Quilt gets national exposure


A handmade quilt depicting Montana history is making some history of its own in a national quilting magazine.

"Petticoats 'n' Prairies," a depiction of women in Montana history that was raffled off by the Hi-Line Quilt Guild during Festival Days last year, will have a full-page spread in the November issue of Quilters Newsletter Magazine.

Guild president Suzanne Huston said she had had local photographer Steve Helmbrecht make some photo transparencies of the quilt, which she sent off to the magazine.

"The next thing I knew, they contacted me and wanted to see the actual quilt," Huston said.

Hill County resident Betsi Pollington, who won the quilt in the raffle, loaned the quilt to the guild to send to the magazine. She said she also allows it to be displayed at quilt shows and at the Clack Museum.

"I thought it was the most beautiful quilt I've ever seen," said Pollington, an interior designer who collects memorabilia of pioneer women. "In fact, I'm designing a room around it."

The guild is working on its next hand-applique quilt, "Springtime in the Bears Paws." Some of the completed work will be displayed at the quilt show at the Havre Holiday Village Shopping Center this weekend during Festival Days.

Huston designed "Petticoats 'n' Prairies," making patterns from photos of women in Montana, including American Indians and white settlers, some of them Hi-Line women.

Members of the guild cut the fabric, some of it hand-dyed, and sewed it into representations of the photos. They also cut 1-by-1-inch blocks and sewed them together with sewing machines for the background.

Guild member Debbie Baker said the quilt had already drawn attention from around the country before the magazine expressed an interest. People from California inquired about it. Coloradans drove to Havre to see it, and the guild sold raffle tickets to people from places as far away as Ireland.

The quilt the guild raffled off in 2001 also drew widespread attention - it was won by a Kansas resident.

Huston said the guild originally decided not to have a quilt show this year, and was going to make it an event in alternating years. But the members changed their minds, especially after they found out the quilt would be in Quilters Newsletter Magazine.

"It's just a really active group. They kind of hated to see the momentum lost," she said.

The completed work on "Springtime in the Bears Paws" is one of two quilts-in-progress that will be displayed at the quilt show this weekend. A variety of completed quilted items, including baby quilts, purses and table runners, also will be displayed.

The guild is raffling off a sewing machine this year instead of a quilt. The machine, made by the German company Pfaff, was donated by the Carter business Quilting Hen. Tickets cost $2 each or three for $5.

A raffle will be held for items at the show. Huston said people can buy tickets for $1 or six for $5, then put the tickets into bags by the items being raffled. Winners for each item will be drawn from the bag by the item.

The guild uses proceeds from the raffles for local causes, including funding local quilting workshops and donating to the Natalie Patrick Foundation to help home economics programs in local schools.

Quilting demonstrations, both by members of the guild and product vendors, will be held at the show. Huston said the schedule of demonstrations for each day will be posted at the show.

The winners of the raffles will be drawn Sunday at 3 p.m., and people need not be present to win.

The quilt show will be held in the old Corral West location, next to Herberger's. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.


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