Quilt Guild celebrates 25 years at Portsmouth Public Library


PORTSMOUTH—The members of Down by the River Quilt Guild are continuing their annual tradition of showcasing their work at the Portsmouth Public Library branch of the Scioto County Public Library system, filling the space with individual quilts made by its members, a quilt made by all members working together for raffle, and a special display that highlights Scioto County made 21 years ago.

The show went up March 1, with a bounty of quilts on display at the library. The display will be erected through April 26 for the community to visit and take a closer look at the craftsmanship.

This is the 25th year that the Guild has utilized the Portsmouth Public Library to showcase their work and members are excited to have the opportunity to highlight their craft once again. The theme of the display is also in conjunction with their storied history in the library.

The display features 27 quilts. 25 quilts from 25 members are hung to celebrate the 25 years; a quilt made by everyone is on display, which is for raffle; and the group also brought out a special “Scioto County Quilt,” which was made in 2003 for the Ohio Bicentennial.

“Through the years, we have assembled and quilted a variety of quilts and raffled them off. The money is donated to a cause that is in need at the time,” Guild Member Barb Burke said. “We have donated to the homeless shelter, the domestic violence shelter, nursing homes, children’s services, Southern Ohio Medical Center, the American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Portsmouth Police Department, Scioto County Sheriff’s Department, Marsh House, Stepping Stones, Sierra’s Haven, Scioto County Public Library, and more. These groups have either benefited from the raffle funding or a donation of quilts. There is an element of service to the community that is very much part of our Guild.”

Scioto County Public Library’s Katie Williams explained that the raffle tickets are available for purchase from anyone in the Guild. She explained the raffle quilt is always raffle number one in the show and easy to find in the display.

“The theme of the raffle quilt this year is Freedom Rings,” Guild Member Kendra Hughes explained. “It has a patriotic theme to it, but it isn’t the splashy red and blue you might think.”

Williams echoed her appreciation of the raffle quilt this year and the patriotic theme.

“It is a patriotic quilt, but it isn’t the typical red, white and blue,” Williams said. “It is very patriotic, but it is a little more subtle and you can take in a lot of different details within it; it is very easy to appreciate the theme and design.”

Each year, a different group within the Guild takes on the challenge of quilting the raffle piece, which makes for an interesting process.

“Each year, a group within the guild gets a different turn making the quilt,” Hughes said. “The group gathers their fabric or kit and sew individual blocks and then a member quilts the overall piece that is then displayed and raffled.

Burke is also a fan of the raffle quilt this year.

“The quilt is beautiful this year,” Burke said. “A better word may be stunning.”

The Scioto County Quilt was made in celebration of the Bicentennial. It was designed by the Guild and made by them as well.

“It is often displayed in different areas within the county,” Hughes said. “It has been in the library show several years. It is very special. Because it was made in 2003, a lot of members who participated in making that quilt is no longer with us, so it means a lot to us.”

The library also has two display cases filled with information and memorabilia on the Guild’s 25-year history in the library.

“The progress that we’ve made in 25 years is very evident. When the Guild began, it was a group of women who wanted to learn more about quilting,” Burke said. “They were intrigued by it, and it was coming back. Patchwork had always been popular through the years, especially in the rural areas when farmers had feed and seed bags that were used for clothes and curtains. There is a whole history with that and how patterns were developed. When I look at the show today, it gives me an idea of how it has progressed. We have had notable speakers throughout the years and have given lessons and presentations on how this all works. The members have really spread their wings and the Guild has become a group of knowledgeable people, but not threatening, that welcomes newcomers and community members.”

Williams said that this is the eighth quilt show she has worked on with the Guild and it is always a popular event.

“We get a lot of people who come to the library to see the display. Many people even travel from outside the community. Our patrons always ask about it every year and look forward to it,” Williams said. “There is a program available each year with information on each quilt on display and how to join the Guild. We go through hundreds of these programs every week.”

Amidst the annual Down by the River Quilt Guild show in the Portsmouth Public Library, an event is being planned the evening of Tuesday, April 16, between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Members of the guild will be present to discuss the history of the group as well current community and individual projects.

Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2024 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

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