When you think of a quilt you usually think of a cozy bedroom or a meaningful gift from a loved one. Sure, those patterned cloth mosaic blankets do a great job of keeping you warm, but more often they serve as decorative pieces. From their craftsmanship to the patterns to the subtle messaging within their stitching, it’s not a stretch to call them works of art.
Throughout their history, which dates back to 3400 BCE in ancient Egypt, quilts have served several purposes. And while they may now be considered works of art, heirlooms or very practical blankets, during the Civil War era they were tools used to fight slavery. Quilts were used to raise money and awareness for the abolitionist cause and some women would go so far as to stitch anti-slavery poems or sayings into the quilts. For those who participated in the Underground Railroad, quilts would sometimes serve as coded maps to help runaway slaves get to safety. There are some theories that certain quilts, such a one with a log cabin on it, were hung on the line of a safe house to help slaves navigate the route.
It’s this fascinating legacy that spans over 5,000 years and has even changed lives that the Licking Valley Quilters Guild carry on. They’ve been around since the 1970s, making quilts for various charities to raise money for neonatal intensive care patients, those with Alzheimer’s and more. They get together for informal sewing days, as well as more structured classes where they teach new sewing skills or showcase their latest projects.
Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire veterans, the Licking Valley Quilters Guild will let you try your hand at quilting. Don’t worry if you’ve never quilted before. They’ll be there to help you out and show you how to create your own four-patch quilt. They call it a mug rug, but to you it could be the start of something much larger.
What story will your quilt tell?
If you’d like to get involved with the Licking Valley Quilters Guild you can catch them at the Boone County Enrichment Center at 6028 Camp Ernst Road in Burlington, Kentucky the third Wednesday of every month at 10 a.m.