Wednesday, May 30, 2007

'Every quilt has a story to tell'

By Alison Bell
Niagara Falls

NIAGARA FALLS -- For Debbie Toth, there's no better feeling than stitching together hundreds of small pieces of fabric to create a piece of artwork often associated with sleeping.

Toth is a quilter, and just like the other approximately 50 members of Rainbow Country Quilters, she takes advantage of every opportunity to display her work.

"I made my first quilt about 10 years ago and there's no going back," she said, while sifting through about 175 quilts on display at the group's second-ever show Friday. "It's a creative outlet."

The show was presented at Drummond Hill Presbyterian Church. Quilts were draped over every bench in the parish, and hung on the walls and in front of the stained glass windows. There were hand-stitched quilts, art quilts, foundation quilts and even a stained glass quilt, which has a design that is assembled to look like a stained glass window.

"Even if you use a sewing machine, there is so much work that goes into every quilt, piecing together the pattern," said Toth. "When you first look at a set of instructions and it says to cut out 200, half-inch squares, it can be intimidating. But you just do a little bit at a time."

Toth said quilters often have what they call "UFOs" -- unfinished objects.

"I have a piece at home right now that I'm still working on. I've finished the top, but I haven't gotten around to quilting it together," she said.

When a quilt is finished, it must be labeled. On the back of each quilt is a piece of material containing the name of the quilter, the quilt's size, year it was made and colour.

"Quilts are personal and individual. Every quilt has a story to tell," said Toth.

Toth has a room in her Niagara Falls home dedicated to quilting, but, she said, she can use another one. Whenever she has the opportunity, she shops for new fabric that may come in handy one day.

"We travel around the region together, looking for new pieces," she said. "We shop hop."

The Rainbow Country Quilters meet at Drummond Hill Presbyterian Church, 6136 Lundy's Lane.

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