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Stories pieced together in Mason-Dixon Quilt Show that celebrates quilting

April 21, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN - It's not unusual for years to pass between a quilt's conception and its final, celebratory stitch, but one piece displayed at the Mason-Dixon Quilt Show might never have been finished at all, were it not for a lucky find by a dedicated Hagerstown quilter.

Patty Prodonovich purchased the partially sewn fabric scraps, along with the intended pattern, from an acquaintance who cleans out attics and basements. Though Prodonovich doesn't know who started the quilt or why it was never finished, she was careful to follow the anonymous quilter's design.

"I hope she's looking down from above and saying, 'That's what I was looking for,'" Prodonovich said.

She calls the quilt "Resurrection."

The story is one of dozens that give meaning to each of the quilts displayed at the show, held last weekend at Hagerstown Community College by the Buchanan Trail Quiltmakers of Waynesboro, Pa., and the Friendship Quilters' Guild of Hagerstown.

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Quilters and nonquilters from throughout the region browsed craft supplies, entered raffles and voted on their favorite pieces, but visitors agreed the show's biggest draw was seeing the rows and rows of quilts and reading the stories behind them.

Some were inspired by guild "challenges," others created as gifts and designed around a recipient's life or favorite colors.

Often, the idea for a quilt begins with one inspirational piece of fabric, said Pat Rothen, who is designing a beach picnic quilt around a playful print of sunbathers with various fruits for bodies.

Liz Fink, of Chambersburg, Pa., came to the show to "visit" a quilt that her friend Jeanette Violet made her for her birthday - under the condition that she couldn't have it until after the show.

Inspired by Fink's love of cats, the quilt featured an array of colorful polka-dotted, flowered and striped felines with button eyes, arranged against a paw-print background and framed by a cat-design border.

"That was one of the best gifts I've ever had, that someone was willing to put that much work into making that for me," Fink said.

Pam Mentzer, a relatively new quilter from Waynesboro, came to the show for inspiration and walked out, beaming, with a bundle of 37 pieces of fabric that she won as a door prize.

Mentzer said she joined a local quilting group because she remembered her grandmother quilting and liked the idea that the quilts and the hobby could be passed down through the generations.

"It's like a connection to someone else," Mentzer said. "I want to make something that's going to last for 100 years and someone will say, 'Oh, Grandma Pam made that.'"

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