Julia Evelsizer email@example.com, Apr 2, 2017
Link to original article on the Pantagraph website.
BLOOMINGTON — Anna Barnlund recently tucked her grandchildren into bed beneath a quilt stitched by their great-grandmother.
“Quilting is definitely a family thing,” said Barnlund of Hudson.
Barnlund; her niece, Maria Conrad of Hudson; and her grandchildren, Ashlynd Barnlund, 8, and Rowen Barnlund, 6, visited the Hands All Around Quilt Guild Quilt Spectrum event Saturday at the Parke Regency Hotel and Conference Center.
The Central Illinois quilt guild includes more than 450 quilters from the Bloomington-Normal area, Peoria and Springfield. Nearly 1,000 people visited the show Friday and Saturday to admire hundreds of quilts and purchase supplies from 17 vendor booths.
A large “I Spy” quilt drew the attention of Ashlynd and Rowen. Each square featured a spiderweb pattern made with scrap fabric. A few pieces included cartoon characters which the kids were quick to identify.
“Quilting is an artistic venture,” said Conrad. “Some people are artistic with paint, some with fabric. It was a dying art but it seems to be coming back with more modern patterns.”
Carolyn Gatenby, vendor chair and president-elect of the guild, said the goal of the event is to allow quilters a way to share their talents and attract new members.
“We don’t want this art form to go away,” said Gatenby.
She said the guild participates in many charity groups, donating quilts to the Kids Without Beds program, local hospitals, the Mennonite Relief Sale and cancer fundraisers.
“Quilting is a way to spread love,” said Ruth Taha, quilt show chair.
Besides hanging displays and vendors, the show also featured a bed turning display.
Before days of social media, women would come together for bed turning. Quilts would be layered on a bed and each woman would share a story about the quilt; how it was made, what fabric she used and any challenges that arose during its creation.
Robin Bagwell of Plainfield presented a stack of quilts to the crowd. The oldest included a pink and teal "double wedding ring” pattern quilted in 1940.
“Quilters love history and stories,” said Bagwell. “They like to see how techniques have evolved. Quilting is a way to preserve family stories and create new stories by making new quilts.”
Connie Guhlstorf of Normal was the featured quilt artist at the show
“Quilting is a good way to express yourself. It challenges you creatively; you have to work with math and a sewing machine,” said Guhlstorf. “It also connects new and old generations.”
Grace Sans, 14, of Bloomington practiced hand quilting at the show with her sisters Joy and Faith, both 13.
“My mom taught me how to sew and I wanted to learn how to quilt, too. Quilting is a really fun and pretty craft. It’s lots of fun to learn and I’m excited to be doing it,” said Grace.
Information about membership and classes through Hands All Around Quilt Guild can be found at haaqg.tripod.com.