Stories of the Stitch

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If these quilts could talk, they'd tell of their makers' inspirations and influences.



The weather was in full cooperation for the 2012 Stories of the Stitch quilt show on Sept. 15, save for an occasional gust of wind.
"I would much rather there be wind than rain," said event coordinator Laura Romanowski of the Arts Council of the Twin Counties. "When these quilts are blowing in the breeze, it's just gorgeous."
Stories of the Stitch, an arts council event, celebrated its eighth anniversary this year. Romanowski says that the show has been growing, especially over the past couple of years.
Vendors were added last year, she said, along with musical performances.
The Matthews Living History Farm Museum is the venue for the event. The quiet and peaceful atmosphere of the farm blends well with the relaxed atmosphere of the show, Romanowski said.
The quilt show was named "Stories of the Stitch" because it is strongly encouraged quilters to share the stories behind their creations, such as how they were made or where they were found. Several stories were printed out and attached to the quilts so the crowd could read them as they browsed along the rows.
“The boundaries of quilting are your imagination," said Romanowski.
She described several different types of quilting, such as  "round the world" quilts, which have even, concentric patterns; and "crazy quilts," which are more random and sometimes  "scrapped" out of different meaningful fabrics like old football jerseys and baby blankets.
One quilt in particular was displayed unfinished. Ella Jane Robinson explained that the quilt was made by her grandmother, who died in childbirth in 1914. "I think I'm going to leave it like it is," Robinson said, as the story was just as much in the blank spaces as those filled in.
The contests were judged in different categories, such as hand-made, appliqued, classic quilts, best story and people's choice. The judges considered details like the binding applied, stitches per inch, space between stitching, batting and corners. Judges were Kim Hill and Laura Bryant.
Ruthanne Sawyer designed and created the prize ribbon for the contest.
When Romanowski first joined the council, she admitted to feeling overwhelmed at her first quilt show, and says that Hill was a great help in getting her settled in a coordinating role. "When it comes to quilt shows, Kim is my safety blanket," she said.
Performing at this year's event were the Iron Mountain Ridge Runners. Due to the rain that delayed the event a week, Bill & Maggie Anderson were not available to perform as scheduled.
The American Red Cross catered the event and offered a healthy breakfast and lunch buffet. This was their second year participating.
Romanowski also credits Sandy Troth and David Hauslohner for their participation, and the Matthews Living History Farm Museum.  "Stories of the Stitch would not be possible without their invaluable work," she said.