A Passion for Quilting — Part I Using scraps to create practical art binds those who quilt

"There's a lot of talent up thar in them hills."

Talent that is excitedly coming to light as The Berne Historical Society embarks on its very first Quilt Show. Berne is partnering with the Knox Historical Society and the Helderberg Quilt Barn Trail to spark two concurrent shows on Aug. 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This will be Knox's second time in the quilting arena.

In the Berne Museum, we have several quilts on display in the bedroom. We will be sharing part of the museum's quilt collection at the Aug. 3 show

One we are especially proud of is the Bicentennial Quilt. After exploring the quilting world for the past couple of months, I’ve leaned of the many hours involved in quilt-making. An appreciation for the talents involved have been newly hatched.

Quilting machines, quilting classes, quilt guilds.  Donations for door prizes, volunteer pie makers, raffle tickets. Renting quilt racks, finding a space to do the show, rounding up volunteers and keeping momentum flowing. Signs, flyers, registering quilts from our community of quilters. A lot of elements whirling in Quilt Show heaven.

Once you catch the quilting bug, look out. You'll be on the prowl for fabric scraps, shows to visit, and like-minded people to connect with. Much like connecting those blocks as your quilt comes alive.

Historically, quilting has been around for thousands of years.

I visited Knox resident Kristine Zimmer early in my search for quilt knowledge; her 14-foot quilting machine was a sight to see. Zimmer graciously demonstrated the use of the machine. She also shared tips on hanging quilts and displaying them for our show.

Having a casual conversation in the doctor's office, I saw the woman next to me was knitting. Asking her if she quilts, I started an animated conversation about the passion she has for the art. Her group, located in Bennington, Vermont, will be having its show in September.

Mentioning quilting in general elicited responses of who would be a good person to talk to. This one teaches quilting, that one quilts one weekend a year on a quilting retreat, and another one knows where quilt racks can be rented.

Amy Pokorny, another Knox dweller, created a design on the floor of her Octagon Barn along Beebe Road. She used to quilt in another life. With the help of a veteran quilter from Knox, Pokorny's floor design was created as a wooden quilt pattern on the bias.

When asked what she liked about quilting, her eyes lit up and she smiled broadly. "It's the endless possibilities of creating something out of a pile of scraps,” she said. “Using our available resources is what it's all about."

This turned out to be a recurring theme when asking quilters: “Why?” A sparkle in their eyes and telling smiles said it all: "It's a relaxing and creative outlet. There's a tightly sewn social aspect as well as new techniques to share at meetings. And, best of all, it's fun."

Stay tuned next week when  "A Passion for Quilting — Part II" will explore the Church Ladies of Knox.

Editor’s note: Sandra L. Kisselback is a member of The Berne Historical Society.