More than 150 works on display at this weekend's Quiltfest

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BENNINGTON — The 26th annual Bennington Quiltfest, presented by the Quiet Valley Quilters Guild, takes place Saturday and Sunday at Mount Anthony Union Middle School on East Road in Bennington. The show features over 150 quilts, 18 Guild Challenge wall hangings, vendors, demonstrations, a consignment boutique, a quilt raffle and a special exhibit of the works of local quilter Mary Hawes Kohler.

The hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m Sunday. Admission is $8, and the venue is accessible. The on-site Quiltfest Cafe serves breakfast and lunch and is open until 3 p.m. each day. The cafe features homemade breakfast sandwiches, pastries, soups, chili, quiche and gourmet sandwiches.

Special exhibit

There will be a special exhibit of 25 quilts made by Kohler, a prolific quilter who is imaginative, innovative, creative, always learning and always challenging herself. Her early quilts were done by hand and it took from 1988 to 1990 to make her first bed quilt, a gift for her oldest son.

When she moved to Vermont in 1991, she joined the Quiet Valley Quilters Guild. Through the years she has served in many capacities for the Guild and for the Quiltfest. She continues to be instrumental in the design and making of many of their raffle quilts and has opened her home for fellow members to hand quilt them.

Kohler has taken many classes at the Vermont Quilt Festival and other venues with nationally recognized teachers. She purchased a sewing machine in 1995 and added machine piecing to her skill set. As chairperson of the Vintage Quilt Committee she learned a lot about dating quilts and fabrics.

Two of her quilts brought her well-deserved recognition. "Local Color," which celebrated her love of birds and nature around her home, won second place in the 2002 Mill Collection National Contest sponsored by the American Textile History Museum and was hung in the museum for several months. Then in 2008 the staff at the Vermont Quilt Festival chose "Vermont Soliloquy," a quilt she designed and made as their raffle quilt for that year.

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Featured quilter

Author, pattern designer, and national quilting instructor Beth Helfter of EvaPaige Quilt Designs will be the featured quilter and guest lecturer at Quiltfest. She has one rule about quilting: It's supposed to be fun. As a mostly scrappy designer, Beth prefers to dig into her stash to create designs and patterns that appeal to her senses of color and value, using as many different fabrics as possible.

She will be giving lectures at 1 p.m. each day of the quilt fest. Her Saturday lecture will be on the Accordion Sewn HSTs method of creating half square triangles that don't have a match and yet waste no fabric. Her first book on the method, "Oompah! Jazz Up Your Scrap Quilts With Accordion Sewn HSTs," was published in 2018. The Sunday lecture "Give it a Scrap Slap" is a walk through the fun she had as a member of Quiltmaker Magazine's 2014 Scrap Squad where she recreated a design from each of six issues using only scraps.

Since founding EvaPaige Quilt Designs in 2005, she has published over 40 patterns and her work has been featured in various quilting magazines and on well-known quilting websites. As a traveling quilt teacher, she's visited guilds coast to coast and taught at national and regional quilt shows, and never tires of the a-ha moments and banter of a classroom full of quilters.

Museum exhibit

The 1863 Jane Stickle Quilt, brought to Bennington Museum over 80 years ago, is currently on display at the museum. The quilt is only shown for a short time each year due to the fragility of the fabric. The quilt is comprised of 169 five-inch blocks, each in different patterns, containing a remarkable total of 5,602 pieces surrounded by a unique scalloped border.

Quiltfest attendees can receive a 20 percent discount on museum admission and a 15 percent discount on museum store purchases by presenting their wristband both days of the event. Bennington Museum is located at 75 West Main St., Bennington.

For more information about Quiltfest, visit www.benningtonquiltfest.com.


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