“Galaxy of Quilts” will warp warm blankets to needy children

By Vince Dixon

Whether you know nothing about quilting, love to quilt, like to buy quilts or just forgot to pack your blankie this semester and need something to cling to at night, members of the Illini Country Stitchers Quilt Guild say that this year’s biennial quilt show has something to offer everyone.

The show, titled “Galaxy of Quilts,” will feature more than 150 quilts, fabrics and quilted items, featuring various other quilt-related activities.

“It’s a chance to see what quilts are all about,” said Dorothy Buerkle, president of the guild.

Buerkle and the nearly 150 Quilt Guild members spent much of the year planning for this weekend’s event. Each member also contributed to the completion of the show’s raffle quilt, “Reach for the Stars,” which the guild will award on the show’s last day.

Proceeds of the raffle and the entire event will go to club expenses and the guild’s major philanthropic endeavors.

Such endeavors include donating quilts to sick children through Project Linus, a volunteer organization, and Crisis Nursery, an emergency intervention program for families in crisis. Both are year-round causes that even private vendors, who will also be featured at this year’s quilt show, say they are proud to be a part of.

“(Project Linus) is a wonderful organization,” said Joyce Day, co-owner of Sew Sassy of Lincoln Square Mall and featured vendor. “(The children) need security and we hope to provide this to them.”

Sassy and six other vendors will be present at the show with fabric, notions and stitching materials to sell. The Illini Country Stitchers Quilt Guild will also sponsor its own boutique and bazaar for those interested in purchasing quilted items or materials.

For those who only want to observe quilted displays and presentations, more than 120 full-sized quilts will be presented in addition to the 150 smaller quilted items. Quilting competitions, including a guild member bag challenge and the awarding of a blue ribbon, will also be featured.

Though there will be no antique quilts in this year’s show, attendees who have antique, new or homemade quilts of their own are welcomed to bring them to the show and have them registered by the Early American Museum and Illinois Quilt Research Project.

The project will photograph quilts and record them in its data files.

If you have no quilt, are not an expert and aren’t sure if quilting really tickles your fancy, the guild ensures that the hobby is a growing trend with beneficial effects.

“Quilting is actually becoming much more popular,” said Kim Leigh, publicity chairman of the show. “It’s a great stress reliever for a lot of people.”

And when it comes to quilting and the Quilt Guild’s show, children are welcomed to join in on the fun as the show will also highlight its kid’s corner where children can complete scavenger hunts and are given their own stitch blocks to color and connect.

All in all, members of the Illini Country Stitchers Quilt Guild say the event is an affair that the entire family can enjoy and one that will hopefully get the word out about the group.

“It’s a chance to show the general public we exist,” Buerkle said. “The guild is a wonderful source for information and resources.”

The show will be held at Lincoln Square Village Mall on Oct. 20 and Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adult admission and $1 for the “Reach for the Stars Quilt” raffle tickets.