There are two distinctly Langley quilts at the Centennial Museum in Fort Langley that will go on display from Sept. 11 to Jan. 7.
Along with them will be 40 or so other quilts in an exhibition to honour the history of the Fraser Valley Quilters' Guild.
"It's the 35th anniversary of the Quilter's Guild," said Jane Lemke, arts and heritage curator with the Museum. "That guild has spawned almost all of the quilters guilds around the Fraser Valley. We wanted to profile their heritage."
The Guild, with Lemke's help, chose items created by 25 quilters to be displayed along with the "Friendship Pattern" quilt the Museum was given in 1987 by Bob Johnson.
Made in 1931, the red and white quilt features names of residents in the Murrayville area at the time. There's no doubt this is a Langley item.
As Lemke looked at it, she commented that each square, "Looks like a different stitcher, but I don't actually know that. It could have been members of the Sharon United Church [whose names are on it], but I'm only guessing."
Quilts often come with some sketchy history, but the other quilt, which will be confined in an artifacts section of the exhibit, spells its own origins out.
"The sampler is from 1879," Lemke said. "It was made by a nine-year-old Mary Jane Mavis."
Together with sewing machines, a spinning wheel, and antique thimbles, the frail sampler will find a temporary home in the museum.
"It's too fragile to hang," commented Lemke.
Hosting the exhibit at the museum is a homecoming for the Guild. In 1977 local quilters met in the building's basement to organize their group. There are now more than 250 quilters from across the Fraser Valley.
One of the oldest and most successful projects of the Guild is the creation of preemie quilts for premature babies in incubators at BC Children's Hospital. The group makes 400 to 600 each year to help hold heat into the incubator, but as Lemke explains, they are also a loving touch.
"It's more of a caring touch to it, a soft baby aspect," she said.
Because the quilts can't go on the baby in the incubator, they go over the incubator in an expression of caring.
Families of the preemies take the blankets home with them. Lemke noted that in at least one case, the "signature" on the blanket llowed a family to match their quilt up to its creator many years later.
The opening reception for Sewn Together: Quilts of the Fraser Valley Quilters' Guild will be Sept. 13, 7 to 9 p.m. at Langley Centennial Museum, 9135 King Street.
For those interested in quilting, the Museum will be hosting demonstrations on Sept. 22, Oct. 20, Nov. 17, and Dec. 1. More information is available at www.langleymuseum.org.
@ Copyright 2013