By Joanne E. McFadden/For The Daily Gazette
If the words “quilt show” make you think of grandma’s log cabin or nine-patch quilts, think again. Next weekend, Capital Region residents will have an opportunity to be inspired by the diverse creativity and craftsmanship of their friends and neighbors at Q.U.I.L.T. Schenectady’s 14th Biennial Quilt Show, “Autumn Inspirations.”
Seventy-five of the members of the 32-year-old guild Quilters United In Learning Together, Schenectady, will have 228 quilts on display, ranging in size from small wall hangings to full-size quilts. “I think of going to a quilt show as more like going to an art museum,” said Niskayuna resident Kathie Lutz, the show’s co-chair. “There’ll be anything from a traditional quilt to some really amazing artwork.”
The quilts on display in the GE Theatre represent a variety of colors, patterns, styles and quilting techniques in various groupings. One section displays the guild’s “challenge” quilts, illustrating various quilting projects the guild presented to its members. For example, one challenge was to craft a quilt that represents “Celebrating Living in the Capital Region.” Another was “Slash Your Stash,” that gave members the challenge of creating quilts using only fabrics that they had on hand at home. The “Calendar Page” challenge asked members to create a quilt from a pattern included in a daily quilt calendar. In another challenge, members made a quilt block that reflected the theme of “autumn.”
The quilts display includes the work of some regional and national award-winning quilters. At this show, members can elect to have their entries evaluated by a panel of two professional quilt judges. Show visitors will also have an opportunity to cast a vote for their favorite quilt.
Lutz has entered a wedding quilt that she designed herself and hand-quilted, a technique that less than 10 percent of guild members use these days, preferring to quilt by machine.
A new award this year, noted show chair Cara Molyneaux of Schenectady, is the Proctors Award, which will be the quilt Proctors CEO Philip Morris chooses as his favorite.
The show brings together philanthropy and artistry. Q.U.I.LT. Schenectady, long known for its community service, sews quilts for two local organizations, Northern Rivers Family Services and the Stratton VA Medical Center. Show attendees will be able to see displays of a small selection of the nearly 2,000 children’s and 300 veterans’ quilts that members have sewn for donation. Some of the show’s proceeds support the guild’s service work. The guild has donated nearly 2,000 quilts to children and 300 to veterans.
This show’s featured quilter is Niskayuna resident Kathryn Rippeteau Greenwold, known in the area as a quilting instructor, appraiser and artist. Greenwold chose 47 works, ranging from small art quilts and framed pieces up through bed-size quilts that she made over the past 25 years her family has lived in Schenectady. Her “Celebrating Living in the Capital Region” entry is a small art quilt that depicts the GE logo lights at the main plant. “Our two girls grew up here,” Greenwold said. “When we were returning home from traveling, they would see the GE light and know we were home.”
She used a quilting technique developed by Japanese quilter Norito Endo that involves cutting up scraps of fabric into tiny pieces with a rotary cutter, covering them with tulle and quilting over the top. She also embellished the “GE” letters with beads. Another quilt was one that she hand-pieced while watching her children play in the park. One quilt features fabric hand-dyed by a guild member who will be one of the vendors at the show.
Also on display will be some of the quilts featured in Greenwold’s just-released book, “Amish Shadows. Light Reflected, A Modern Look at a Traditional Design,” co-authored with Lynn Makrin.
“I have always loved Amish quilts,” Greenwold said, noting that they are traditionally a black background with light colors. She purchased one made in upstate New York in the 1960s or ’70s, and about seven years ago, this quilt provided her with the inspiration to create new patterns.
She began playing with the traditional block, turning it and joining it in various ways with different patterns. This eventually resulted in her book, which she will be signing during the show. Guild members helped her with the book by testing out the patterns and giving her feedback.
In addition to the quilt display, 15 vendors from the Capital Region as well as other parts of New York and Massachusetts will be on hand with fabric and quilting tools and supplies. Guild members also donated items that will be available for sale in a boutique.
“People will be lined up at the door to get in,” Lutz said. “It’s a lot of fabric, pattern and tools at garage sale prices.”
Other happenings include a quilt tying demonstration, door prizes, and the raffling off of a quilt called “Autumn Pinwheels,” made by guild members.
The guild’s membership is composed of novice to advanced quilters who meet the first Thursday of each month at the 1st Reformed Church in Scotia.
Autumn Inspirations 2014
WHERE: Proctors GE Theatre, 432 State St., Schenectady
WHEN: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19
HOW MUCH: $7 (allows access in and out both days); tickets sold through Q.U.I.L.T. Schenectady members and at the door.
This story originally appeared in The Daily Gazette.