‘Bits and Pieces’ Quilt Show

Jefferson County Homemakers
to host 15th annual quilt show

Display of local quilts
to raise money for area scholarships

By Lela Jane Bradshaw
Contributing Writer

Janet McMahan started quilting about 40 years ago, but she had given it up for almost 20 years. Then, the member of the Jefferson County Extension Homemakers found inspiration to return to her quilting needles: “I picked it up again when we had our first quilt show.”

Jefferson County Extension Homemakers

Photo provided

Jefferson County Extension
Homemakers Janet McMahan, Anna
Bella, and Alma Spillman show the quilt
that will be raffled at this year’s
Bits and Pieces Quilt Show.

Now McMahan, of Madison, finds herself working to inspire the love of quilting in others as she serves as co-chair with Hanover’s Alma Spillman for the 15th annual Bits and Pieces Quilt Show. Over those years she says of the show, “We have grown, each year is different.”
The Bits and Pieces Quilt Show will take place April 18-19 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, located on State Road 256 in Madison. The show will run from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day and is $2 for admission. The show typically draws about 200 people a year to view the 60 to 100 quilts that tend to be displayed.
Money raised from the show goes toward the three $300 scholarships awarded to Jefferson County high school seniors who plan to entire health or home economic related careers.
Quilters and quilt collectors are invited to bring their quilts to the fairgrounds on Friday, April 17, between 9 a.m. 1 p.m. to take part in the show. There is no charge to enter a quilt, and participants may bring as many as they would.
“It’s local, so we do have a lot of people who are local who like to participate,” says McMahan.
“People come from all around,” she continues, listing Salem, New Albany, and North Vernon as hometowns of showers and visitors. Showers may bring quilts they have made themselves, or ones that they have collected over the years and would like to share with the community. Quilts of all sizes, ages, patterns, and techniques are welcome to be shown.
Both McMahan and Spillman highlight the variety in the types of quilts presented at the show. “People will bring in all different kinds of quilts,” says McMahon, “There are new ones each year.” The Bits and Pieces Show offers the perfect venue for quilters of all levels of experience to present their work to the public. Spillman explains that the quilts represent crafters of “all degrees of knowledge.” Visitors can see everything from a sewer’s first quilt displaying an experimentation with techniques to masterful art quilts reflecting the quilter’s decades of practice. Unlike several shows that require the quilts to have been completed in the past year or so, Bits and Pieces encourages participants to bring in antique quilts and family heirlooms, as well as pieces recently completed. Visitors to the show will have the opportunity to vote for a Viewer’s Choice Award. The winners of these awards usually receive gift certificates to Madison quilt shops L&L Yard Goods and Margie’s Country Store.
Visitors to the show will also have a chance to add a quilt to their own decor through a raffle quilt completed by six members of the Jefferson County Extension Homemakers. This year’s raffle quilt is a full-sized bed quilt in the Coventry Cross pattern.
“We started it around the first of June, and finished in January,” McMahan explains of the work that went into the raffle quilt. The quilt top – the brightly patterned section of the quilt – was sewn together on a machine. The quilting stitches that hold the layers of the quilt together and add dimension and texture were done by hand.
For those interested in creating their own masterpiece, vendors will be on hand selling quilting supplies. This year’s vendors will include Sharon’s Quilt Shop and the Quilted Dragonfly. Aspiring or accomplished quilters are also invited to join in the Jefferson County Extension Homemakers quilting group that meets in Hanover. Anna Bella, who has been quilting for more than 50 years and worked on the raffle quilt, says the group offers “A learning experience every time I come. It’s just a really nice group of ladies.”

• For more information or to get involved in the Jefferson County Extension Homemakers quilting group, call (812) 265-8919.

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