- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—The timeless and tedious artistries of quilters will be on exhibit this week, during the Monongalia County Fair.

But organizers say there aren’t as many quilters as their once were.

“We’re going to completely lose quilting if young girls don’t start doing it,” quilt exhibit chairwoman Ann Weimann said. This is Weimann’s third year organizing the quilt show at the fair, and while she has seen girls and women ages 13 to 80 submit material in the past, she hopes to continuously see more.

“It was a thing of interest in the 19th century,” said long time quilter Jeannine DeVault, 86. She began in the 1980s after her mother passed away. Her mother was her inspiration for quilting. “They called it fabric art,” she said.

The showcase of quilts will be judged and awards for first, second, third and best in show will be given by the judge, who is trained through the National Quilting Association.

A memorial award will be given on behalf of Weimann’s grandmother, Frances Hare. Hare was an accomplished quilter. Weimann’s father chooses the winner.

“He picks something she would have made or liked,” Weimann said. “He’s pretty good at it.”

Weimann expects to see around 30 uniquely assembled quilts at the showcase this year, including embroidered and wall hangings. They will be separated into classes.

“I’d say I’ve made 40 to 50 quilts, but I gave them away to my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and dear friends,” DeVault said. “I’ve never sold a quilt,” she said, “It’s just not me.”

Originally from Morgantown, DeVault moved with her family during The Great Depression to the southern tip of Mon County, where she has lived since.

After individual quilts for four children, three grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and about 20 nieces and nephews, DeVault has placed her past time aside due to her health.

“She’s been the belle of the Mon County Fair and this year she’s the featured quilter,” Weimann said.

DeVault has made quilts of all sizes, including baby and full sized beds and crotched afghans.

“In other words, I think I like to work with my hands,” DeVault said, laughing. She will have about 10 quilts on display, including one of her grandmother’s antique quilts from the late 1930s.

“My grandmother took old shirts she could cut designs from,” DeVault said. “During the Depression, nobody had money so my grandma salvaged everything.”

Although there are classes for beginners and books available, not many people quilt completely by hand anymore, she said. There are shops that quilt for people.

As DeVault grew up, she used quilts from her mother, made from wool and garments worn out in the knees and elbows. Wool made up the inner layer because it supplied the blanket with warmth. Today, fabric store supplies are what people use to quilt.

While DeVault got ideas for her quilts with her family and friends in mind, she did a lot of work based off other things she enjoyed looking at.

“I did what I did because of what I saw interesting to me,” DeVault said. “It’s a relaxing thing.”

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Topics: t000002537,t000002676,t000031424,t000031428

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