Quilters’ handiwork on display

Published 8:52 pm Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More than 100 quilts are on display at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama this month.

“Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do or do without.”

That pioneer philosophy is on display 100 times and more as the Pioneer Museum of Alabama opens the 2011 Pioneer Museum Quilt Show, which will run through March 31.

“Back in pioneers days, quilts were one of the most necessary household items,” said Jerry Peak, museum director. “Every house had a large supply of quilts and they were all handmade and the batting or wadding was most often made from cotton that was picked from the fields.”

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Peak said that quilts had many purposes, the main one as covering for the beds. But quilts were also used as pallets for babies and small children while the parents worked in the fields or tended the garden or during daylong meetinghouse services. Quilts were also used to cover windows and door to keep the cold out and as burial wraps, thus the old saying that quilts had uses “from the cradle to the grave.”

“We have quilts of every kind in the Quilt Show this year,” said Shanny Sansom, a member of the Pioneer Quilters. “Some of the quilts are heirloom quilts and others are brand new but they all are beautifully done and each one has a story.”

The Pioneer Museum Quilt Show was scheduled to open on Tuesday and more than 100 quilts were tagged and on display. However, a large number of quilts were registered on Tuesday and Wednesday and several more are expected in the next few days.

“We will continue to take quilts until the end of next week,” Peak said. “There’s a lot of interest in the quilt show and we want to accommodate as many people as we can. The more quilts, the better the show.”

One quilt that was brought in on Wednesday was a “Presidential” quilt and had likenesses of all the United States presidents through George W. Bush embroidered on it.

Sansom said the variety of quilt patterns and styles makes the show interesting and appealing to all ages.

“The show has some very interesting quilts,” she said.

“One that came in Wednesday was a cathedral quilt and the needlework is incredible. The individual ‘cathedral’ squares were sewn together and into a quilt. It is a work of art.”

Many of the quilt patterns are traditional, such as Grandma’s Flower Garden and the Log Cabin. But some of the patterns are modern designs and take-offs on the crazy quilt.

“We have a variety of crazy quilts and we also have heirloom quilts that feature everything from string quilts to a replica of a Confederate quilt.

In addition to the 100 and more quilts on display, the Quilt Show also features weavings, one of which dates back to the mid- to late-1700s.

“The 2011 Quilt Show at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama is an outstanding one,” Sansom said.

“Each quilt is tagged with the name of the person who made it or the owner. Some of the quilts have anecdotes attached. Members of the museum staff and our Pioneer Quilters will be around to answer questions about the quilts. Everyone is invited to visit the Quilt Show from now until March 31.”

Admission to the museum is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for students and includes the museum tour and the Quilt Show.

The Pioneer Museum of Alabama is located on U.S. Highway 231 north of Troy.