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Artistic fabric put on display

Pieces from the Heart draws large crowd to Minooka quilt show

MINOOKA — Fabric can be art.  When colored pieces are arranged and sewn and shaped, dramatic artworks are created.

The Pieces from the Heart Morris Quilt Guild showed how artful and creative quilts and quilted décor are during its March 22 and 23 show at Chapin’s East in Minooka. About 1,000 people came to look at the quilts and got ideas and inspirations for their own projects.

Connie Franzen of Channahon looked at what she thought was a complicated quilt pattern. When she discussed it with vendor Susan May, from Fulton, Ill., Franzen discovered the pattern wasn’t as difficult as she thought. 

A bit relieved, Franzen said the process sometimes “takes something that looks scary and makes it easy.”

Lana Stafford of Minooka, a guild member, said the process involves “piecing” or sewing the different fabric shapes together, and then “quilting’” or sewing the pieced part to the fabric backing and padding to make a thick “quilted” blanket or hanging.  Most of the displayed projects were bedsized;  others were table runners or decorative wall hangings, while yet other quilting projects were accessories, such as purses or vests. 

“Some people like to finish by quilting their work; others send them out to have them finish quilted, whereas some like to do hand quilting,” Stafford said, but she agreed with other quilters that quilting by hand is not frequently done and that machine quilting lasts longer.

Stafford had one of the more unusual fabric quilts. Her quilted piece, which measured about 10-by-10, was used as the chupa in an interfaith marriage ceremony.

The chupa, which is the awning under which the bride and groom are married in Jewish wedding rituals, was made in pale chartreuse green and had embroidered panels illustrating of the newlyweds’ lives. For her work, Stafford won a first-place ribbon.

Sue Morse, who quilts at the Presbyterian Church in Morris, exclaimed over the color and styling of the a quilt titled “Twister.” She and her friends from the church said they analyzed the quilts and some of the designs were simply “mind-boggling.”

Carole Bolatto of Marseilles, the guild’s publicist, said event showcased over 100 quilts and included the guild’s “boutique” of gently used patterns items. Eight vendors sold everything from quilted items to the thread and needles that every quilter might need.

One eye-catching prize winner was by member Faye Goth, who made a Christmas tree skirt. The navy, medium-blue and white design shimmered with silver threads

Goth had written, “This quilt was made in four weeks so I could put it under the tree.”

Another striking quilt was entitled “Primitive Garden,” and was a garden patch of different simple  flower, vegetable and bird shapes. The sections were each outlined in darker fabric as if to mimic the sections of a garden.

Jo Snider did the work using only wool fabric. For some of her fabric, she shopped thrift shops for wool clothing, shrank the fabric and cut  the pieces to fit into her quilt.

For more about the Pieces of the Heart Guild, visit its open house from 1 to 4 p.m. April 20 at the First Midwest Bank in Morris. You can like the group on Facebook, too.

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