Quilt festival starts today

Alisa Boswell

The sixth annual High Plains Quilt Festival kicks off today with all day quilting and Paintstiks classes.

According to one of the event coordinators Linda Custer, the festival will include more classes Friday and Saturday and a quilt competition, which will be judged Thursday.

Custer said the event is sponsored by First Financial Credit Union and the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce each year.

“Everybody has a job,” Custer said of herself and other coordinators. “We all kind of merge and work together.”

Custer said 200 quilters mostly from Texas and New Mexico submit entries to the show every year.

“I think it’s come along well,” Custer said. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive comments from the community.”

Custer said the festival originated from her doing a quilt show at the Portales Ag Expo about 10 years ago. She said she and a few others headed a quilt show at the Expo for about four years before Mayor Sharon King suggested they make the show its own venue.

“We just love quilts,” Custer said.

“It’s the challenge of doing a complicated pattern or creating your own,” added Sheryl Abdill, another event coordinator. “The excitement of seeing it come together is the rewarding part that makes you passionate about it.”

Custer and Abdill said quilters have to submit original patterns.

They said the festival usually draws a crowd of about 500 people.

“It’s been fantastic,” said another coordinator, Elizabeth Lawrence. “We get quilts from all over.”

“And the quality of the craftsmanship improves every year,” Abdill added.

Custer said two quilts will be raffled; one to raise money for next year’s festival and one to raise money for Habitat for Humanity.

She said there are 11 categories for quilts being judged, such as miniature, wall quilts, pieced medium, wearable and art quilt. She said there are first through third place prizes for each category with first winning $50 and second and third ribbons.

“It’s the creative aspect for a lot of them,” Custer said. “We’ve filled it every year.”

The event will end Saturday afternoon with a five fabrics class and the awards presentation dinner will take place 6 p.m. Thursday at Vines Italian Restaurant.