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Children’s Quilt Show Is Coming to J-Town In July

A unique quilt show will be held in Jeffersontown this summer.

The special surprise is that all of the exhibitors will be younger than 18 years old. These youngsters, both girls and boys, will show a quilt that they have made. The rules are very simple – the quilt must be finished.  That’s it. Every child is welcome to show her quilt (or two) and may have all the help she needs to learn how to make it.  

The style, color scheme, size, shape and every other feature is open for the sewist to decide. He might follow a published quilt pattern or she might make it up as she sews. It might be scrappy multicolored or made with new material. It can be big or small, quilted or tied, square or any other geometric shape.

Quilting is one of the most basic of arts with humble beginnings lost in time. Ancients used quilting as a way to create warm garments and bedding by layering many pieces of fabric and holding them together by running thread through the layers. It was not decorative nor beautiful but it was warm. Quilted garments also served as very early ‘bulletproof vests’ and padding for armor. 

The term ‘quilting’ refers to the sewing together of the layers – a top, a back and a layer in between. Today,  the term ‘to quilt’ is used to include any part of the process including sewing pieces of fabric to create the pattern on the top as well as sewing the layers together.

Decoration is a basic need for humans and so decoration began to be used very early on. Sewing the quilting with a contrasting color made a simple but attractive addition. If the fabric was gray then the sewist might have chosen to use thread she had dyed with green plants. Decoration became more and more elaborate until, in the present day, decoration is the main feature of a quilt.

Quilts are increasingly being recognized as an art form. They are made strictly to be hung as art and can command prices into the many thousands of dollars, but quilting is still not on a par with painting and drawing as to value. Perhaps that will come as the younger generations find there is less need for handmade warm covers and the artistic joy increases. The artistic palate is fabric and thread and they are available now in unlimited style, color, texture and size. Sewing machines are cheap and available so most anyone can afford one. 

Children have always been involved in the quilting process. At the early American quilting bees, the children of the home were given the task of threading needles to be ready for the quilters so they didn’t have to interrupt their work for more thread. The children were taught how to sew pieces of fabric into designs and to follow verbal instruction. Very seldom was there a fully written pattern, although quilters did share drawings of shapes to be used as templates.  As the girls’ skills increased they made more of the household bed quilts or stocked their hope chests for the future. 

In most of the colder parts of the country, having many quilts was vital for survival. In affluent homes, the beds that children slept in were hung with drapes to block the winter cold and then several quilts were piled on the bed. These quilts usually had only a thin layer of fabric in the middle, so several were needed to create the warmth. On the frontier, children usually slept together in one bed with quilts piled on top. The children would huddle together to share body heat and the quilts held in the warmth. Another advantage of the children sleeping in one bed was space. Only one bed to take up room in a very small cabin was a space saver.

Today, making a quilt is a great way to learn to sew. The seams are usually straight and short, the work is satisfying and the children feel a great deal of pride in their accomplishment. There are other lessons to be learned as they sew, math, handling an iron safely, geometry and color sense to name a few. 

  • The math lessons are painless as they begin to see the use for the Times Tables and fractions. Reading a ruler is now a useful skill, cutting shapes the right size and learning what ‘square’ means are lifetime skills.  
  • Using an iron is a very necessary part of quilting. If the youngster presses each seam as it is sewn the individual pieces fit together more accurately. A hot iron can be dangerous and should be used with respect, but it should be used in quilting.  
  • Quilting is all about Geometry. Squares, rectangles, triangles are basic shapes for quilt designs. Other shapes like circles, stars, lines and points just broaden the possibilities. Here, school classes come to life.
  • In a time when art classes in school are considered to be ‘fluff’, quilting introduces the color wheel, shades, contrast like light, medium and dark and how one color can influence another.

Pride in a job well done is also important to a child’s preparation for the adult world and a chance to show her work to any who will come to see it is vital. The Childrens’ Quilt Show is designed to do just that. Each exhibitor will receive a ribbon of participation.

The show, sponsored by The Louisville Nimble Thimbles Quilt Guild of Jeffersontown and by The Needle Arts Center, will be held on Sunday July 29, 2018 from 1:00 to 6:00 pm at the McMahan Fire Department 4318 Taylorsville Rd. There is no entry fee and guests may see the show for free. Refreshments will be served.

How can your boy or girl participate? Complete the registration form below and mail to the address on the form. Please register as early as possible to help the committee with their planning. You can register first and then make your quilt. Deadline for the quilts to be delivered to the fire department is Sunday, July 22.

For more information and to obtain a registration form, call Marilou Jacob 502-291-5731 or email 3524mwj@gmail.com.

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