National Quilting Day is March 19, 2011
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National Quilting Day is March 19, 2011

The 20th anniversary of National Quilting Day will be Saturday, March 19, 2011. Here\'s a brief look at the history of National Quilting Day and how you can participate.

Have you noticed more announcements for local quilt shows in your area lately? The 2011 National Quilting Day is March 19th and quilting guilds across the nation are gearing up for this annual event. As a quilter, I'm getting busy to participate in my local National Quilting Day event.

If you weren't aware of National Quilting Day, I can give you a brief history about it. National Quilting Day began in 1991 and this year is the 20th anniversary. Started by the National Quilting Association, it's official date is the third Saturday of March, however, it has unofficially been expanded to include the whole month of March. We, quilters need more than one day to make a quilt.

According to the National Quilting Association, the third Saturday in March was set aside for quilters to work with what they have available using their scraps of fabric, to sort out their stashes, and to be creative in planning a quilt.

In the early days, when quilting was a favorite pastime, women would use whatever cloth and fabrics were available to them to make a quilt. These pioneers usually quilted for necessity making a much needed warm blanket for a child's bed or for someone else in the family. Fabrics were cut and pieced not paying attention to colors, patterns, or type of cloth. Early quilts were a mishmash of colors and fabrics and they served a purpose.

One of the ways that Quilter's today celebrate National Quilting Day is by digging into their stash of fabrics and creating a quilt that can be donated. Quilters across the country will also celebrate National Quilting Day by sponsoring or attending a quilt show, having a library exhibit in their town, getting together with other quilters to share fabrics and create a quilt to be donated, or to simply celebrate by visiting a quilt shop and purchasing fabric.

Each year, the National Quilting Association offers a free pattern that can be used for a quilt commemorating National Quilting Day. This year's pattern is a variation of the very popular Log Cabin which was a favorite among America's first settlers. The pattern is for a 64 x 64 quilt and it's designed by Linda G. Miller. Of course, you may use any pattern you wish but if you're at a loss for a pattern or want to try something new, take a look at this one entitled, “Build your Own Log Cabin” by clicking on the title.

You're not a quilter? No problem. You can still participate in National Quilting Day by attending a local quilt show or checking to see if there's a quilt exhibit at your local library or somewhere else in town.

This year, in my town, quilters will be gathering to create receiving blankets for a local nonprofit that is in need of them. Receiving blankets are very small for a quilt and are made quickly. Stashes of scrap fabrics will be on hand and each quilter will bring their sewing machine and notions. We're hoping to complete about twenty of these receiving blankets by the end of the day on Saturday, March 19th.

Most people don't realize that quilters make large donations to their communities every year, and it's not just on National Quilting Day. We enjoy quilting but there's only so many quilts that each of us can make for ourselves and family members. So, we'll use our stash of fabrics or find a new pattern and whip up a quilt to donate to a local organization. Quilts are always appreciated by people who don't know how to quilt or in need. It's very self-rewarding.

As we get closer to National Quilting Day on March 19th, check your local newspapers to find out where a quilting event will be in your town. If you do have a nearby quilt show, it's a great family event to bring everyone to see these works of art done in fabric. Quilting isn't for necessity anymore as it was with the early settlers. There are many forms of quilting and some of them are very artistic. Whatever you do, enjoy this year's National Quilting Day.

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Excellent article

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