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RITA'S QUILT - update

The 'Rita's Quilt' project has become a viral sensation receiving media attention from hundreds of outlets, including CNN, BBC, ABCNews, NPR, and the Kelly Clarkson show.


The National Quilt Museum will have an unveiling ceremony at 1:00pm on Saturday, March 7, 2020. The event is open to the public. After the event, the quilt will be on exhibit at The National Quilt Museum through May 17, 2020.


Rita Smith: Embroiderer, Quilter, Crafter


January 21, 2020 -- Paducah, KY:  In September 2019, Shannon Downey purchased an unfinished embroidered map of the United States and a container of supplies at an estate sale with the intent of finishing the project. The quilt had been started by 99 year old, Rita Smith before she passed. Little did she know that this project would become a global phenomenon.


Realizing that this would be a massive project, taking thousands of hours to complete, Shannon asked her Instagram community if anyone was willing to help finish the quilt. Within a day, over 1,000 people responded with offers to help.


The original artist, Rita Smith, had already completed two states, which Shannon used as a guide for thread thickness, color, and style of stitches. Volunteers across the country were sent one of the 50 stars or 50 state blocks to hand embroider, with many stitching their state of residence. As blocks returned to Shannon, they were washed, blocked, and cut to size. 


Volunteers spent a day together in Chicago to hand piece the quilt top before it was longarm quilted by Sarah Evans and then finished with binding.


How exciting to share news of the unveiling of Rita's Quilt - happening, today, at The National Quilt Museum • 215 Jefferson • Paducah, KY 42001 • 270-442-8856.

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