TORRINGTON—The Covered Wagon Quiltshop owner Judy Edwards’ quilt “Wyoming Wind” will be featured in the 2020 American Quilter’s Society contest.
Edwards’ quilt is among 405 other quilts from national and international locations.
“It is a total honor. They have contestants from 42 different states and 15 different countries. I bet they have thousands – I didn’t hear how many they had – but they chose 405,” Edwards said. “So just to be a semi-finalist, I feel like I already won.”
The AQS contest is in its 36th year. The final selection will be made April 21 by a three-judge panel in Paducah, Ky. Cash awards totaling $125,000 will be divided among the top three quilts.
Edwards said the center for the quilt was originally made for a different quilt.
“I just kept building around it and around it so it’s my original design. They asked me about the quilt, and I said it just happened,” Edwards said.
Using only five colors in this quilt is out of character for Edwards who opts for very colorful designs in her other work.
As one of the largest shows in the U.S., Edwards said while she may have been well off to enter a smaller contest at first, she decided to shoot for the top.
“When people ask me when I started (quilting) I usually say at birth. I have a mother, two grandmothers and I have four older sisters. And half of them are Home Economics teachers,” Edwards said. “I always loved the colors and feeling the fabric and just putting colors together. I’ve always enjoyed that. Choosing the fabric is half of building a quilt.”
While teaching quilting classes, Edwards talks to her students about the “rules of thumb” she was raised on.
Since 2001 Edwards has had several stores starting in Estes, Colo. She was born and raised in Lincoln, Neb.
“I moved west, hit the mountains and stopped,” Edwards said.
Edwards moved her store to Loveland, Colo., and finally shut the store down due to surrounding infrastructure issues. She eventually ended up in Torrington, where she has lived for the last six years.
The Covered Wagon holds around 2,500-2,700 bolts of fabric, including cotton and flannel, perfect for quilting.
When Edwards finishes quilts, some of them are hung for display around the store to show the designs of the kits some are marked for sale and some adorn the walls of the classroom downstairs.
The classroom is where “Feel Good Friends” meets – a group that gets together on the last Saturday of each month to build charity quilts.
“We donated nine to the fire department and two days later we had a fireman come in and he said they had a big fire and they already used one,” Edwards said. “It just makes you feel good.”