Area quilters raise money for New Albin Public Library

Mary Kay Winke of Waukon gave presentations during the New Albin Quilt Show on her collection of doll beds, cradles and the quilts she’s made for them. Photo by Jan Lee Buxengard.

Members of the Loose Threads quilting group in New Albin displayed the results of their Color Crayon Challenge during the New Albin Quilt Show. Photo by Jan Lee Buxengard.

by Jan Lee Buxengard
freelance writer

The Pieces in Time Quilt Show at the Community Center in New Albin included an array of color, design and meticulous handiwork of area quilters. Held during the weekend of October 9-11, the event was sponsored by the New Albin Public Library to support the needs of the library. The quilt show takes place in alternate years with the Northeast Iowa Quilters show in Decorah.
Over the three-day event, the show drew an attendance of 275 visitors to enjoy the display of over 250 quilts, as well as 25 items in the antique room, all brought in by quilters and residents in the expanded tri-state area around New Albin.
“This year we raised $2,100 for the library, which will be used for computer expenses and maintenance and miscellaneous needs,” reported Lisa Fruechte, co-organizer of the event with Karen Darling.
The first quilt show was held in the spring of 2006, and then 2007 in the fall, the organizers reported. Since then, the show has been held every two years. This year was the sixth show.
The first benefit raised funds to support the Rushford Community Library with its recovery from flood damage.
Over the alternate years that followed, the quilt show has raised well over $6,000 for the New Albin Public Library, with the funds being used to fix computers, purchase magazines and books, get the library automated, and for community education programs.
“We were both very pleased with the variety of quilts and the support from all the communities,” the organizers said following the show. And people also commented they will be ready for the show again in two years.
Color Crayon Challenge
This year’s feature was a challenge project by the Loose Threads quilting group of New Albin. “Thirty of us made Crayon blocks, but not all did the challenge piece,” Darling explained. “We took a box of 64 Crayons and removed the primary colors and some others. We took the remaining crayons, and placed each crayon in an envelope and sealed it. We each selected an envelope, and used that color to make our project. It was a load of fun to find fabric in the color. I took my color crayon everywhere I went to look for fabric. Some color names included names like watermelon, nutmeg, etc.”

Mary Kay Winke, who is a member of the Loose Threads quilt group, gave a presentation Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The Waukon woman collects doll beds and cradles and shared the history of fabrics and doll quilts.
“By 2008 I had enough doll beds that I wanted to make a quilt for each of them. Now I have 20 beds and 70 quilts,” she reported.
Among her collection are two folding beds from the turn of the century, a 1950 metal cradle, and another cradle that is fairly new. She also has her own doll buggy and high chair dating to about 1958. One bed is her daughter’s, and the pink one is a Barbie bed.
“I have what I call my studio, which is an old hog house that my husband fixed  up for a shop for himself, and I have an empty corner in it,” she said.
“For the doll quilts, my goal was to use scraps or old left over blocks. Very few I had to buy fabric for. The newest fabric in the quilt is what you date the quilt with. Some quilts have old fabric, but when finished with new fabrics, the quilt gets dated with the latest year,” she said.
For each quilt, she writes notations such as kind of batting, etc. She stores the quilts in an old trunk so the sunlight doesn’t fade and deteriorate the fabrics.
“I have given doll quilts to nieces, but I do not sell them,” she noted, adding, “I don’t do quilts for miniature beds, because the quilt would have to be to scale and the pieces get really small.”
Judy Strong of New Albin demonstrated making braided rugs, and people could sign up for a class to learn how to do this craft.

One of the display areas at the show included “Quilts of Service,” which a few grateful citizens from New Albin have made for veterans, service men and women of the New Albin area. These quilts are presented at a special program on Memorial Day and again on Veterans’ Day. The few ladies who make these feel so honored to be able to acknowledge these people for their military service.
Another display included 12 dolls from the collection of Luan Hammell of Caledonia, MN. “They are made by the same doll artist,” she explained, adding “I have 100 dolls all together in my collection.” Also shared from her collection was a stuffed manikin named “Mavis” who was seated on a bench in the foyer to “greet” visitors.
Sew N Sew Sisters of New Albin, The Backstitch of Elkador, and Forest Mills Quilt Shop of Postville had displays of their items and supplies for quilting and needlework.

Raffle winners
Pam Strong of New Albin was the winner of the raffle quilt, made by 30 different ladies associated with the Loose Threads group in New Albin, each contributing a block to the quilt.
Anita Cox from Elkader won the items given away in the “To Sew” raffle, and Jean Wiebke of Caledonia was the winner of the “Not to Sew” package.

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