It was the one quilt that Sue Womack didn’t want to make.
The quilt wasn’t in competition with the approximately 100 other entries at the Nature Quilter Group’s eighth annual Quilt Show. Instead, the spider-web pattern quilt was showcased in the great hall of the Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center during the event.
A small narrow table was set up in front of Womack’s quilt, with a large picture of a good-looking young man named Josh Womack and a pile of single pages titled, “Josh’s Web.”
Womack, Josh’s grandmother, used his boxer shorts — plaids, prints and even a few brand labels — to create the quilt.
For Womack, the pattern is symbolic of Josh Womack’s destructive behavior before his tragic death in January.
“He was caught up in a web of drinking and driving,” Womack said. “Josh was so much fun [and] such a happy-go-lucky person … This was a hard quilt to make.”
More than once, she had to put the work aside when she became too emotional. Through the quilt and her message, she hopes to pass on the hard-learned lesson.
“Do everything you can to prevent a loved one from drinking and driving,” she said while standing in front of the now-finished quilt.
It was a first quilt for 16-year-old Gillian Johnson of Pine Bluff, who made it in her Quilting for Beginners class this past summer.
She was excited about the show even though her quilt didn’t take home a ribbon.
Undaunted and still passionate about quilting, Gillian is considering taking the quilt guild’s next class called Birds and Bloom.
Quilt show organizer, Cindy Barszchewski, said her group meets at 1:30 p.m. the first Friday of each month October through May. Everyone is welcome.
“Our new season starts [Friday], Oct. 4, and the theme will be birds and blooms. Each month the naturalists from the Delta Rivers Nature Center will present a short program on a topic related to this theme. It’s free to the public.”
Surprisingly, Barszchewski said the turnout for this year’s competition was about average, because it’s the only competition like this in town, and as usual, entry didn’t cost a penny.
“We usually have between 80 and 100 people competing, and we always have some wonderful pieces,” she said while manning the entrance desk.
Also, there were vendors like The French Seam at Stuttgart and Hearts at Fordyce.
The French Seam sponsored the prize for the Best Machine Embroidered Quilt, and Hearts handed out a prize to the Nature Quilt winner.
This year’s activities included a make-and-take sock doll. Laura Rogers, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission regional education coordinator, demonstrated Dutch oven cooking and handed out samples of taco soup, biscuits and peach cobbler — all prepared in a Dutch oven.
Both the Jefferson County Quilt Guild and the Pine Bluff Quilt Guild participated in the event, with the Pine Bluff guild raffling off a large Razorback quilt.
There were nine categories including quilts, wall hangings, Christmas, nature quilt, and projects, and all winners were selected by a blind tally of the visitor choice votes.
These included people like Joyce Razor of Pine Bluff, who voted for her favorite quilt. Razor and her daughter, Jasmine Barr, decided on entry number 415, a bright purple and green floral print quilt.
“We just loved the color,” Razor said.
Her son, James Barr, liked quilt number 422 because of its color and detail, which included a tribute to the White Hall High School Bulldogs.
In all, the group is donating 15 storybook quilts, which were on display, to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. These quilts competed in the Book and Babies category, with Mary Brown winning the top spot.
Quilters could pick up a children’s book and design a quilt that reflected the story, Barszchewski said.
For more information about the Nature Quilter Group or its classes, call 870-534-0011 or go to www.deltarivers.com.
The top winners were:
• Barbara Wingfield in the categories Nature Quilt, Christmas Quilt, Nature Wall Hanging and Open Class Wall Hanging;
• Arleen Parsley in the Open Quilt category;
• Mary Freeman in the Nature Project category;
• Carol Hurt in the Open Class Project category;
• Mary Brown in the Book and Babies category.