Quilters piece together history

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Ginger Osborn was curious about some of the ornately designed quilts that had been in her family for generations. When she got the chance seven years ago for a professional to look them over, she didn't hesitate.

She had the heirlooms registered into Colorado archives.

"Some of them were hand-quilted and some weren't in good shape," she said, showing pictures of the quilts with intricate patterns. "They have been in our family forever."

Residents have the chance Aug. 14 to have quilts documented and registered with the Colorado Quilting Council, which holds the state's historical records for quilts. Seven volunteers with the council will be available at the Craig Fire Station from about 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. said organizer Cheryl Bush.

There is a $5 documentation charge for each quilt to cover paperwork costs.

"We need quilts and not just historical quilts," Bush said. "You don't have to be a quilter to have quilts, and the quilts don't have to be from here to get documented. If you own a quilt and live in Colorado, then it's a Colorado quilt. You can come down and get it registered."

Bush said the quilt documentation is an ideal opportunity to learn more about a family treasure or record a more recently made quilt. People are encouraged to register quilts in any design or shape, and a quilt's condition is irrelevant.

The art of quilting has undergone varying degrees of popularity in the last century, Bush said.

While quilting traditionally was a way for pioneer homesteaders to keep warm by sewing scraps of materials together, it later flourished as an art form to broadcast political messages, Bush said. The trend recently has become popular again as new tools make the work easier.

Recording quilts is important because the blankets usually span longer than a lifetime and their meanings may get lost, she added.

"I'm going to get my mom's quilts documented," Bush said. "I want them to become part of the permanent record so they don't become lost. There's a really good piece of history that you have with quilts. We tend to take it for granted."

Barb Nielson said she is bringing in two quilts for documentation. A quilter for 10 years, she has made 153 quilts. She has decided to document a quilt that earned reserve grand champion award at the Moffat County Fair last year.

"Maybe when I reach 200, I'll say that's enough," she said. "I'm sacred to death that I'll die before getting everything sewed that I want to."

Those who choose to have their quilts documented will receive copies of the records and pictures of their quilts. To make an appointment for the event, call Bush at 824-2567.

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