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Route 66 quilts featured at Great Lakes Seaway Trail Byway Quilt Show

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SACKETS HARBOR — Quilters and art patrons will get their kicks out of Route 66-themed quilts at this year’s Great Lakes Seaway Trail Quilt Show.

A collection of 56 quilts honoring the historic highway that spans eight states will be part of the quilt show, which expands to two weekends this year and to three additional buildings in addition to the three floors and nine rooms of the Seaway Trail Discovery Center at 401 W. Main St.

This year’s “Beauty of the Byways” theme is attracting quilts from U.S. states and Canada along with special traveling exhibits. The show runs Saturday and Sunday and March 23 and 24.

Quilts also will be featured at United Presbyterian Church at Broad and East Main streets; the 1808 Samuel Hooker House, which houses the Sackets Harbor Arts Center at 119 W. Main St., and the Augustus Sackett Mansion, 110 W. Main St.

Patricia L. Blair of Mount Baldy, Calif., and Kelly Gallagher-Abbott of Fort Collins, Colo., created the Route 66 Challenge in 2011. Mrs. Blair said they got the idea to create the competition after attending a “Road to California” quilt show in Ontario, Calif., in 2007. They decided to expand on the road theme to focus on Route 66. The pair won’t be in attendance at the Sackets Harbor show.

The show’s first stop was in Colorado in 2012. It’s made about 10 stops.

Artwork on the quilts, which measure 18-by-24-inches, include open road desert scenes, historic landmarks, road maps and abstract designs along the Route 66 byway of the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois.

“The only state not well-represented is Kansas,” Mrs. Blair said in a phone interview from Mount Baldy. “But the highway only went through a little tiny corner of that state.”

Along with tangible themes like cars and landmarks, Mrs. Blair said, the exhibit touches on the quilters’ personal memories. One quilt recreates an Oklahoma woman’s memory forged during World War II of seeing troop trains roll through her town.

“It’s become a very social exhibit because people reminisce,” Mrs. Blair said. “Unlike many exhibits, this one seems to touch peoples’ hearts.”

Route 66 began in the 1920s as a two-lane, 2,488-mile route from Chicago to Los Angeles. Route 66’s formal existence as the way to motor West following a trail blazed through history lasted six decades. The route found new life with National Scenic Byway designation in New Mexico in 2000, in Arizona and Illinois in 2005, and in Oklahoma in 2009.

“It doesn’t seem to matter what state people grew up in,” Mrs. Blair said. “Almost anyone of at least a certain age ran either a car, motorcycle or truck down that highway and has memories.”

Mrs. Blair, who is also a painter, created a 66-foot-long quilted map of Route 66 that will be included in the exhibit.

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The quilt show also will include 80 of the 2012 “Hoffman Challenge” quilts. The Hoffman Challenge was created in 1988 by Hoffman California Fabrics, which sponsors the contest. It chooses a fabric as the basis for the competition.

The collection coming to the Great Lakes Seaway Trail show includes eight Hoffman Challenge award winners, several of which fit the show’s “Beauty of the Byways” theme. The first-place quilt was made by Colleen Harvey of Nederland, Colo., a community on Colorado’s Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, established in 1918.

The Hoffman Challenge third place applique-design quilt was made by Judy Beskow from the Creole Nature Trail byway region of Louisiana. The “best use of Sulky thread” quilt was made by Carol Kolf of Sheridan, Wy., near the Bighorn Scenic Byway.

Besides demonstrations and vendors, the quilt show also will include an exhibit of the Orleans County Country Barn Quilt Trail, a 22-mile loop tour off the Great Lakes Seaway Trail byway with more than 40 barns painted with quilt patterns.

The quilting tradition is a popular cultural and arts heritage travel theme for the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, which has clusters of Mennonite and Amish quilters, particularly in the Chautauqua and St. Lawrence County regions of the byway.

The details
WHAT: The Great Lakes Seaway Trail Quilt Show
WHEN/WHERE: 10 a.m. to 5. p.m. this Saturday and March 23 and noon to 4 p.m. this Sunday and March 24 in Sackets Harbor. Show headquarters is Great Lakes Seaway Trail Discovery Center, 401 W. Main St. Quilts also will be displayed at the United Presbyterian Church at Broad and East Main streets; the 1808 Samuel Hooker House, which houses the Sackets Harbor Arts Center at 119 W. Main St., and the Augustus Sackett Mansion, 110 W. Main St.
COST: Tickets are $8 for adult general admission and $7 for senior citizens.
OF NOTE: Quilter/designer-in-residence Mary Knapp, author of “Star Quilts” pattern book by C&T Publishing, will be on hand with some of her quilts and autographing her book at the show’s first weekend only.
Also, Mrs. Knapp will present a free, limited-seating “Uniquely You” lecture at 1:30 p.m. this Saturday. She will offer a design class at 3 p.m. Saturday for $5. The class is limited to 20 participants based on first-come, first-served registrations at the show’s admission table. Class materials will be provided.
MORE INFO: www.seawaytrail.com/quilting or call the center 646-1000 ext. 203.
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