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Ah, What Stories the Fabrics Tell!

“Cleopatra’s Fan,” “Wild Blossoms,” “Paradise Crossroads,” and “Puppy Love” are just a few of the themes on display at the Annual Spring Quilt Show at the Visitor Center at Historic Fort Steuben that will run from April 7-21.


“Over thirty quilters from Ohio and West Virginia have submitted their creations for the exhibit,” explained Judy Bratten, Director of Historic Fort Steuben. “Over the years, we have seen an amazing variety of patterns and designs, each one unique. Many of them have stories attached!”


“We know that history can be found in letters, diaries, photographs, and artifacts. These quilts are also a source of knowledge about the times when they were created,” Bratten said. “From the designs, fabrics, and manner of quilting, we can learn about the everyday life of people in that time period. For example, during the Great Depression many quilts were make from feed sacks – quilters used whatever was available. Today there is an industry dedicated to producing fabrics and supplies just for quilters.”


The quilts in this year’s show reflect a variety of techniques as well as designs. Some are hand quilted and pieced while others are machine worked. Some include buttons and ribbons while others are made from tee shirts. Both men and women are participating in the show reminding visitors that quilting is a skill not limited to gender or age.


“For some people, quilting is a hobby as well as a way of artistic expression. But over the years, creating a quilt was a community project. Women would gather around the huge quilting frame and share their thoughts, troubles, and joys with each other as they stitched. That still happens today, more likely in a quilting class, but many work on the piecing on their own,” Bratten noted.


Visitors can vote for their favorite quilt at $1/vote. They can also purchase a $5 raffle ticket for a beautiful quilt made by local artist Helen Sweeney; the raffle will run until June 3rd.


The exhibit will be open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm and is free to the public. Historic Fort Steuben is located at 120 S. 3rd Street in Steubenville, Ohio. For more information call 740.283.1787.


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