Visit the Quilting World of 1985


Remember 1985? President Ronald Reagan was beginning his second term, New Coke was all the rage, and the American Quilter’s Society held its first quilt show and contest in Paducah, Kentucky.

This year we invite you to join us as we celebrate 35 years of quilting, 35 years of quilters, and 35 years of AQS inspiring, educating, and nurturing quilters who love quilting. Here’s to the next 35!

In this series, we start in 1985 and work our way to 2019 taking a look at the quilting world through our unique perspective. Enjoy the beautiful quilts and marvel at the amazing heritage quilting is because of you, the quilter.

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American Quilter magazine Summer issue 1985
American Quilter magazine Fall issue 1985
American Quilter magazine Winter issue 1985

American Quilter Magazine

Volumes 1 – 3

In the first issue of AQ, Meredith Schroeder, president of AQS and editor of AQ Magazine, welcomed readers with words that ring true to this day.

“Think with me, if you will, of the little things in your life that have made the greatest changes. For example, just an ordinary phone call may have sent you in a new career direction. A visit with a friend may have given you the idea for a major change in your life style. A chance meeting with an old acquaintance may have opened a new relationship. Isn’t it strange the little things that can change our lives?

This is exactly what has happened to us at AQS. An afternoon meeting with an acquaintance and the idea for AQS was born. Nothing spectacular at the time, few words exchanged, but an idea was born. That idea has changed our direction, opened new relationships and changed our life style. Along with a new idea comes change. I wonder why we fight change or something new so much. It really is what makes life stimulating, interesting and challenging.

I’m glad so many of you (and we are growing everyday) made the decision to join AQS. It was probably not a major decision at the time, but I hope it will prove to be a big change in your career, life style and thinking.

I hope this decision has challenged you to enter your very best quilt in the show and contest. I know many of your lives will be changed when you win in your category, many others will be changed just for making the decision to enter.

I wonder what changes will be made in your lives by the decision to attend the show and see for yourself new ideas, new methods, new workshops, along with old friends. Isn’t it exciting! Wouldn’t it be interesting to hear about all the changes that will take place because each of you decided to join AQS.”

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American Quilter’s Society Quilt Show & Contest

AQS held its first quilt show and contest in Paducah, KY on April 26th-28th, 1985.

American Quilter's Society First National Quilt Show Booklet
Award Winners list from the American Quilter's Society First National Show and Contest 1985

ORIENTAL FANTASY by Katherine Inman won Best of Show.


DOT’S VINTAGE by Dorothy Finley won the Gingher Award for Workmanship

THE BLADE by Doreen Speckmann won 1st Place in the Patchwork, Professional category.

IRIS by Velda E. Newman won 1st Place in the Applique, Amateur category.

THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS won 1st Place in the Applique, Professional category.

THROUGH THE GAZEBO WINDOW by Caryl Bryer Fallert won 1st Place in the Other Techniques, Amateur category.

PEACOCKS by Annabel Baugher won 1st Place in the Other Techniques, Professional category.

LATTICE INTERWEAVE by Miriam Nathan Roberts and quilted by Sara Hershberger won 1st Place in the Group Quilt category.

HESPERIDES by Carol Goddu won 1st Place in the Wall Quilt, Amateur category.

CITYSCAPE by Lucretia Romey won 1st Place in the Wall Quilt, Professional category.

MEMORIES OF CLARA by Donna Aldrich, Cheryl Boyd, Karen Bullock, Cherie Cornick, Marlene Czerwick, Donna Hamilton, Deborah B. Hohner, Marcy Jefferson, Linda Jolly, Nan Suydam, and Lauri Taylor won the Viewer’s Choice Award.

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AQS Publishing put out seven books in 1985.

1985 Quilt Art Engagement Calendar

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1985 Antique Quilt Wall Calendar

Collecting Quilts: Investments in America’s Heritage
by Cathy Gaines Florence

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Award Winning Applique Technique by Wilma & Carolyn Johnson, published by American Quilter's Society 1985

Award Winning Applique Technique
by Wilma & Carolyn Johnson

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Original Quilting Designs by Loraine S. Neff, published by American Quilter's Society 1985

Original Quilting Designs
by Loraine Neff

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Playmate Bears

by Wilma and Carolyn Johnson

Playmate Bears by Carolyn & Wilma Johnson, published by American Quilter's Society 1985
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America's Pictorial Quilts by Caron L. Mosely

America’s Pictorial Quilts 
by Caron Mosey

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We agree with Meredith when she pondered how your life may be changed by joining AQS, and we couldn’t say it any better than her, so here is how she ended her welcome letter in the first volume of American Quilter magazine.

“Let us know about yourself, what you are doing, and send us pictures of your projects to share with others. Our goal is to promote you, the member; therefore, we need to hear from you.

As we take this new direction together, let’s watch for the changes in each of our lives.”

What were you quilting in 1985? What changes have you seen in your life? Leave a comment below, email us your photos, or share them in our Facebook group, Project Parade.

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Janet McCann

Love the Christmas quilt on the cover of volume 3. Is there anyway to get this pattern.? I’m working on Christmas blocks for this year using the 12 days of Christmas collection from your site and adding other blocks I have made. The blocks on the 1985 quilt would be perfect to compliment what I’m doing

So interesting to see what was “In” in 1985! Looking at Doreen’s and Lucretia’s quilts, I think they would be winning in the “Modern” quilt catagory today. Even as an amature, Velda Newman’s floral imagery was stunming! Looking forward to following the eveloution of show entries as you continue to present these.