Pahrump resident’s craft selected for international show

A local quilter’s handiwork has earned a semifinalist designation in an upcoming international quilt show.

Pahrump resident Barbara Shear’s work will be displayed and judged during the American Quilter’s Society International Quilt Show from Sept. 13-16.

Her quilt is entitled “Flowers and Baskets 4 Mom.”

Shear’s work will join approximately 369 other quilts from around the country for the first-ever event.

At least three quilting authorities will judge the bevy of quilts, awarding first, second and third place prizes in 15 categories along with a Judge’s Recognition category.

Cash awards totaling $121,250 will be bestowed upon the winners.

Keeping busy

Shear, who’s been quilting since 2003, said she has created dozens of quilts over the years.

“I have probably created maybe 30 or 40 quilts,” she recalled. “I have 22 grandbabies that love quilts and over the years, I have given a lot of quilts away. My hands need to be busy a lot of the time, so this is a fun hobby for me to pursue. I look at it as a blessing from God.”

Depending on how much time she spends quilting each day, Shear said she can create a full-sized quilt within a month or so.

“That’s if I work between 6 and ten hours each day,” she said. “Some of the quilts can take up to a year to create, depending on the piecing. The quilt that I am submitting to the quilter’s society, took about two years to complete. There are thousands of little, tiny, one-inch square blocks in that quilt. It’s painstaking work but it’s a real treasure once you get it finished.”

Amish country

Shear first became interested in quilting after she and her husband Burt traveled to Pennsylvania years ago.

“He took me to a place in Pennsylvania where they had Amish ladies making quilts,” she recalled. “I came home and went to Walmart, and I bought a book. I then just taught myself to quilt. I became attracted to quilting because my husband would not let me get a job in the outside world, so I needed something to do. I am a member of the Shadow Mountain Quilters Guild. I don’t get there a lot, but I am a member. I think right now we have about 80 members in the guild. As far as I know, I am the only Pahrump resident who is entering a quilt into the show next month.”

More than 550 quilts will be displayed during the four-day show.

Moreover, the American Quilter’s Society will host a series of workshops with some of the top quilters in the industry, along with an extensive “Merchant Mall” comprised of local, national and international vendors.

American Quilter’s Society President Meredith Schroeder spoke about the event.

“This brand new fall event will be an exciting time for quilters,” she said. “For the first time in an AQS quilt contest, the Best of Show award, as well as several other top awards, will be determined by public vote.”

Fingers crossed

Shear, meanwhile, said she’s eager to learn whether her quilt will receive an award.

She shipped out her quilt last month to the judges.

“They have to have the quilt early because they have the judges go in and judge the quilts,” she said. “After that, they pick the winners out. The winners of the big prizes will fly to Paducah and be there for the awards ceremony from September 13th through the 16th.”

Tips of the trade/snowbirds

Additionally, Shear provided a piece of advice for those interested in the craft.

“I would have to stress patience as number one,” she said. “I didn’t have a lot of patience before I started quilting.”

The Shears, who have lived in Pahrump for roughly two years, are self-proclaimed “snowbirds,” from South Dakota.

“We had a home in Las Vegas, so I am also a member of the Quilters Guild in Las Vegas,” she said. “My husband and I retired in 2015 when we sold our home in Las Vegas and moved to Pahrump. We are originally from Spearfish, South Dakota. It’s up near the Black Hills and it’s absolutely beautiful. We are now permanent residents of Pahrump. We both love it here. I absolutely love the small-town atmosphere because that’s how we lived our whole life in Spearfish, South Dakota.”

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at, on Twitter: @pvtimes

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