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Quilts: Visual Connections to the Past

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by Mary Fox

Quilting is an art form enjoyed by women for hundreds of years. On Sunday, July 20 at St John’s  Episcopal Church, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., you will be able to see quilts handed down from generation to generation as well as purchase new quilted items made by local artists. Barb Phelan, a local quilt maker, will be outside the church giving an interactive demonstration of how quilts are made today.

“If you can sew, you can make a quilt,” she said.

The quilts will be displayed across the pews of the 177- year-old St. John’s Church, the perfect setting for a walk back in time. There is no charge to go in and experience an American folk art that has survived the years, to enjoy the colors and workmanship of the quilts on display, and imagine the ladies who in the long ago laboriously stitched them by hand.

There are many aids, the sewing machine being the most important, to making quilts today that make it much easier than the hand stitching done by our grandmothers. Women sewed the family’s clothing by hand, saving the scraps of material to use in making quilts.

While a labor of necessity, women were creative in the patterns, colors and stitches used in their quilts. Quilting was also a social event when women could gather to visit while they stitched.

If you have a favorite old or new handmade quilt you would like to show, there is still time to take it to Amy Ewel at the Quilt Shop behind St. John’s or to St. John’s on Sunday morning.

Whether you are a quilter or not, you will appreciate the art and love put into each handmade piece, beautiful visual connections with the past to be used, loved and passed down.

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