BY MARY WICOFF
DANVILLE — The quilts hanging at the Vermilion County Museum draw a variety of reactions from visitors. Some marvel at the colors and workmanship, while others quietly make mental notes for their own projects.
One piece, called “Quilt Diva,” brings giggles and nods of agreement — especially from the quilters who see themselves in the cartoon figure, who wears a measuring tape as a headband.
“That’s so true,” Barbara Bates of Champaign said, laughing, as her friend Sandee Aune of Mahomet agreed. “I love it.”
The appliqué piece, quilted by Sherry Fourez, is one of 75 entries on exhibit at the museum through July as part of the 31st annual Midwest Quilt Show.
The show attracts many out-of-towners, such as Bates and Aune, as well as locals.
Describing herself as a beginner quilter, Jody Legett of Danville said, “I come every year.”
She’s a member of the Vermilion Valley Quilters Guild, and knows many of the quilters in the show.
Besides traditional quilts, the show features a range of styles and topics, including clothing and bags. The quilts and wall hangings feature animals, scenery, flowers (some in 3-D), baby designs, veterans’ military service, wildlife, family members’ names, and many others.
Hanging side-by-side are two quilts that were awarded best of show. Candice Justice of Frankfort won for her embroidered quilt “Roses for the Archbishop,” and Debra Janik of Plainfield won for her pieced 1950 to present quilt “Mariner’s Compass.”
Some of the quilts tell stories. “Underground Railroad Sampler” by Faye Williamson and Joy Boggs is a tribute to the story that quilts were used to direct slaves to get ready for escape.
Another, “Veteran Ancestors,” made by Teresa Clayton, tells the stories of family members who have served, going back to the Revolutionary War. Donald Weaver and Donald Clayton signed their individual blocks; James Whisler’s original design represents his submarine service.
Donna Gash submitted a lap quilt made out of more than 100 men’s silk ties, most coming from rummage sales or thrift shops.
If visiting the quilt show inspires you, consider entering the museum’s Spirit of Vermilion County traveling quilt show.
Quilts donated to the museum society will be auctioned in October 2014 as a fund-raising event. Deadline is Aug. 31, 2014. There is no entry fee.
Quilters are asked to consider: What excites you about Vermilion County? Perhaps it’s a person, place, event, landscape, historical place or a concept. Imagine a postcard with those images, inviting others to visit and enjoy the county’s rich heritage.
Colors can be varied, embellishments encouraged and imaginations challenged in the contest.
Quilts should be 24-36 inches and can hang vertical or horizontal. Cloth in three layers (minimum) should be stitched together; can be hand or machine pieced or quilts.
A 4-inch sleeve should be sewn to the back.
Include a short paragraph with the entry to explain your idea and something specific to its execution.
More information will be placed on a tag provided by the museum.
The quilts will be on display at the museum, 116 N. Gilbert St., through July during regular hours of Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Regular door fees for the quilt show are $2.50, adult; $1, teens 13-17; free for children 12 and under. For more information, call 442-2922 or visit www.vermilioncountymuseum.org.