Stories, love for quilting shared

Joan Douglas’ “crazy quilt” was made by either her grandmother or great aunt more than 80 years ago. The inspiration for Sally Raino’s quilt was borne from a picture her son drew at school. And one of Mary Rooker’s quilts was made for a family reunion.

“Every quilt is different and every quilt has a story,” said Jean Mead.

Nearly two dozen quilters and rug hookers from Whitehall and beyond shared their stories, some by spoken word and others through a patchwork of cotton and wool, during last weekend’s Whitehall Quilt Show.

Some had come to display their products, others came to gaze in wonder and still others come looking for answers.

Jean Griffin was one of the latter. She hadn’t brought a quilt she spent hours meticulously stitching together; instead she brought something far more valuable. She had with her a family heirloom, a quilt passed down through the generations. But there was one lingering question: Just how old was the quilt?

So Griffin, a Whitehall resident, made the short drive to the high school to have the quilt appraised by Kathryn Greenwold, a certified quilt appraiser from Niskayuna. By looking at the characteristics of the quilt — materials, stitches, craftsmanship — Greenwold can determine the approximate age of a quilt.

And after spending a few moments inspecting Griffin’s quilt, she concluded the quilt was most likely made in the 1880s.

“That history is very valuable to me,” Griffin said.

The Whitehall Quilt Show is typically held every two years and is hung by Landmark Stitches, a group Carol Greenough describes as “friends who have been quilting for years,” and is meant to be a celebration of the craft and art of quilting and rug hooking.

The Whitehall High School gymnasium was transformed into a colorful tapestry of fabric. Three makeshift aisles were erected, running the length of the gym. Quilts hung from racks made by Jim Beckwith and from wood donated by Harold Book. Those that wouldn’t fit hung from bleachers on the west end of the gym. At either end were vendors offering a veritable treasure trove of quilting products: rolls of fabric, how-to books, design templates, thread and high-tech sewing machines worth more than some used cars.

There were quilts that would drape over the edge of the largest beds and others that were never meant to be on a bed at all. There were quilts with intricate designs and whimsical scenes; quilts that had family portraits woven into the fabric; quilts that were hand stitched, and others that were sewn together with something called a “long arm quilting machine.” In all there were 42 quilts and 26 wall hangings. And Sue Lawler, from Manchester, VT., brought 29 hooked rugs as well, including one of a chicken that was wrapped around a wire basket so it was three-dimensional.

There was a fashion show by Eleanor Levie, an author of needlework and craft books, and Shannon Duell from Adirondack Quilts demonstrated the use of digital quilting machines that give users the ability to precisely set the number of stitches per inch. Members of the Whitehall High School cheerleading squad served patrons snacks and refreshments.

Mead, a quilter, and Lawler, a rug hooker, said they hope events like this will help encourage younger generations to become involved in the craft. With proper training, it doesn’t take long to learn, they said.

“We got to keep it alive. Once it (quilting) gets you, it’s got you,” Mead said.

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Times in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Weekender – 08/28/15

Lakes Classifieds – 08/28/15

Lakes Region Freepress – 08/28/15

Northshire Freepress – 08/28/15

Classifieds 08/27/15

Washington County Fair in full swing

407624_345593242132090_322483287_n

By Linda Ellingsworth There’s still plenty of time to experience the excitement of the Washington County Fair. A celebration of […]

Coin drops hurt by bridge work

Bridge

By Dan King Those who volunteer their time to serve the people of Whitehall say their coin drop operations have […]

Working together: town, village fixing waterline

DSC_1921

By Dan King For the past week and a half the town and village of Whitehall have been working together […]

Washington County Board opposes Common Core

Schulz 2

By Dan King The third time was indeed a charm for Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff and activist Bob Schulz. Haff […]

Townwide sale next weekend

Lawn sale 006

By Dan King Bargain seekers will converge on Whitehall Labor Day Weekend, as they seek the best deals around. The […]

Three vying for public safety position

By Christina Scanlon Washington County supervisors have narrowed the field to three candidates for county public safety director and will […]

Recycled teens applauded

By Christina Scanlon Nine honorary members of the Mettowee Valley Senior Citizens were honored last week at a luncheon filled […]