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Annual Garden of Quilts creates artistic inspiration

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Quilts were hung on lines between the trees, draped over easels on the greens and on display under tents all over Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point last weekend, September 16-17,for Riley Blake Designs’ annual Garden of Quilts.

“This really was our best show to date,” said Cindy Cloward, owner and creative director of Riley Blake Designs. “The sun was shining; the flowers were in full bloom and with added quilts everything felt magical. I hope everyone else could feel it too.” Cloward and Karen Ashton, co-founder with her husband Alan of Thanksgiving Point, started Garden of Quilts together in 2019. Hundreds of volunteers make the event a beautiful, unique experience each year.

Thousands of quilters from around the country descended on Ashton Gardens to enjoy the quilts on display, take classes from renowned teachers, and shop from their favorite vendors all in one place. “I look forward to this every year. I always see a quilt that makes me want to start a new project – I come away inspired,” said Kristy Hall.

“Garden of Quilts is such a beautiful, exciting experience for quilters,” said Heather Grover, who works in the Signature Experiences Department at Thanksgiving Point. Grover was behind the scenes, tagging and organizing each of the more than 500 quilts submitted to the annual event, now in its fourth year.

“One of my favorites was a quilt called ‘My Traveling Quilt.’ This quilter essentially made a coat of a quilt,” said Grover. “I also loved a quilt called ‘Wanda’s Irises’ submitted by her husband. Wanda passed away, and her husband finished the quilt. He did it in her honor – I feel like that’s the spirit of Garden of Quilts.”

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“Garden of Quilts fills our souls! It fills us with peace and love,” said Jenny Doan, founder of Missouri Star Quilts. Doan and her family teach classes, take classes and sign autographs daily at Garden of Quilts.

“This is my favorite week of the year. Quilters gather in a beautiful location to learn from each other and to deepen friendships,” added Amanda Niederhauser, a fabric and quilt designer known as The Jedi Craft Girl. “It’s truly magical.”

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