Destin will be covered with creative quilts this week.

Some outstanding needlework will be on display when The Flying Needles Quilt Guild presents its 2013 Emerald Coast Quilt Retreat & Show. The event will feature 91 quilts, each with a story behind the stitches. Trust me; you don’t want to miss it.

The public is invited to attend the show, located in the ballroom of the Palms of Destin Resort and Conference Center, 4201 Indian Bayou Trail. Call 351-0500 for more information.

The show runs Feb. 28 to March 2.  As it is open from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., you’ll have plenty of time to absorb the beauty and complexity of this incredible art. Rosemary Stark is responsible for the flawless displays. No pressure, Rosemary!

Many of these gifted quilters come from the Panhandle area including Destin, Panama City, Pensacola and Santa Rosa. Several quilts were shipped in from Colorado. You will be astonished by the intricate workmanship that went into these incredible quilts.

The quilts will be judged in four different categories: Pieced quilts, meaning small pieces of material that have been meticulously put together in a specific pattern; appliqué quilts are pieced by hand or machine with material applied on the top. The hand quilt is done entirely by hand and the last category is “other techniques,” which could encompass various pieces of clothing, 3-dimensional work or a picture.

First, second and honorable mention prizes will be awarded as well as an over-all viewer’s choice prize of $125.  The judge of the show will be Alma Moates, a certified quilt appraiser.  If you have old quilts tucked away in a closet or trunk, now is the time to bring them in for an appraisal.  A visual appraisal costs $15.  If you want insurance coverage, a more detailed appraisal with research and photos is necessary. That costs $40.

Sharon Jacobs is president of the Flying Needles Quilt Guild and Gina Curtis is the 2013 show chairman. I found several Destin ladies who are part of this talented group that allowed me to have a sneak peak at a few of their quilts.

Annette Dowdy, born into a quilting family, has been quilting for 50 years.  She showed me her Quilt of Valor top, which is done in the colors of red, white and blue.  I asked Sharon to explain the Quilts of Valor, which is a national project for quilters.  Annette says, “We make quilts to distribute to wounded servicemen and women or their families.  The main focus is on the recipient who has given so much to our country.  We have made hundreds; most are distributed locally, but they can be sent anywhere needed.”

Another local quilter, Barbara Fyffe, is a fabric artist and has been quilting for more than 10 years. Barbara says, “I don’t believe in keeping quilts in the closet. I like to work ‘out of the box’ and love a challenge.  I often get these creative sprees.”

On her table I find a cup, lettuce and tomato salad and spaghetti with meatballs — looked good enough to eat; but, I soon discovered it was all made from fabric.

Barbara showed me her large pieced quilt, with open spaces in the middle and material with historical writing. This quilt, all done by hand, will be featured in the show, and is titled Battlefield. The pattern is called Burgoyne Surrounded with the inspiration coming from British General Burgoyne’s surrender to American troops as they surrounded him from four corners.

Additional information concerning the show can be found on Admission is $7. A $2 discount coupon can be found on the above mentioned website under “Quilt Show Information.”  This event will benefit Quilts of Valor.

Three national teachers are on-site for three days of classes that are offered to quilters.  Some classes are available for “walk-ins.”  Check daily for availability.

Crash, ka-boom-a-loom… That’s you being thunderstruck at this show!  You will love it.


And now for the rest of the story as it relates to Burgoyne style of quilting.

There are various turns and historical twists to this story, but this is the one I like the best.

On Sunday, July 27, 1777, Jane McCrea went to fetch water from a spring.  It was her wedding day. 

At the spring, she was captured and later killed by Indians loyal to Burgoyne’s army. Jane’s scalp was presented to the British General John Burgoyne who paid them for it in silver.  Standing beside him, horrified, was his 1st lieutenant, David Jones, to whom Jane was betrothed.

Word of this atrocity brought thousands of volunteers into the Colonial ranks.

Several weeks later, the chant as Burgoyne’s troops were defeated at Saratoga was, “Jane McCrea, Jane McCrea.”  This marked the turning point of the Revolution as the death that saved the American cause.

The story of her life and death entered American folklore, and was used by James Fennimore Cooper in “The Last of the Mohicans.”

Now, 236 years after the tragic act, it is recorded literally in the fabric of history and will be on display in Destin.

— Laura Hall


Laura Hall is a longtime gardener and Destin resident. She explores area gardens with her cavalier spaniel Annie. If you would like to show off your garden, contact Laura at 837-8720.