'Stitches in Time' will showcase region's quilting talent at Beulah Presbyterian

Patrick Varine
| Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Quilt Company East Quilting Guild has a lot of grandmothers to thank.

Almost universally, members of the guild, which will host its bi-annual quilt show beginning Oct. 31, said their inspiration to begin quilting was a grandmother.

“My grandmother quilted, my mother made a mourning quilt after my dad died, and I've made baby quilts for six grandkids,” said Cindy Pucka, 56, of Plum.

Pucka has been quilting for more than three decades. She specializes in wall hangings, and has made several for patients at the nursing home where she works.

“I just really enjoy it,” she said.

The public will get a chance to enjoy it as well when the show kicks off. It is non-juried and will feature items made exclusively by members of the guild, founded in 1987. The show will include vendors, raffle baskets, Chinese auction items, food sales, baked goods and more.

‘I needed something to do'

Cheryl Barr, 68, of Murrysville, was at home with her third child, and after about two weeks she was looking for a hobby.

“I started (learning) at a ‘Mother's Day Out' event in Oakmont about 30 years ago, and I've been doing it ever since,” she said.

Barr enjoys the portability of quilting.

“Quilting allows you to take the project with you, if you're doing appliqué,” she said. For Rebecca Stahl, 60, of Pittsburgh, sewing has been a lifelong habit.

“It's addicting,” she said. “I love all the beautiful colors. It always amazes me that, even when I'm looking at the exact same quilt design, it is just so different once everyone picks their own colors. They're all ‘the same,' but they're completely different.”

At the show, Stahl will showcase a wedding quilt she made for her son.

The quilt uses his favorite colors, black and red, and Stahl was able to find a line of fabric that includes pink, for his son's wife.

Stahl also created the quilt being raffled at the show, a 96- by 100-inch “Barn Raising” quilt created with 100 different fabrics from the Civil War Collection. It has 224 blocks, 3,300 total pieces and is valued at $2,980.

Trained in textiles

And how was the raffle quilt's value determined? Attendees will be to find out through one of the show's more unique aspects: the chance to have quilts professionally appraised.

Jan Rodgers has a master's degree in textile documentation from the University of Nebraska, and will be available by appointment to appraise, date and discuss quilts.

“It's an arcane science, but there actually is a lot of information,” Rodgers said.

So what is the most important consideration in pegging value to a quilt? Condition, materials used, workmanship and construction method, Rodgers said.

Because there are a number of defined, recognizable styles used to create quilts beginning in the 1800s, Rodgers said it is fairly easy to give a roughly 20-year range in which a quilt was made.

To fix a value, Rodgers consults a database of comparable quilts she's seen over the years. She also consults dealers and what's selling on the market.

Appraisal appointments are $40, and can be made in advance by calling Rodgers at 412-657-3231.

The Quilt Company East bi-annual show, “Stitches in Time,” will take place Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Nov. 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Beulah Presbyterian Church, located at 2500 McCrady Road in Churchill. Admission is $7.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

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