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Connie Cocciarella, of Woodbury, Gale Fabio, of Maplewood, and Pat Dubois, of Woodbury, are members of the River Valley Quilt Guild.

The art of quilting

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Quilting is like piecing together some of your best memories. At least that's how the members of the River Valley Quilt Guild feel about the pastime.

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"Quilting is kind of an emotional thing for people," Woodbury resident Pat DuBois said. "It's a family thing that's passed down."

Even though quilting is a traditional craft activity, the quilts that you may be used to aren't what you see today.

The River Valley Quilt Guild, which meets twice a month at the Woodbury Public Works Building, currently has an assortment of quilts on display at the R.H. Stafford Library that will be on display through the end of this month.

"It's not the quilting that you normally think of," Woodbury resident Sharon Dimberg said. " It's not your grandmothers' quilting anymore."

"Quilting is simply an art form," Cottage Grove resident Pat Schlorf said. "When you walk around and look at them, it's like you're walking around looking at paintings almost."

A family of quilters

The River Valley Quilt Guild was formed in 1994 as a way for quilters to bond over a love of the craft.

Currently the guild has more than 50 members.

The River Valley Quilt Guild is essentially a group of women who come together to work on projects; but the guild also hosts guest speakers, seminars, quilt challenges and quilt shows.

Additionally the guild meets occasionally to work on charity quilts that will be donated to both women's homes and the Children's Hospital.

A recent project that the River Valley Quilt Guild did was a crayon challenge in which each guild member drew a crayon out of a box and had to use that color, in different tones, to create a quilt. The quilt was able to include one additional contrast color.

Many of the guild members began quilting because of family traditions, but many have stayed quilters because of the camaraderie.

"I joined the guild just so I could be inspired by other quilters," Woodbury resident Connie Cocciarella said. "I think a lot of these women are artists with fabric."

Pat DuBois said she joined the guild in order to learn the art of quilting.

"I've always loved quilting and wanted to learn how to do it since I didn't know a lot when I started," she said. "Now, I find quilting very calming and peaceful."

Schlorf said the guild has introduced her to some of her best friends.

A calming and creative craft

Several of the guild members said it was difficult to learn how to quilt when they first started, but after practicing it became second nature to them.

"If you break down quilting," Schlorf said. "It's really just sewing seams."

The quilters said it's hard to determine how long they spend on average on a quilt because that is all dependent on the size of the quilt, type of quilt and quilting technique.

The quilters said they can spend anywhere from a couple hours to a couple years on a quilt.

In addition to being involved with local quilter shows, the River Valley Quilt Guild is also involved in the Minnesota State Fair.

"We have a lot of blue ribbons," Maplewood resident, nd guild president, Gale Fabio said.

The River Valley Quilt Guild walked away with around 10 ribbons this year.

Dubois, who took home two blue ribbons this year, said she loves being a part of the fair, but not necessarily for the prizes.

"It's fun to go to the fair, stand by your quilt and listen to what other people are saying about it."

The River Valley Quilt Guild meets the second and fourth Thursday of the month at 6:45 p.m. in the Woodbury Public Works Building. Visit www.rivervalleyquilters.com for more information.

The River Valley Quilt Guild will be holding a quilt show Oct. 8 from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. and Oct. 9 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Holley Hall. The show will also include a quilt sale. Roughly 100 quilts will be on display.

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Amber Kispert-Smith
Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
(651) 702-0976
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