On July 9th-12th, approximately 800 quilters and quilting enthusiasts are expected to travel through the region while participating in the 15th annual Virginia Quilt Shop Rally. Over the course of the four day rally, participants will travel to six different communities in Southern and Southwestern Virginia to visit locally owned quilt shops.
Stops on the rally include The Sewing Studio of Martinsville, the Martinsville-Henry County Visitor Center, Sew Biz of Radford, Sew What Fabrics & Batiks Etcetera of Wytheville, Quilted Expressions & Sewing Possessions of Lynchburg, Creative Quilting Connection of Roanoke and The General Store at Smith Mountain Lake.
At each quilt shop location, participants will receive free quilt patterns, see quilting demonstrations, enjoy refreshments and have the opportunity to win door prizes. Each location will be open Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 – 4 p.m. There is no cost to participate. Participants that visit all seven locations will be entered into a drawing for a grand prize.
This year’s rally theme is “A Day in the Country.” All six quilt shops on the rally will have a featured quilt on display that reflects the theme. At each shop participants will be given the patterns needed to create those featured quilts on their own. The Martinsville-Henry County Visitor Center partnered with artist Karen Despot of the de Spot School of Art to create a display featuring handmade quilts, paintings of scenic countryside, vintage suitcases, picnic baskets and antique license plates.
Participating quilters that come to the Visitor Center will receive a t-shirt that highlights regional attractions on the squares of a patchwork quilt. While there they will also have the opportunity to discover points of interest in the area. According to Jennifer Doss, Director of Tourism for Martinsville-Henry County, “Taking part in the Virginia Quilt Shop Rally allows our staff to showcase area amenities to the visiting quilter. We are able to give them suggestions of things to see and do while in the area and also reasons to come back for an extended stay.”
One of the suggestions that will be offered to the visitors is a drive along the brand new Martinsville-Henry County Barn Quilt Trail. A flier with map, available at the Visitor Center, tells about four locations in the area where hand painted barn quilts can be seen. Doss added that while traditional fabric quilts and barn quilts are two different crafts, the stories and history behind the designs often have common ties.
Additional information on The Virginia Quilt Shop Rally: “A Day in the Country” is found online at: http://www.visitmartinsville.com/explore, at the Martinsville-Henry County Visitor Center and at all six participating quilting shops. According to Brenda Feeny, owner of The Sewing Studio, “We look forward every year to this event. What better way to celebrate our love of quilting than with friends, food, colorful displays and stocked shelves of beautiful fabrics.” Feeny added that the quilt shop owners enjoy seeing seasoned quilters that have attended for many years as well as those new to the hobby.