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The art of putting together pieces of fabric of different colors and patterns and creating a pleasing and beautiful piece of artwork that can also be functional - this is quilting.

Quilt designs are endless with each finished project being unique to the creator. A wide variety of these unique pieces of art will be on display during the Festival of Quilts Show and Sale in Spring Grove on Saturday, Sept. 29, during UffDa Fest.

Fifty quilts will be for sale ranging in price from $20 to $800. There will also be more on display. Quilts are from area quilters as well as from the Twin Cities, Rochester, La Crosse (Wis.) and Decorah (Iowa).

New this year to the festival is a Boutique Table. Members of the Piecemakers Guild will have made all the projects on this table. Items will include small quilted projects, potholders, purses, travel bags and many other fabric-focused items.

Quilt documentation speaker

The doors open at 9 a.m. and a special presentation will begin at 10 a.m., when Gail Bakkum, a member of the Minnesota Quilt Project, will be speaking on quilt documentation. Since this project began in the late 1980s, more than 4,000 quilts in Minnesota have been documented.

What is quilt documentation? It is the historical documentation of old quilts to determine the age based on the materials used.

"The people that work on the Minnesota Quilt Project are volunteers and do it because they think that it is an important part of history to be documented," explained Mary Deters, Piecemakers Guild member and Festival of Quilts co-coordinator.

"We have a little more than 20 quilts we hope that they will be able to get documented. Some date from as far back as the 1800s. Some people know a little history of their quilts and others do not. It is always very interesting to learn more about the age of the quilts."

This is the third time that the Minnesota Quilt Project has come to Spring Grove to document local quilts. However, it has been several years since they have been here. They will also begin teaching local people the process of documenting a quilt.

One of the ways the age of a quilt is documented is through the type of batting that is used.

"I remember one time when they were inspecting a quilt, the documenter felt the batting and could actually feel the cotton seed inside! That was a big clue as to the age of the quilt," added Deters.

"The feel of the fabric also helps the documenter; the older cottons were much rougher feeling. Much of the cotton that was used to make the older fabric came from the south; now much of the cotton comes from Egypt and has a much softer feel.

"There was also a period that a lot of polyester was used and so that also helps identify an era."

The Minnesota Quilt Project has published a book, "Minnesota Quilts, Creating Connections to Our Past," which "showcases 150 quilts from the approximately 4,000 documented by the Minnesota Quilt Project during the past 20 years.

"The story of the quilts is told through glorious color photographs, vintage black and white images and detailed, informative text.

"Drawing on oral interviews with quilters and the close study of Minnesota's classic quilts, MQ (Minnesota Quilters) members explore the connections quilts have had to our history, our families and our everyday life."

Minnesota Quilters, Inc. (MQ) is a volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to the celebration of quilting. Its activities and events are structured to honor the past, celebrate the present and nurture the future of this time-honored traditional craft in all its forms. The Minnesota Quilt Project is a standing committee of MQ.

Other happenings during show

Along with the quilt documentation, there will also be vendors (including local ones) with items for sale in addition to demonstrations such as the micro-stippling quilting technique.

"We want people to enjoy themselves while they are at the quilt show," commented Deters. "We have a variety of things to look at, watch and do, including being able to get a bite to eat."

Sunrise Recovery Home will be hosting a food stand throughout the day that will include donuts, BBQ sandwiches, Bumstead sandwiches, rømmegrøt, stroll, juice, coffee, hot apple cider and more. There will be seating inside or outside for enjoying the food.

The Festival of Quilts Show and Sale runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fest Building on Saturday, Sept. 29, only. Admission is by free-will donation. Previews of some of the quilts can be seen on the UffDa Fest website at www.uffdafest.com.