Bits & Pieces Quilt Show

Jefferson County homemakers to present 21st annual quilt show

Quilter Bell to display her talent at upcoming show

(April 2016) – Twelve years ago, Anna Bell was looking for someone with whom she could make quilts. She met Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Homemaker member Alma Spillman, who solved her problem.
Spillman told her how to get involved with the group, and Bell had no trouble in finding quilting partners who shared her love of sewing and quilting.
Bell, 82, is originally from Marble Hill, Ind. Since the tender age of 4 or 5, she has been involved some way in quilting.
The ladies from Elizabeth Church would get together every year and make a quilt to raffle off, said Bell. Her job was to “thread empty needles and pick up threads from the floor” to keep the process moving along.
“I would stick the threaded needles on the end of the quilting frame,” she said. In exchange, they gave her their scrap pieces of material.

Photo by Patti Watson

Posing with a quilt patchwork made by the Jefferson County Homemakers Guild are (from left) Linda Phillips, Patty Speer and Franny Phillips. The ladies were at Madison Kroger store to sell raffle tickets at $1 each for the quilt. The drawing will be held April 16.

“I learned by their mistakes,” she said. If the ladies had a quilt square that was not the perfect fit, they would throw it away or she would salvage it to experiment with. In this way, she perfected her stitches by trial and error.
Bell’s handiwork will be part of 50 to 100 quilts on display for the 21st annual Bits & Pieces Quilt Show, scheduled for April 15-16 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds 4-H Building, located on State Road 256 in Madison, Ind. Admission is $5, and the show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.
She will have two quilts in the show. One will incorporate a pink embroidered block and a second quilt will be stitched in a Pinwheel pattern for a double-sized bed.
Traditionally, show hours have been held on Saturday and Sunday, but they were changed to Friday and Saturday this year in an effort to attract more public visitors, said Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Homemaker member Marie Black. The Bits & Pieces Quilt Show is sponsored by the Extension Office.
Bell made her first doll quilt by age 6 or 7. It was a Nine Patch. “Everybody started with doll quilts first.” Luckily for her dolls, and everyone around her, Bell has kept quilting over the years.
She even belonged to a quilting group while working full time at King’s Daughters’ Hospital, long before she joined the homemakers group. “Every group I’ve been with, I’ve learned something from.”
Bell said that once she finishes a quilt, “I like the colors, the feel of the fabric, and I like to see that the stitches are nice and even.”
Using proceeds from the sale of raffle tickets, three scholarships worth at least $300 are awarded to local high school seniors, Black said. Recipients include students from Madison Consolidated, Shawe Memorial and Southwestern high schools. Ticket prices are $1 or six for $5.
The quilt to be raffled is a queen-sized quilt that has been machine pieced and hand-quilted, said Janet McMahan, quilt show chairperson. Made using the Great Frame Up pattern, the quilt squares were made from “all batik fabrics. There is a lot of color in it.”
Black said, “The same group always quilts it.” Homemakers meet twice a month to work on it.
When beginning the quilt to be raffled, the group first decides on a quilt pattern. Next, they appoint a committee to buy fabric for the quilt, letting a local fabric shop owner guide them regarding fabric choices so they can stay up to date with popular colors.
“All people who visit have the opportunity to vote on their favorite quilt for the Favorite Quilt award,” said Black. Awards are provided by L&L Yard Goods and Margie’s Country Store in Madison.
The variety of quilt types on display is limitless. They can be antique, new, machine or hand-stitched, wearable art or family favorites. One year the show contained an heirloom Civil War quilt.
As an added bonus, McMahan said she hopes several quilting vendors will be on hand. Some of the quilters have donated items to sell at a booth, such as scrap material, quilting accessories, etc.
The show has been a successful one for the homemakers due to their “hard work and perseverance,” said McMahan. In the past, the show has displayed as many as 80 quilts and as few as 60 quilts. This quilt show is also an effort for homemakers to attract younger members to the group.
Black referred to Bell as “one of the best quilters in our area. She’s been quilting all of her life. She gives so much of herself to hand quilting.”
She continued, saying that most of the members are getting elderly. “We have three that are in their 80s. Anna is one of the ladies to be admired.”

• For more information on the quilt show, please contact the Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Office at (812) 265-8919.

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