Pretty Patchwork

Jefferson Co. Homemakers plan
20th 'Bits & Pieces' Quilt Show

Proceeds from the event go to area scholarship fund

(April 2015) – If you are the type of man who enjoys a challenge, then you would likely get along great with Junior Dunham. His wife, Kay, challenged him to join her quilting group and make a quilt. He not only succeeded in the challenge, he has now made four quilts and is the only male member of the Jefferson County (Ind.) Extension Homemakers Group.
Dunham’s work will be among those on display at the 20th annual “Bits & Pieces” Quilt Show. The show is scheduled for April 17-18 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, located on Hwy. 256.

Photo by Alice Jane Smith

Dorothy Canada (left) and Janet McMahan pose with the log cabin quilt that will be raffled off at the upcoming Bits & Pieces Quilt Show in Madison, Ind.

The Jefferson County Extension Homemakers sponsor the event and donate proceeds to scholarships for high school seniors in Jefferson County. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days at the fairgrounds located on SR 256 near Madison. Admission is $4.
Quilters may enter their antique quilts, handmade quilts, machine made quilts, wearable art or family favorites. Last year, more than 100 quilts were entered in the show, according to Dorothy Canada, of the Saluda Homemakers. Over the years, an average of 60 to 80 quilts have been entered in the show. Last year, the sponsors had to turn away a few quilts because they ran out of room to hang them.
Despite the obvious success of the show, the close-knit group of homemakers admitted to annual anxiety: That this will be the year that nobody brings quilts and no one comes to the show. “We’re always afraid,” Canada said, chuckling.
Each year the homemakers group make a quilt to be raffled in order to raise funds for the event.  First of all, they decide on a quilt pattern. Then they appoint a committee to buy fabric for the quilt. That’s the fun part, they agreed. They usually let the fabric shop owner guide them regarding fabric choices so they can stay up to date with colors that are trendy.
This year they made the “log cabin” quilt, luxuriant in various shades of greens and blues. Kay Dunham describes it as “springy, a welcome break after so much snow this winter.”  A group of four to six women made the “generously-sized” queen quilt. It was machine-pieced and hand-quilted.  Donation tickets for the quilt are $1 or six tickets for $5.
Two quilt shops will be present as vendors. Awards will be given for the top quilts. There also will be a viewer’s choice quilt.
“The quilt show started out with two ladies saying ‘we ought to have a quilt show,’” Janet McMahan said. “I was just a new member, and they appreciated my sewing ability.” She continues to enjoy the friendship of the group “and all that goes with it.” McMahan, a member of Smyrna Homemakers, likes to make purses and clothes.  “I’ve been sewing since I was a kid,” she said.
Sandy Koehler extols the benefits of sewing. “It is soothing for me,” she said. “When I sew, I relax.” She is a member of the Sunshine Homemakers, and she used to make her nursing uniforms.
Martha Knigga, Saluda Homemakers, enjoys working in the garden during spring and summer.
The group’s treasurer, Dianna Giltner, of Saluda Homemakers, said she likes to color posters, make jewelry, stained glass and greeting cards. The posters are one of the group’s projects to help brighten the lives of residents at the Hanover Health & Rehab Center. They also make “puppy pillows,” make bathrobes and pillow cases for patients at Riley Children’s Hospital, squeeze balls for the dialysis unit, help provide trophies for the 4-H Fair, scholarships for high school seniors and contributions for the first baby born each year in Jefferson County. 
“We try to do a lot of community service,” said Dunham. Bess Adams, the extension agent, added that the group also makes and sells cookbooks.
The six women present at the planning meeting for the quilt show sadly reflected on the absence of one of their leaders who was ill and unable to attend. They recalled the loss of friends and turnover in the group. They look to youth, and they would like to attract them. They would like to have evening groups so that younger working members could attend.
And they would like for more men to join the group. Just ask Junior Dunham.

Back to April 2015 Articles.



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