PORTSMOUTH — Red and White are brightening up the Portsmouth Public Library, as they have a display of red and white quilts hanging above the books from the Down by the River Quilt Guild.
Along with the quilt display, there is a little nook of books about quilting with a brochure about the Red and White quilts. The display will be at the library for all to see until Friday, April 30.
“This is the 22nd year of the Down by the River Quilt Guild and we’ve been doing the library quilt show annually for probably 15 to 20 years,” Marcia Tackett, the president of the guild said. “We hang the quilts for about two months in the spring. We did get to hang them last year, even though no one got to see them, we had just got them hung up, when everything got shut down.”
Although last year’s display was not seen in person with the help of the library the guild has not missed a single year of the show. Tackett shared Katie Williams from the library was able to do a wonderful video tribute with music in the background, so that they at least had that from last year. She said Williams has done another one for this year’s quilts.
“Our monthly meeting is our business meeting, and you can bring in a quilt, if you have made one to show,” Tackett said about the guild, “The guild is actually separated into four smaller groups called Patches. You try to pick a Patch that is more convenient for you by either location or meeting times. Then that Patch meets regularly, and you have trainings, and you learn from each other.”
Tackett continued, “We have so many talented people in the guild and so many have specialties, like some that embroider, some do hand stitching and other things. I have learned so much working with these ladies because they are so willing to share their talent. An example of that would be like tomorrow, we are having a sewing day, where we meet, visit and share and we have a big enough place to have social distancing too and we do this a couple of times a year.”
As far as age range goes, Tackett said that their youngest member is around 12 and is the granddaughter of one of the members but she loves to quilt with her grandmother and she said she wanted to join, and their oldest member is probably in their 90s. The guild has every skill level from beginner to expert.
“We want to continue this very old tradition of quilting,” Tackett said.
Sharon Scott came up with the Red and White idea this year, she was a nurse and a teaching nurse at Shawnee State University and has been a member of the guild since its inception.
“A decade ago, I saw three red and white quilts featured in a Christmas magazine layout,” Scott said. “They were stunning, and this set off a quest to make my own trio of red and white quilts. In 2018, the guild made a Red Dress quilt to donate to the SOMC Cardiac Unit Compassion Fund. It was raffled and was a big hit both financially and for those who wanted their own red dress quilt. In 2019, a red and white double Irish Chain was made after researching the history of red and white quilts and learning about the New York Show featuring 653 red and white quilts.” Tackett said that Scott gave the guild a challenge to make red and white quilts for the year 2021 and that is the reason for the show.
Tackett also mentioned that during the pandemic, individually, they made masks and then put them all together and sent thousands of them from Ohio all over the United States, plus they put some in the blessing boxes locally and they felt like they were contributing where they couldn’t get out at that time.
Tackett said that every year they have a theme, and they usually hang about 22 quilts each year, but this year they only have 18.
“I would just like to say that we really want to expand quilting knowledge in this area, one of our main goals is to educate and to train, so we would love to have anybody who just wants to learn, even if you have never even picked up a needle, but want to learn, we want to have you,” Tackett said. “We would love to have people join the guild and I want to stress it really doesn’t matter your skill level, it’s one of our goals to get people to do the quilting.”
If interested in joining the group email Tackett at firstname.lastname@example.org and the guild has a private Facebook page that can be contacted too.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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