blue ribbons this year.
She explained how she began quilting and why she chose to hand-quilt her award-winning one. “I’ve been taking a class in ribbon embroidery from Karen Phillips-Shwallon, who lives in Pennsylvania, for 10 years. After I got the top of my ‘Wreath’ quilt put together, this teacher told me it should be hand-quilted. I had never even tried that, so I asked her to teach a class in hand-quilting. She agreed, and I hand-quilted my winning quilt,” she said. Shafer also emphasized that she did everything on that quilt by hand, and she also credited Phillip-Shwallow for the Wreath pattern.
Older women of our area, or those who came before them, would likely be amazed at the time Shafer spent working on her quilt and the intricacies of the pattern. She explained that she spent five years putting together the top of the quilt and another year and three months quilting it. The ribbon embroidery along with thread embroidery took much of her time with the Wreath masterpiece. Asked about “ribbon embroidery,” she explained that it is exactly what it says—embroidery using ribbon instead of thread. “Yes, we do thread a needle with ribbon,” she noted, and went on to say, “I used ribbon embroidery to make flowers—roses, rosebuds, and leaves. I even did ribbon embroidery on my label.” The background colors of her quilt are purple and lime green, she explained, and she used yellow for some of her embroidery.
Shafer is working on another quilt, which she calls “ The Baltimore Album,” but it will not be ready for competition by next summer. This one she has already spent “about five years” on, and she still has “a few blocks to finish” for the top. This quilt “has a lot of applique,” she said, adding, “I love to do applique.” She plans to hand quilt this one, too. Although she will not have a quilt for next year’s WV Quilt Festival, Shafer plans to enter the “Wreath” quilt in other festivals and shows. One in which she is especially interested is in Paducah, Kentucky. She’s also considering one in Pennsylvania. With the dedication she shows in perfecting her work, this quilter may come home with ribbons from those shows, too.