The Free Press, Mankato, MN

April 18, 2013

Stitch artists: Deep Valley Quilters hosting 2013 Quiltfest

By Hilary Urban
Special to The Free Press

MANKATO — Memories and creativity are constantly being sewn together by the Deep Valley Quilters.

And the guild will be showing off its passion for sewing at the 2013 Quiltfest in Mankato this weekend.

The show, which will be held at the Mankato National Guard Armory, will be filled with intricate quilts and antiques for the community to admire and purchase. The bi-annual show will include 17 different vendors selling merchandise and tools to the public.

Co-chair Lynn Vogel Turbes is delighted for the show to open. She explained that each show has grown in size along with the popularity of quilting. The first Quiltfest was held in a small church basement.

“Quilting itself has just really grown,” said Vogel Turbes, who is co-chairing the event with Nancy Legg.

 Now the large show displays about 200 quilts, including those that were part of the “Fat Quarter Challenge” — a challenge done every year to test the abilities of the quilters.

“Everyone is given the same fabric and is challenged to create a unique quilt,” Vogel Turbes said, adding that she’s excited to see the new creations and believes the designers get better every year. “There is always something new. Everyone wants to captivate the audience.”

A special part of the show this year is quilt appraiser Jean Carlton. Some antique or highly detailed quilts could be worth a lot of money. Carlton will be able to tell quilt owners what theirs are worth (which many quilters, Vogel Turbes said, feel is extremely important to know).

There will also be bed turnings at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on both days. During this event, 32 quilts will be laid out on a bed. The audience will see the quilts displayed as well as learn the unique stories behind each of them.

The Quiltfest gives a chance for quilters to show off their work while raising money for the guild. The Deep Valley Quilters also donate a large portion of the proceeds to women’s health groups in the Mankato area. They also help surrounding communities by donating quilts to places such as Habitat for Humanity and local churches.

The grand prize for the raffle is a queen-sized quilt titled “No Diamonds in the Sky.” The large quilt, which displays detailed black and brown diamond shapes, was put together by members of the guild themselves. Raffle tickets can be bought for $1.

Vogel Turbes has been sewing since she was a young girl. She began by sewing outfits for her toys, and by junior high was sewing her own clothes. She decided to join the Deep Valley Quilters guild in 2001 has been dedicated to the group ever since.

“I have developed my best friendships through this group of women,” she said.

In 35 years of existence, the guild has grown from six initial members to about 100. They meet at 6:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the First Congregational United Church of Christ. It is made up of members ages 18 to well over 80, along with about a dozen mother-daughter combinations. The quilters also go on retreats two to three times a year.

The guild is always welcoming new members and will have a signup at Quiltfest for those who are interested in joining.