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Quilt show continues for two more days

SALISBURY — Kay Cosgrove hopes that an annual quilt show will help her piece together the story behind a family heirloom.
This year’s show — called “Sew? How’s it Going?” — started Sunday afternoon and continues today and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The free event takes place in the multi-purpose room at Trinity Oaks health and rehab, formerly the Lutheran Home at Trinity Oaks.
Cosgrove submitted an old signature quilt made for her grandfather, Pastor Rufus Stencil Lennon, and his wife, Amelia Cecelia Pickler Lennon, who was born in 1883 in Davie County. The couple married in 1917.
The quilt was likely made by the ladies of the pastor’s Baptist parish in Linwood, she said. If not, it was made by the ladies of a church he served in Welcome.
Each of the women who worked on the project signed her name inside a square. Cosgrove said she doesn’t recognize the names, but she submitted the fading quilt with the hope that someone else will.
“I’m hoping we could uncover some of that history,” she said. “I think it wasn’t too far away from here.”
Nine of the 100 quilts on display at the show were made by Cosgrove’s mother-in-law, Edith Cosgrove, a Trinity Oaks resident who previously lived in New London.
Her first quilting project was a friendship quilt made in the 1970s. She and 15 friends each picked a design and created a square for each group member, she said. Her design was a cat.
“We went to school together, and we lived near each other in New Jersey. We would get together once a month,” Edith Cosgrove said Sunday. “It kept us busy as we gabbed away.”
When she moved from New Jersey to North Carolina in the early 1980s, she started a quilting group at her new home.
“All the ladies in the neighborhood would come in on Wednesdays, they’d have some coffee and some light cake, and they’d sit and quilt,” said Kay Cosgrove.
Edith Cosgrove’s other pieces include a design called “mother’s flower garden” made from leftover fabric from her daughter’s school dresses, baby quilts for her four grandchildren and an N.C. State-themed quilt given to her grandson when he went to college. She made her last quilt in 2002.
Virginia Callicotte and Anne Palmer, both of Salisbury, were among visitors to the quilt show Sunday. They attend the show as an annual tradition.
“It’s a lovely show that they put on here,” Callicotte said. She said she comes every year “just to see the beautiful quilts.”
Callicotte is a quilter — she has submitted her own work to the show in the past — and Palmer described herself as a “wanna-be.”
“I love this show,” Palmer said. “I just appreciate that somebody else spent hours and hours on these. I come for the colors, too.”
She said her favorite quilts are the antique white ones with lots of accent colors.
“It’s so much fun to see all the different patterns that people choose,” Palmer said.
Callicotte said the combinations of pattern and color scheme are often unique to each quilter.
“Two people can make the exact same quilt and it looks entirely different,” she said.
Hazel Trexler-Campbell and her daughter, Ginger Lovette, came to the quilt show at the request of Trexler-Campbell’s daughter, who used to work at Trinity Oaks. Both are Salisbury residents.
“I’ve sewed in the past, but I didn’t take time to quilt,” Trexler-Campbell said.
As the two admired the pieces, Lovette said she doesn’t quilt either, but she might “if somebody taught me how.”
Brenda Zimmerman, activities director at Trinity Oaks, said quilting has changed quite a bit in the past century.
Among the displayed pieces is an antique “crazy patch” quilt from the late 1930s or early 1940s. Some quilters used to use newspaper as a backing as they patched pieces of fabric together. Later, they would pull it off when the quilt was complete.
This particular piece, submitted by a woman who bought it for $80 at an auction, still has scraps of newspapers from 1938 stitched onto the back.
In contrast, just a few yards away, Shelley Lenhausen shared a new technique for making old-style quilts. She is using computer software, she said, to print out the exact shapes she will need for the pattern.
Lenhausen isn’t going entirely modern with her project, though. She is sewing the 5,602 pieces of fabric together into 226 different blocks by hand. She said it’s a labor of love.
“We don’t need to make quilts for our beds anymore,” she said. “Quilting has become an art form now.”
Lenhausen is co-president of the Sunny Day chapter of the Salisbury-Rowan Quilters’ Guild. It meets at Rufty-Holmes Senior Center on the third Thursday of the month at 1 p.m. The Starry Night chapter meets at Rufty-Holmes every second Thursday.
For more information about the quilt show, call Brenda Zimmerman at 704-603-2770.

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