October 10, 2009

Lighthouse Quilters' show a riot of color and artistry

Outside the Case High School fieldhouse, eighth graders from Racine Youth Sports were playing football in the biting cold Saturday afternoon.

But it was inside where the real action was going on, as the Lighthouse Quilters Guild held its biennial Lighthouse Legacies Quilt Show, which continues Sunday. Well over 250 quilts were on display as scores of women -- quilting is still mostly a women's avocation -- roamed the aisles, oohing over this and that, details of stitching and color that most of us wouldn't even notice.

But which added up to a delightfully varied world of color and pattern, artistry and craftsmanship. Everywhere you looked, there was a new design, or a new take on an old design. Many of us think first of the traditional quilt patterns, and they were well represented. But so were so-called "art" quilts, as well as new takes on flowers, birds, animals, geometric shapes; even the Queen of Spades made an appearance. And then there were quilts entered in the Guild's scrap challenge, as well as a traveling exhibit of Water Challenge Quilts by the Professional Art Quilters Alliance of Chicago, comprised of more than 50 panels with H2O as their theme.

But enough talk; let's see some quilts!

Mary Piper, one of two Honored Quilters, with Hummingbird Heaven

Honored Quilter Rhonda Rodero with Desert Blaze

Barb Van Ruden shows detail on Donna Derstadt's
Reminiscence At Last! which won Best in Show

Sonja Bengston with Manga Tack (Many Thanks in Swedish)

No quilter was happier than Sonja Bengston of Racine, whose Manga Tack quilt won 1st place in the First Judged Entry category -- a category for quilters new to competition. And in fact, not only was her winning quilt the first she ever entered in a show, it is the first quilt she ever made! Bengston retired a few years ago after a career as a first-grade teacher and bought a sewing machine. "I looked at it for a few years and said to myself, 'I wonder what this does?' " she said.

Finally, she drew on a sheet of paper, freehand, what she wanted one block to look like ... and then, over about a month, she sewed it. Next month, another block. The complete quilt took her about a year. "When it was done, I put it in the bedroom, and the colors didn't go with anything. So my husband and I wallpapered, painted and changed everything to go with the quilt."

The name, Manga Tack was a natural, she said, giving thanks to the "many ladies who gave me advice."

Sandra Blott's Field of Poppies, 1st Place, Quilted Wall Hanging, Group

Winter Garden by Susan Wojciechowski,
1st Place Appliqued/Pieced Lap Quilt

Mary Piper's Nine-Patch Hourglass: Best Hand Quilting

Delores Poplar's Square-Dancing Dots, 3rd Place Applique Lap Quilts

Detail of Christy Schliesmann's Diamond Flowers,
2nd Place winner in the Pieced Wall Hanging category

Detail from Here a sheep, there a sheep by Jerianne Feiten

Detail from Sandra Blott's Woodland Creatures

Diane Dunaway's Queen of Quilts:
1st Place Wall Hanging, Mixed Techniques

The traveling exhibit of Water Challenge Quilts

Small part of wall of quilts made for charities and servicemen

This vendor's material may find its way into next year's quilts


  1. Love those quilts for charities and our Armed Forces! Maybe art and heart aren't mutually exclusive after all.

  2. Just beautiful. That is some talent.

  3. Keep up the great work!

  4. Impressive first timer, Sonja Bengston. First class quilt, first class talent, first prize. Beautiful!!!