CARROLLTON, Ky. (November 2003) Jeannie Jacobs of Middletown,
Ky., said her fascination with quilting began in 1945 when her great-grandmother
gave her and her sister each a quilt top as a wedding present. Since
her great-grandmother had only pieced the tops, they remained unquilted
until 1978 when Jacobs asked herself, Whos going to quilt
these if I dont?
Many can relate to Jacobs story of having a grandmother who
quilted. But quilting is far from being a thing of the past. Many
people today are reviving this age-old art form.
Quilting has now become a pastime, an addictive hobby. Quilts are
often used today as decorative displays in homes, whereas they were
once only seen as items of necessity.
Due to an increased awareness of the social, cultural and historical
aspects of quilts, many quilting societies and groups have sprung
up in recent years, including those in Kentuckiana. Local quilt shows
are becoming more prevalent, as a means of showcasing the art of quilting,
and many counties agricultural extension offices have initiated
quilting groups as an activity that continues to grow.
Jacobs said quilting is popular because it focuses on family,
genealogy and heritage. Jacobs is president of the Middletown
Civic Club, which will sponsor its Quilt Show in June 2004. This event
is a cooperative effort between the Civic Club and the Historic Middletown
Museum that is expected to attract participants throughout the area.
The club is housed in the Middletown Inn, 11705 Main St., Middletown.
There is a $15 registration fee per quilt and two categories: new,
which includes 1961 to present; and vintage, pre-1960.
Although Jacobs doesnt quilt as much as she used to, there are
other Civic Club members who do, such as Marcella Baker. Bakers
mother taught her the craft and she has been quilting for the last
by Helen McKinney
Jacobs of Middletown, Ky.
She will participate in the 2004 Quilt Show and has stitched several
baby quilts, made quilts for family members and even sold a couple
of her creations. Baker said that she feels like she has really accomplished
something when she finishes a quilt. I have something to be
Quilt collecting is becoming almost as intense a hobby as the craft
of quilting itself. Eleanor Bingham Miller is one of the founders
of the Kentucky Quilt Project, organized in 1981 to survey and preserve
Quilts take on a life of their own, Miller said. They
have the ability to outlast their maker.
In addition to Miller, members of the Kentucky Quilt Project include
Bruce Mann, Eunice Sears, Dorothy West and Shelly Zegart. This organization
scheduled 13 Quilt Days in an attempt to gather fine and
unique examples of antique quilts. The makers and histories of these
quilts were also documented by the organization.
Miller referred to these Quilt Days as snapshots of the states
heritage. The result was the documentation of 1,200 quilts.
Records kept include 39 linear feet of material dating from 1980 to
1997, transparencies, slides, snapshots, Polaroid prints, correspondence
The Kentucky Quilt Project records were donated to the University
of Louisville Archives and Records Center, with processing of the
collection funded by Miller and her husband, Rowland. The Millers
have taken Kentucky quilts to New York City for the show, Heritage
of Genius-American Master Quilts.
Miller said that as a result of this project, Kentucky generated
48 other states to do the same.
by Don Ward
left, Leslie Sutherland, Shannon Taylor and Patricia Hersey
Another popular quilting group within the state is the Kentucky Cover
Lovers. Vice president and program chair Betsy Packard said that the
group is open to anyone with an interest in quilting, and we
have many beginners and many masters. Several members
of KCL have been grand champions at the Kentucky State Fair.
The group meets September through May and offers many educational
programs, including all-day seminars with guest instructors. A fall
2004 Quilt Show is in the works. The KCL is a guild member of the
Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society.
Based in Shelby County, Ky., KCL is supported by the Shelby County
Cooperative Extension Service. Membership is not limited to Shelby
Countians, said Packard. There are statewide quilting groups that
belong to the society.
This hobby has become so prevalent in Oldham County that the two groups
began through the Oldham County Cooperative Extension Service, the
Saturday Morning Quiltmakers and the Log Cabin Quilters, can no longer
accept members, said Cretia Crowe. Crowe, extension agent for Family
and Consumer Sciences, said she would be willing to start another
group if there is enough interest.
