Manassas Journal Messenger | Woman sweeps quilting contest

When a woman walked into the Home Arts barn at the Prince William County Fair to admire the winning quilts, Susy Shafer was all smiles.

“That one’s mine,” Shafer said, pointing to quilt after quilt the woman praised. “That one, too.”

In fact, eight of Shafer’s quilts were on display at the fair this year, and all eight took first-place prizes, including one that won best in show.

Quite a feat for someone who hadn’t even heard of quilting a few years ago.

Shafer, 33, who now lives with her husband and two children in Manassas, moved to the country from Indonesia in 1998.

“In Indonesia, they don’t have quilting or anything like that,” Shafer said. “Here it is so big. But I had not heard of it.”

So four years ago, Shafer decided to teach herself.

“I saw it and I thought, ‘I’m kind of curious’. I thought I could do that,” Shafer said.

She’s been quilting ever since.

Her quilts have won awards at the county fair and other contests in the past, but this is the first time she’s won best in show, she said.

In four years, she’s made more than 60 quilts, some of which she’s given as gifts or sold.

With two young children, it is sometimes hard to find the time to quilt, Shafer said.

She does most of her quilting after her 2-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son are asleep.

“I do a lot of it at night when they’re asleep. A lot of people tell me, ‘Oh you must never sleep,’ ” Shafer said with a laugh.

Shafer likes the challenge of quilting, she said.

“I like to challenge myself. I like to play with colors,” she said.

She likes colorful quilts with interesting patterns, but she doesn’t have a favorite, she said.

“I like them all. They’re like my children, you can’t choose a favorite,” she said.

Staff writer Amanda Stewart can be reached at (703) 878-8014.

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