Some of the best art comes from needle, thread and fabric. Prime example? The annual Quilt Challenge from the Shoals Piecemakers Quilt Guild. It’s on display now at Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts in Florence, Alabama, and it’s a definite must-see. Every year, guild members challenge themselves to create quilts using a different theme. This year’s is “My Quilting Inspiration.” Each quilt must portray the theme and use at least one traditional quilt block. Guild members choose best of show, best use of theme and other awards, but visitors to the exhibit choose the winner of the People’s Choice Award by voting for their favorite quilt. And it’s a tough choice this year. The walls of the Kennedy-Douglass gallery practically glow with these warm and intrically quilted pieces. Every year I’m amazed at the talent and skill of these quilters who create out of their imaginations and bits of cloth. How do they do that? I can barely figure out how to hem a pair of pants. And here’s the other thing. When you first meet some of these quilters, you might make the mistake of thinking they are your typical small-town, down-home, Southern moms and grandmas — and you would be wrong. These women are fierce and feisty artists who stitch their hopes and dreams and memories and stories into works the rest of us can only admire. We’re just lucky they’re willing to share with us. The exhibit is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays through Dec. 18. Admission is free. Call 256.760.6379 or visit http://www.kennedydouglasscenter.org/ for details. And while you’re in downtown Florence, don’t forget to wander around. Go visit the two lion mascots on the campus of the University of North Alabama. Grab some coffee, lunch and sweet treats at McGraw’s, Rivertown and Coffee-ol-ogy coffee shops. Dip bread in oil and herbs at Ricatoni’s or chips in salsa at Rosie’s. Have a Chicago-style hot dog or a thick and juicy steak. Shop for clothes, gifts, wine, furniture, jewelry and antiques. Meet artists and fashion designers. Check out Florence landmarks such as the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library and Pope’s Tavern Museum. Stroll down historic Wood Avenue and Walnut Street. And go see the quilts.