Apprentice quilters show skills learned in yearlong class

By JENNIFER MAIER / Community Columnist

The Columbiana Public Library was the location for the Hand Quilting Apprentice Showcase on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016.

Several area ladies have been learning the art of quilting since September 2015, thanks to local quilter Agnes Pool and a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

Pool is well known for her skill, knowledge and passion for the art of quilting, making her the perfect person to pass on the skill to a new generation.

Participating in this year’s class, which lasted from September 2015 to September 2016, were Barbara Williams, Beth Glasgow, Kelly Davis, Christy Brasher and Tammie Lylesate. The apprentices met weekly to hone their skills.

A special guest at the showcase was Anne Kimzey, a folk life expert with the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

The apprentice quilters learned a variety of skills during the year, including English paper piecing, paper piecing, foundation piecing and appliques. Straight, blind, outline, stem and embroidery stitches were studied, as well.

According to Pool, quilting consists of three layers: top, batting and back.

“Batting can be flannel, cotton, wool, polyester or interfacing such as pellon,” Pool explained. “Back is also called the lining and can be any type of coordinating cotton fabric including muslin.”

Quilts are a celebrated part of the culture of Columbiana, with quilt walks frequently taking place as part of fundraising efforts for the Columbiana Public Library.

“Quilting has endured as an American Folk Art because of the simplicity of the process of making a functional but pleasing textile,” Pool said. “To be able to take two scraps of fabric, sandwich with batting, sew into an eye-catching quilt is art.”

Pool said that quilts can serve as a timeline to history. “Fabric trends, colors, size and patterns are all relative to the era of construction.”

All the quilts made by the apprentice quilters are special and beautiful, but one in particular holds a special meaning for local residents Linda and Evan Major, who lost their home in a fire a year ago.

Among the items damaged during the fire was a Bow Tie Quilt, but thanks to the help from apprentice quilter Beth Glasgow, remnants from the damaged quilt were salvaged and turned into a new quilt.

Along with quilting individual quilts, the apprentices worked on a combined project to create a Civil War Sampler using reproduction fabric.

“I’m very blessed to work with dedicated and talented group of quilters and pleased to display their quilts for the community to enjoy,” said Pool.