Library in Natrona Heights calls for quilt entries for show

| Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, 8:41 p.m.

Although it might seem unlikely, the entries in the annual quilt show at the Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Harrison, share something in common with snowflakes: No two are exactly alike.

The quilt show and its unique entries feature a variety of colors, styles and motifs that display the talent of local quilters, says Caitlin Bauer, the library's adult-programming specialist.

“It also brings some color and warmth into the library during winter,” she says. “Dozens of beautiful handmade quilts are hung from the library's rafters.”

Those quilts will be on display at the library from Jan. 14 through Feb. 16. Visitors will be able to vote for their favorites in numerous categories.

Now is the time to contribute entries to the show.

Limited to two per person, quilts must be handmade and can be entered into one of three categories — hand-quilted, machine-quilted or wall hanging. There is no fee to enter.

Entries are not limited to the person who made the items. In the past, heirlooms and gifts have been entered, as well. Along with the entry, those participating are asked to share information about it, such as the year it was made, if that is known.

“I am looking forward to learning the stories that come along with each quilt, old and new, and sharing those stories with those who come to view the show,” Bauer says.

Entrants feel the same, according to library director Kathy Firestone.

“They get a lot of pleasure making them, or even having them in their possession,” she says. “A lot of people haven't made them; they were in the family, and those quilts have brought them pleasure. And, it would be great if they wanted to share that pleasure with the public, with the people who want to see them.”

Handmade quilts can be entered into the show during regular library hours starting Wednesday. Entries will be accepted until Jan. 11.

In its 15th year, the show was started with the intent of bringing color and cheer to cold, gray winter days.

“It really makes the library room feel so warm and cozy,” Firestone says.

“We always look forward to this. It definitely makes a difference. It brightens up the room.”

With the quilts hanging in the main area of the library, Bauer says, anyone visiting can get the full effect of the display.

“I think community response is usually very enthusiastic,” she says.

“Quilters have a chance to display their work, and others are able to appreciate them.”

Even the library's layout, particularly the rafters, lends itself to the show, according to Bauer. The rafters create the perfect place for the display of what, last year, included more than 30 quilts.

Among those with quilts, there is usually a lot of interest in participating, Firestone says.

“We usually don't have any trouble with that, because they enjoy having them on display,” she says, adding that, in the past, the library staff has had to turn away quilts because there were so many entries.

And, no matter how many entries the library ends up with this year, one thing is for certain. Under scrutiny, their beauty and uniqueness are evident, and sure to warm the heart.

“Quilts are works of art,” Bauer says. “Quilts have stories to share, if you look closely enough.”

Julie Martin is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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