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Putting all the pieces together

Quilters get ready for their annual shindig - for a good cause - at the Milwaukie Center
by: ellen spitaleri, Linda Seeley, Gretchen Stelling and Darlene McDonald, all members of The Friends of the Milwaukie Center Quilters, work on hand stitching a quilt in a pattern called grandmother’s flower garden.

The Milwaukie Center's 13th Annual 'Airing of the Quilts' will take place on March 23 and 24, but the call for the quilts is happening now.

People who want to display their quilts at the annual show need to bring their quilts to the Milwaukie Center on the following acceptance dates: March 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; March 14, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and March 17, from 10 a.m. to noon.

This year's theme is 'Quilting for a Cause,' and Pat Kennedy, one of the show's organizers, said that although quilting has been popular for many years, currently there is a trend to raffle off or auction off quilts to support charities.

She explained that many of the women who belong to The Friends of the Milwaukie Center Quilters also make quilts for church groups and other service organizations. 'What these ladies are doing goes along with the theme of this year's show, and we are glad to see them here,' Kennedy said.

She noted that the show is not juried, that it is instead an opportunity for people who 'want to share quilts - it's a community show.'

However, Gretchen Stelling, one of the members of The Friends of Milwaukie Center Quilters, noted that the quilt committee does not accept 'cheater quilts' that are not pieced, and they 'don't take tied quilts' either.

The quilts, however, may be machine quilted.

The committee asks that each entry be accompanied by a photo of the quilt, because the organizers make a 'big floor plan, lay all the photos out, and then see which quilts are compatible with each other,' Kennedy explained.

'A lot of thought goes into the display,' she noted.

Kennedy added that Diane McRae and Sue Benson 'set up and design' the show, with help from Shirley Workman, Jean Eggers, Marilyn Gearhart, Barbara Lamb and Darlene Brown, among others.

Kennedy, who said she is a 'collector,' not a quilter, helped start the first quilt show, and has 'hung on helping with the show.'

This year she is organizing a display case containing vintage dolls and doll quilts, to accompany the show.

Kennedy added, 'I love quilts - they are just like encyclopedias of the era.'

FastFacts

The 13th Annual 'Airing of the Quilts'

March 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and March 24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There is a suggested $3 donation on Friday and Saturday's admission is $4.

On both days there will be the community quilt show, a vendors mall, Bistro lunch and raffle ticket sales for the 'Peaches and Green' quilt (size is 81-inches by 102-inches). Tickets sell for $1 each or six for $5.

There will also be a special exhibit 'Quilting for a Cause,' which highlights groups who make quilts for various causes and charities.

History of the 2007 Raffle Quilt -'Peaches and Green'

'Peaches and Green,' was made by Adelaide Ella Pennecard Tombleson. She was born March 9, 1873, in Axminster Parish, Devonshire, England; she eventually worked in service as a seamstress at Waleswood House, Micheham, Surrey, England.

She came to the United States in June, 1905, with her sister Laura, and in Idaho she met and married Robert Moden 'Joe' Tombleson, who was also from England. They homesteaded on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation in Idaho.

In about 1920, the family moved to Harvard Avenue in Gladstone, to what is now the site of Gladstone High School.

Norman Goetz, who is the great-nephew of Ella Tombleson, found the vintage quilt top while he was cleaning out an attic. It was in a box labeled 'cabin quilt,' so it may have been intended for use at the family cabin on Mt Hood. The cabin is still off the electrical grid and is heated with wood.

Ella died in August, 1965, with her husband Joe preceding her in 1930.

When he found the quilt top, he showed it to his cousin, Martha Waldeman, and 'she thought of the Milwaukie Center,' said Tina Johnson, program assistant at the center.

'Tina thought the quilt top was very nice so she said we should show it to the quilt show committee,' said Jan Wirtz, Milwaukie Center recreation supervisor.

'We put it on the table and the quilt show committee went 'Ahhhhhh,'' Wirtz added.

'I said, 'I think we have a jewel,'' Johnson said.

The quilt show committee decided then and there to complete the quilt and use it as the raffle quilt for the 13th Annual Milwaukie Center 'Airing of the Quilts,' set for March 23 and 24.

No one is quite sure who came up with the name, 'Peaches and Green,' but the quilt top consists of a variety of circles pieced together from floral cottons from the 1930s, set against a background of peach and green cotton, so the name seemed to just spring to mind, said the organizers.

Johnson noted that when the quilt was appraised by noted quilt appraiser Eileen Trestain, she said 'the stitching is so nicely done - [the quilter] was a perfectionist.'

'Peaches and Green' was hand quilted by the members of The Friends of Milwaukie Center Quilters, and will be raffled off at the annual quilt show, but tickets may be purchased now, by calling the center. Tickets are $1 each, or six for $5.

Call 503-653-8100 for more information.