The Thompson-Ames Historical Society
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10-17-05 Historical Society’s Raffle Quilt Displayed at
Expo Show of Belknap Mill Quilters Guild
Quilting and quilt-making were integral aspects of life during the times of our ancestors.
Created primarily to provide warmth, quilts also offered an opportunity for artistic expression.
Guided by the mind-frame of “waste not, want not” frugality, fabrics that had outlived their usefulness as garments could be recycled into swatches that could be pieced together to make quilts. Therein lay the opportunity for the artistic eye to come to the fore and create a pleasing design ranging from patchwork to any of countless patterns.
In 1978 twenty-two people, who shared an interest in quilting and quilt-making, gathered at Laconia’s historic Belknap Mill to found the Belknap Mill Quilters Guild, which was incorporated in 2001.
Each Columbus Day weekend, the guild -- which now numbers 100 members and meets the second Wednesday evening of each month at the Winnipesaukee Exposition Center -- presents its annual quilt show.
This year the guild offered a much-appreciated opportunity for the Thompson-Ames Historical Society of Gilford to display its raffle quilt Sugaring Time.
“I hadn’t been to the annual quilt show in many years,” remarked one visitor. “This is my first visit to Lakeport’s Expo Center and I can hardly believe my eyes!”
From the moment you set foot in the Expo Center you began to experience the wonder of it all.
At the ticket table you were warmly welcomed and handed an attractive guide book entitled Harvest of Quilts 2005 as well as a Popular Vote Ballot with an opportunity to cast votes in 6 different categories during your visit.
Right there in the foyer the quilting theme was established with this year’s Belknap Mill Quilters Guild’s beautiful raffle quilt hanging in full view.
In a room to the right the vendors were located.
To the left of the raffle quilt and leading into the show room was an easel displaying one of Tony Lancia’s oil paintings, a profile of Carmel Lancia doing hand quilting. This was a hint that well-chosen accoutrements would be an integral part of the show.
Stepping into the show room, you saw an awesome display of about 200 quilts, some hanging along the perimeter of the room while many others were suspended from frames standing on the floor or hanging from the ceiling. The arrangement allowed each item to be viewed at a distance as well as up close. -- What planning this had taken! -- Also, the lighting enhanced each display.
Information was posted near each item to help viewers gain insight and, in some cases, background also. Themes were evident for many groupings.
Huge containers of colorful chrysanthemums located among the displays added to the festive atmosphere.
A bed had even been brought in and set up in an area which featured the quilt work of Bea Vezina, a quilter familiar to those who are involved with ABC Quilts.
There on the wall near Bea Vezina’s display area was Thompson-Ames Historical Society’s raffle quilt Sugaring Time! Ellen Peters’ choice of fabric and her quilting techniques certainly combined well with Stan Piper’s artistic renditions of sugaring as it was done in bygone days. The soft lighting only added to the quietness of the wall hanging. -- And nearby stood another easel this time with a painting done by Don Frost.
Folded and resting on a child’s rocking horse not too far away was a small quilt that looked familiar. White-gloved Betty Shurbert obligingly lifted the child’s quilt so that it could be seen in its entirety. It certainly looked like one of the ten ABC Quilts that students from Gilford Elementary School had made as part of their field trip experiences at Thompson-Ames Historical Society’s museum buildings during this past spring. There on the back of the quilt was a label attesting to the fact! -- Soon this and other ABC quilts would be picked up at Bea Vezina’s home and sent to needy children to bring them comfort as well as love.
The variety of quilted items in the show was amazing. Two that stood out for the effort involved were Anne Colburn’s Memere’s Garden and Postage Stamp Quilt, a quilt comprised of 6,522 almost all one-of-a-kind pieces that had been hand cut, hand pieced and hand quilted by Lucille Wuelfing, now-deceased mother of Bonnie Epstein.
When 3:00 rolled around on Sunday afternoon, October 9th, the doors closed on the showing of the 2005 Harvest of Quilts. But the memories linger.
And now the quilters will begin work on more quilts that will be ready for showing on Columbus Day weekend in 2006.