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One Stitch at a Time

In Louisville, young artists master a traditional skill while expressing their artistic side in the Louisville Nimble Thimbles Quilt Club’s annual kids quilt show.

“This is the third year we’ve had the show, and the idea is for the children to just show what they do,” says Nimble Thimbles Chair Marilou Jacob. “They did not have judging at all. They didn’t have to be better than somebody else. It was just for them to put their quilt up and let people see what they’ve done.”

The show is welcoming to all quilters under the age of 18, and participants aren’t limited by strict rules. They’re allowed to have help with their projects, which Jacob says is one of the positive aspects of the show.

“It creates an opportunity for the kids to interact with their teacher, or with their grandmother, or whoever is teaching them,” she says.

The 2019 show was held in July at the Jeffersontown Fire 2 Station, and quilters had the opportunity to showcase their work and talk about the process. The work leading up to the show is a valuable experience for participants, says Jacob.

“They start to develop a style [and] some opinion about what they like,” she says. “You work with fractions; now you understand what a half is, or a quarter, or an eighth. And you see it in action. They also—and I think this is really important—they have learned to meet a deadline to have it done at the time it has to be done. [They see] the benefit of starting a project and seeing it all the way thorugh. All these life skills are developed in quilting.”

To those who say quilting is a vanishing art form, Jacob says otherwise.

“It’s not something that’s disappeared, nor is it going anywhere,” says Jacob. “The girls say, ‘I want to keep on making quilts. I’ve got some ideas. I want to do something more.’ It’s doing nothing but growing.”

This segment is part of Kentucky Life episode #2507, which originally aired on November 17, 2019. Watch the full episode.