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QUILTY PLEASURE: Vandalia quilt show celebrates many styles of quilts

Posted on Sunday, August 13, 2023 at 9:05 pm

The Vandalia Area Historical Society sponsored a Quilt Show on Saturday, May 29, at the Baptist Church Community Building.

There were 62 quilts entered in the show, and the public voted on their favorites. The show was informal in that the quilts were not divided into categories or classes, such as age or method of quilting.

This approach meant that hand-made quilts were competing against machine made quilts, and newer quilts competed against older quilts. With each amateur judge free to choose his or her own criteria for selecting their favorite quilt, it made for interesting and friendly conversation as people browsed.

Carolyn Schomaker, formerly of Vandalia, said she traveled to town from St. Louis to see the show.

“Many things may appeal to different people,” Schomaker said. “It might be the color, the pattern overall or just ‘I like that design.’”

Fred Wilson and Donna Wilson, formerly of Vandalia, were visiting from Bowling Green to see the show. They agreed that choosing one quilt to vote for was no easy task.

“I think it’s just a tossup,” said Charlene McCune, also of Bowling Green. “They’re just beautiful. If you want themes, you’ve got themes. You’ve got just beautiful hand quilting. You’ve got machine quilting. I don’t know. You tell me how to pick it out.”

McCune admitted to being a little biased in that one of the quilts looked exactly like one her grandmother had made years ago and lost track of. Her grandmother taught fourth grade in Vandalia for 36 years.

Connie Strother said she was partial to the quilts that took a lot of work to do.

“Look at the handiwork on this one–every single one is cross-stitched,” said Strother. “It’s just unbelievable. Cross stitches take a lot of time.”

“Maybe it’s the workmanship [that should be most important when voting], but I love that fabric [of the one I voted for],” said Janie Zimmer. “As soon as I saw it, I knew that was it.”

Some judges, though, had strict criteria for their vote.

“I didn’t even put the number on [the ballot] with my [own pen], because then everybody would know who I voted for,” said one gentleman, who preferred to remain anonymous. “You’ve got to do it all by hand. Some are done part by hand, part by machine. The one I picked was done all by hand, guaranteed.”

The top vote getters on the day were Lou Mudd, of Silex (first place); Julie Reagan, of Newburg, and formerly of Vandalia (second-place tie); and Ruth Miller, of Vandalia (second-place tie).