Quilter pieces together history

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September 16, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Award-winning quiltmaker Judy McGraw, Iola, pieced together the history of quilts during a presentation at the Iola Public Library Monday.
McGraw began her first quilt when she was 11 years old. Her mother passed away when she was 13. McGraw would not finish the quilt until after she was married.
“I taught myself how to quilt,” McGraw told the audience.
Historically, the first quilt dates back to 960 B.C. in Egypt and it is believed that the English and Dutch are responsible for bringing quilts to America. Through the decades quilting went from being a necessity to a leisure activity.
In the 1930s many women couldn’t afford to purchase patterns so they would draw their own by looking at pictures. The Kansas City Star published patterns from 1928 to the mid-1960s.
“My grandmother collected these patterns and now I have them,” McGraw said.
McGraw said she has made approximately one quilt a year for the last 22 years. She is part of the Sunflower Quilt Club that meets once a month. The group shares fabrics and techniques with each other.
 She has made a variety of quilts and each has a special story. One quilt is made of bandanas that McGraw collected from concerts. Another is made from her mother’s handkerchiefs.
The quilt she made this year won grand champion at the Anderson County Fair and Kincaid Fair and was named best quilt at the Allen County Fair.
All of her quilts are created by hand. McGraw says she prefers to use bright color pieces in her quilts. Her last two quilts have a bit of a sparkle to them.
“I’ve recently liked putting beadwork on my quilts,” McGraw said.
The next Iola Public Library presentation will be Jewelry Making at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 23. There is no fee but registration is required.

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