TSCPL event honors National Quilting Day

Kate Fechter

Quilts are utilitarian as well as artistic, but aren’t often displayed in galleries or other public venues.  So the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library remedied that.

On Saturday, March 19 in honor of National Quilting Day and Kansas’s 150 year of statehood the TSCPL had an event displaying many colorful quilts and talking about Kansas quilting history. Patti Poe, supervisor at the library and evening president of Kaw Valley Quilters, helped organize the event.

“We were brainstorming ideas for Kansas’s 150th birthday and decided on Kansas quilting history and National Quilting Day,” said Poe, who has been quilting for 33 years. “It’s always the third Saturday in March. This year is the 20th annual National Quilting Day.”

That morning Lawrence quilter and author Deb Rowden gave a presentation on 150 years of Kansas quilts and quilters. Rowden went decade by decade and used Powerpoint and slides to help illustrate.

Linda Frost, author of “Happy Birthday Kansas,” also spoke and had work on display. Most of the area’s quilting guilds were involved as well.

“Capital Quilters here in Topeka and the Kaw Valley Quilters Guild in Lawrence did all the demos and quilts on display,” said Poe. “The library has hundreds of quilting books. So we also promoted the collection.”

Bennett’s, a sewing supply store in Topeka, brought their long arm quilting machine for demonstrations as well.

Dorothy Stevenson and Rosie Mayhew, both of Topeka, explained many of the quilters are involved in more than one guild. In addition to Kaw Valley in Lawrence and Capital Quilters in Topeka, there is also Country Quilters in North Topeka.

“I’m a member of both guilds,” said Mayhew. “A lot of the members of the Topeka guild also go to the Kaw Valley meetings.”

Mayhew and Stevenson also commented on how much things have changed in the quilting arena from when they first started.

“I had little knowledge and not many books available,” said Stevenson. “The amount of fabric now was not available back then and was not the same quality. My first quilt is so bad, but I still have it.”

Poe still has her first quilt as well and even brought it to the event, along with some of her more current work.  The fabric and the relaxing qualities of quilting are Poe’s favorite things about quilting.

Mayhew and Stevenson talked about the creative aspects when asked what they loved about quilting.

“I love being creative and making something useful,” said Mayhew. “The designing of the quilt.”

Stevenson enjoys taking liberties with her patterns and the process involved.

“I enjoy the process of cutting it and piecing it together,” said Stevenson. “I take patterns and put it together in my own way.”

For more information on local quilting guilds check out the Kaw Valley Quilters at www.kawvalleyquiltersguild.org or Capital Quilters at www.kscapitalquilters.com. Also for upcoming events at the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library go to www.tscpl.org.