Basketball reigns as the sport of choice at Talbert Recreation Center, but no balls will be bouncing against the hardwoods Oct. 10-11. Instead, 200 quilts will fill the gym.
The space is ideal for “Handmade in America,” the annual show of the Mooresville Centerpiece Quilters Guild. Judged quilts, special displays, demonstrations, a boutique, raffle quilt and vendors will replace competing teams.
With such varied categories, this exhibit appeals to quilters and nonquilters.
“We concentrate on the idea that quilts are fabric art, not just utilitarian items,” historian Amy Barnhardt said.
A special attraction Oct. 11 will be the appearance of Jane Hall of Raleigh, one of two certified quilt appraisers in North Carolina. During scheduled appointments, she will offer short verbal appraisals and complete written appraisals for a fee.
“For those who have beloved antique or wonderful contemporary quilts and wish to know their value, this is a unique opportunity,” Barnhardt said.
Judges Brenda Arrowood and Lorraine Covington will select best of show and runners-up. They’ll also choose their two personal favorites.
Barnhardt said these choices may not be the best in every category of construction and quilting, but something about each quilt appeals to the judges.
“They’re always quite different,” she added.
Like everyone else, quilters have unfinished projects, so the guild provided an opportunity for members to complete languishing wall hangings and quilts. These are displayed as UFOs – “unfinished objects.”
Another section will appeal to anyone who likes a good whodunit: The Mystery Quilt Challenge features a traditional carpenter’s wheel. Quilters received monthly instructions for creating blocks, but were kept in the dark about the overall design. Completed quilts reveal the interpretation of the same pattern with different kinds of fabric and color combinations.
Additional samples of the guild’s work will be shown in the Quilting Boutique. Quilted table linens, an assortment of large and small bags, kids’ activity travel bags, pin cushions and other items will be for sale.
One area of the boutique known as the Pop Art Crazy Patch will be filled with wall hangings made from donated upholstery and fabric samples.
A popular attraction will be the raffle drawing for the star variation quilt, a traditional pattern. Tulip vines and leaves are appliquéd around a border that frames blue, green and yellow blocks. Tickets will sell for $1.
Additional raffle tickets will be sold for baskets of quilting supplies.
The guild is a nonprofit organization. Proceeds from the show help support programs and endow its charitable groups.
The guild has donated hundreds of Cuddle Buddy bags to the Mooresville Police and Iredell County Sheriff’s departments. Officers give these to children in stressful situations.
Each bag contains a stuffed animal wrapped in a quilt.
“This gives a child something to hold onto and a good feeling about the police,” Barnhardt said.
During the past eight to 10 years, members have made Linus quilts. Kids from a local school draw nursery rhyme illustrations on muslin blocks. Quilters assemble them and students donate the finished quilts to Linus Quilts, a national project for children in need.
The Busy Bees sew baby quilts for the Special Needs Nursery at Lake Norman Regional Hospital. They have made dresses for kids in Haiti and quilts for preemies and bereaved parents.
In addition to the charitable displays, two quilting demonstrations will occur. One is scheduled for 2 p.m. Oct. 10 and another at 10 a.m. Oct. 11.
Barbara Howard, show chairman, will discuss “Aprons, Table Linens and Quilts: A History of a Woman’s Life” at 10 a.m. Oct. 10.
For the majority of people in early times, domestic items were plain.
“Women wore white aprons, table cloths were white. There were no fancy table linens. You didn’t get a lot of color except for the quilts on the bed,” Howard said.