For the last 18 years, the Carroll County Library has sponsored an
October Quilt Show. Shannon Taylor coordinates this show, which lasts
through the month of October. She said there continues to be a local
interest in such shows, with many repeat entrants.
She said many local quilters were willing to share their quilts for
a month of which there are a large variety of patterns and colors.
As fall comes on, its a nice way to brighten up the library,
Taylor referred to library employee, Patricia Hersey, as their in-house
expert on quilts. Hersey leads a Monday evening quilting group
that meets once a month at the library. She said quilting is fun
and nurturing, for yourself and family.
Hersey said that while women no longer have to quilt, It connects
us to history. Nobody had to make them as beautiful as they did.
The hands that quilted vintage quilts were seeking to make their
environment beautiful, she said.
From time to time, Lois Hunt displays her mothers quilts in
this annual quilt show. Now deceased, Iva Morgan was a well-known
quilter in the Carrollton area. She made an abundance of quilts, which
she pieced and quilted by hand for her family and for other people.
by Don Ward
Doerr displays one of her quilts.
I treasure the ones she made, said Hunt. When we
were little, her quilting frames took up the whole room, she
remembered. Hunt always displays her mothers handiwork in her
Even though some have become raggedy and tattered, her mother cautioned
her years ago, Dont ever get rid of it. Hunts
mother knew what value quilt collectors would place on such items.
Vibrant colors are a part of what attracts Campbellsburg optometrist
Dr. Molly Doerr to quilting. I love every part of quilting,
she said. While Doerr enjoys cutting and piecing quilts, she said
color is the main thing.
Doerr was a participant in the October Quilt Show at the Carroll County
Public Library this year and in past years. On display was a baby
quilt she had stitched 20 years ago for her eldest daughter, Rebecca.
While awaiting the birth of her first child, Doerr said she took a
quilting class at a local quilt shop in Georgetown, Ky., where she
lived at the time. The groups goal was to produce a block a
month for their own projects. Doerr said she drew inspiration from
pages in coloring books and from existing patterns to embellish her
quilt because she wanted every block to be recognizable by a
Not knowing whether the child was to be a boy or a girl, she left
the last block blank. After Doerrs daughter was born, a block
with a Sunbonnet Sue pattern was added. To this block she added Rebeccas
name and birth date.
Rebecca, now in college, has taken a quilting class and pieced a quilt
herself. Her younger sister, Elizabeth, has also pieced a quilt at
age 14. Doerr hopes that these experiences will provide a foundation
for her daughters should they someday decide to continue quilting.
By learning this skill, Doerr hopes they will appreciate and respect
their mothers quilts and all of the loving stitches that went
into each one.
Quilting is almost like therapy; very peaceful and just very
restful, said Doerr. Since creating her first quilt, Doerr said
she gave up all other hobbies, such as crocheting. She was hooked
on this hobby because it is an art form, but also practical.
Doerr said there is nothing warmer than crawling under a quilt in
the winter time. Her attitude has changed somewhat from when she was
a child and would receive quilts at Christmas. I would get a
blanket instead of a toy, she said. Unimpressed then, she has
grown much more appreciative over the years.
For more information on the Middletown Inn Quilt Show, contact
Jacobs at (502) 244-3004.
Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society, President Carole W. Crabtree,
firstname.lastname@example.org, (859) 272-4253 or
Donna Duncan, (502) 845-7150
Oldham County Cooperative Extension Service, Cretia Crowe,
Trimble Thimbles, President Charlene Ellis, (502) 268-5145
Trimble County Cooperative Extension Service, Jane Proctor, (502)
Henry County Cooperative Extension Service, Maryellen Garrison,
Shelby County Cooperative Extension Service, Milestone Quilters,
Kentucky Cover Lovers, President Paula Mitchell, (502) 829-9332
Monday Evening Quilting Group, Carroll County Public Library,