WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP | Don’t let the kids near grandma’s quilt when they’re playing with shaving cream and finger paints.
This may have been the warning in years past, but some of today’s quilt makers are welcoming both substances to create a new art form.
Kathy Garzella, of the String-A-Long Quilt Guild, demonstrated the use of finger paints and shaving cream in creating art quilts, at the guild’s 15th biennial show at the Porter County Expo Center on Saturday.
More than 250 quilts stitched by guild members adorned the walls of the Expo Center, while shoppers picked up treasures at a quilting flea market and new fabric, thread, and quilting supplies, and handcrafted jewelry and purses at the show’s vendor mall.
“We want to bring the culture of quilting to our community and let people view the various textiles,” said guild president Darlene McDonald.
Proceeds of this year’s show, which McDonald hopes will top $2,500, will go to the Porter County Animal Shelter.
The shelter and other rescues are the benefactors of the guild’s newest endeavor on display, the Pet Pillow Project.
Guild members donated fabric and batting scraps from their quilting projects, which McDonald stuffed into all sizes of newly-sewn beds and pillows for needy cats and dogs.
“This is my pet project,” McDonald said of the nearly 90 pet beds she created. “We are totally recycling everything we use. We have a lot of caring member who want to see their scraps, which would otherwise be thrown away, go to good use.”
Also displayed were a few of the 300 quilts the guild will donate to Family and Youth Services Bureau in its Comfort Quilt for Kids program, and the show featured patriotic-themed quilts for the Quilts of Valor Foundation, a national organization that provides quilts to veterans.
McDonald said Quilts of Valor is “in desperate need” of quilt donations, as the group’s request for quilts outnumber those available.
“Vietnam vets are most moved by these quilts because they weren’t welcomed home,” said Di Richards, state coordinator for Quilt of Valor.
The guild, which has nearly 100 members, also curates the Porter County Museum’s antique quilts, which entails special vacuuming and storage, said McDonald. The show also displayed a wool quilt made by Jacque Eriks, of Valparaiso, which won a National Quilting Association Award of Merit and will be featured in the organization’s magazine.
“In our world, this is a big deal,” said McDonald, who lauded the accomplishments of the members.
Long-time guild member and “crazy quilt” maker Heather Bessler displayed her hand-stitched, colorful quilts whose patches are not perfectly square or rectangular.
“It’s ‘crazy’ because the patches are cut at all sorts of angles,” said Bessler, of Valparaiso. “You’d have to be crazy to do that.”
The String-A-Long Quilt Guild quilt show continues Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.