Seeking a new venue for its 34th annual show, Three Rivers Quilters placed its bet on a betting site – The Meadows Racetrack & Casino.
The South Hills-based nonprofit was a winner, drawing an estimated 2,000 patrons over three days – Thursday through Saturday – in its first year at the North Strabane Township facility.
“It’s been wonderful here,” Ruth Ann Lowery of Nottingham Township, Three Rivers member and publicity chairwoman of the event, said Saturday morning. She stood near the entrance to the show, next to a quilt depicting a harness horse and driver, a tribute to the host location.
Inside, quilting aficionados triumphed as well, seeing nearly 200 quilts that were mostly as dazzling as the art form itself. Quilting involves sewing two or more layers of fabric together, usually creating designs on the top layer. The work can be painstaking, but the results eye-popping.
This year’s theme was “Two-Color Quilts,” and many of the works were award-worthy. Prize money and ribbons were awarded in 12 judged categories.
Nancy Oldham of Salem, Va., captured Best of Show with “Opportunity,” featuring a woman in a blue outfit with a white hood reading a book. Lowery earned two awards, a second and third place. Martha Gandley of Monongahela took a second and Jean Froelich of Venetia a third.
Lowery has belonged to the Three Rivers guild for about a decade and is a past president of the organization, which was previously known as Keystone Quilters. She has been sewing “all my life,” but did not try quilting until the early 1990s. Now, she makes about 10 quilts a year, but gives away many as a community service. Lowery also teaches quilting at locations in Finleyville and Mt. Lebanon.
Reaching out to the community is one of the guild’s objectives. It said in a statement it donated 118 quilts to three organizations last year: Ronald McDonald House, Angel’s Place and Wrapped in Love. Lowery said proceeds from a raffle of two quilts at last week’s show will benefit Greater Washington County Food Bank.
There also were 17 vendors on-hand during the event, including Sew Much Fun of Peters Township, Quilters Corner of Finleyville and Gloria Horn Sewing Studio of Mt. Lebanon. Two vendors were from Ohio.
The quilters group is already planning for the 2018 show, which will return to The Meadows. It will take place April 26-28, with a theme of “Seasons.”
It should have people in stitches – in a positive way.