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Stitching ‘Stars’ to success
by Tim Delaney, Progress Editor
Apr 27, 2012 | 597 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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GEORGE WEST – Virginia Horton hurries home after a day in the Live Oak County Tax Assessor-Collector office to pick up needle and thread. Once there, she begins to relax as she hand stitches a quilt.

Horton has been quilting since 1991 – 21 years.

“I think it’s the creativity part of it,” she says. “I have to be able to put tops together to be able to hand quilt. My passion is the hand quilting.”

Her “Stars of Many Colors” quilt won “Best of Division” in piece work hand quilted in the 2012 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Go Texan competition. She earned a first place ribbon, too.

She says she began the quilt in early August and finished it on Jan. 10 – a little more than five months to complete.

Her skill and art won her “Best of Division” in applique in 2007, and she won “Judges Choice” in piece work hand quilted in 2002, so she has proven she is a talented, consistent winner.

She says her recent quilt had to be in Houston by Jan. 13 for judging.

“They judge them sometime prior to the rodeo starting,” she says.

The “Stars of Many Colors” quilt was on display during the rodeo, which ended March 17. When Horton received the news she won “Best of Division,” she was surprised.

“I couldn’t believe it because the quilter knows every mistake on the quilt. You’d think the judge would see that,” she said.

Of course, Horton admits to being her own worst critic.

“So I was stunned when they told me I won.”

And a love of helping youth also motivates Horton to quilt.

She recalls that in 2004, Hortencia Brooks came by the tax assessor office “to buy her registration.”

“I asked her how her daughter, Mia, was doing. She said ‘Thanks to you, she’s now going to medical school.’”

Mia Brooks, of George West, had won the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Go Texan scholarship – a $5,000 award.

Mia will be graduated from medical school as a Ph.D. on June 12.

But for students to be eligible, Go Texan participants in Live Oak County have to enter several events, including quilting, dominoes, washer pitching, horseshoe pitching and teen penning.

“Hearing that from Mia’s mother made me feel so good,” Horton says.

Another student from Three Rivers also benefitted from Horton’s quilt entry.

“John Jambers also was a scholarship winner. He stood by the quilt that won that year and brought the picture back to me,” Horton says.

She says the boy’s parents, Shirley and Tim Jambers, later came back to ask Horton to make a quilt for their son’s graduation.

“They picked the pattern and bought the fabric. I had to use the quilt for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo first,” Horton says.

She said she delivered the quilt to John’s mother.

“He was already off to college by then,” she says.

Her “Stars of Many Colors” quilt has 36 blocks “and now two blocks are the same color.”

She says she saw the pattern in McCall’s Quilting magazine although the colors in the magazine were totally different and drab, she says.

“I haven’t found my next pattern yet, but I’m always looking,” she says.

Horton plans on retiring as Live Oak County tax assessor-collector this year. She will have put in 17 years service to the county.

“Now, I will have more time doing these quilts,” she says.

She and her husband, Bud, will celebrate 44 years of marriage soon, as well.

She says she may sell some of her quilts in the future.

“Quilts are a labor of love. I probably have 10 quilts. Others I have given to in-laws, nieces, my pastor and his wife and to the church for auction,” she says.

Now, Horton is thinking about ways she can sell them after she retires.

Still, hand quilting is her way of relaxing. Sometimes, she finds herself up at 2 a.m.

“I get so involved, time flies,” she says.

“When I am hand quilting, that’s when I do all my thinking, meditating and problem solving.”

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