LAKE LUZERNE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – At Hadley-Luzerne Jr./Sr. High School, the gymnasium is getting busy. It’s not summer sports lighting it up, though. Instead, it’s 75 hand-made quilts created by a group who have spent decades honing their art.
The Hudson River Piecemakers Quilt Show runs this weekend, Aug. 6-7, out of the high school gym. On Friday, 75 quilts by around 40 current members were hung, ranging from those with classic patterns to ones showing specific images, like flowers and animals. The group has gone on strong for over 30 years, but hasn’t been able to hold its biannual live event for the last six – first due to school renovation, and next because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The show is welcoming a visit from judge Lorry Chwazik, of Pleasant Street Quilts. Chwazik is a nationally-recognized quilt judge with over 30 years of her own experience. That said, it’s not a matter of choosing what quilt will win first prize. Here, judging is a form of sharing tips and exploring the craft, just like any normal club meeting.
“If you have this quilt judged, the judge will probably tell you if your bindings are okay, if your seams are straight,” said quilt show organizer Karen Goldberg, touching the edge of one handmade quilt on Friday as an example. “Did you use good colors? Did the stitching help the quilt or take away from the quilt?”
Those are the same kinds of advice traded at regular meetings of the Piecemakers. Once the business is done, it’s time to start on whatever project is next for each member – and invariably, that means learning something new.
That was as true as ever in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic separated the group’s members. In that case, the skill learned was how to operate a Zoom call, over which several members worked together on a new pattern. One of those quilts hangs at the Hadley-Luzerne gymnasium this weekend.
In a second room, the quiltmakers show off the other half of what they do. Opposite a table of quilt-related goods for sale – such as unique fabrics and a handsome bottle vest – a stand shows off a series of child-size quilts and stuffed animals. Each pairing of blanket and critter will go to a child entering the Saratoga County Foster Care program. The quilts are made to be used “until you can see through them,” in Goldberg’s own words – and to give those children a sense of comfort at an unspeakably hard time.
Quilters come and go as time progresses, but many more have walked the same well-sewn path over the years. Goldberg has been quilting since retiring as a teacher in 2000, and has several quilts on display this weekend. Some quilts are wedding gifts, others to be given to family – and still others are simply projects for the sake of keeping one’s hands busy. Whatever the reason, there’s always another pattern to try, another kind of fabric to obtain, and another world of color and life to create.
“I’ve done quilts for my kids, I’ve done quilts for my grandchildren. What a wonderful gift to give to somebody.”