Arts & Culture

A stitch above the rest

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  • Judi Patrucco, a certified quilting judge with the National Quilt Association, checks every stitch for quality.
    Judi Patrucco, a certified quilting judge with the National Quilt Association, checks every stitch for quality. Bob Sofaly , The Beaufort Gazette

    Entries into the Sea Island Quilters Guild "Southern Comforts" Quilt Show will do more than warm the body. Their beauty will warm the soul.

    The show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in the Charles Lind Brown Activity Center in Beaufort. Admission is $5.

    More than 146 works in 12 categories, including bed quilts, wall hangings and clothing, will be a part of the show. There also will be special challenge quilts made to celebrate Beaufort's Tricentennial.

    Entries were judged by Judi Gunter, a certified National Quilt Association judge. Those attending may also vote for Viewer's Choice. Gunter recently spent an entire day in a guild member's home on Lady's Island examining the items that will be on exhibit.

    Using a miniature flashlight, Gunter examines each piece by running her fingers over each stitch, feeling for workmanship in curves and borders, and carefully scrutinizing the bindings on the edges. She called one large bed quilt "reminiscent of vintage 1800s quilts," and she enjoyed the recurring themes.

    "Their relation to nature and bright colors are a bit different from other guilds because you are surrounded by the Lowcountry," Gunter said.

    Joey Patrucco, co-chairwoman of the show with Donna McCoy, enjoys hearing comments from a certified judge.

    "One of the reasons we get judges is to learn the good things we do -- what we do well and what needs improvement," she said.

    In addition to the show, a boutique area will offer handmade quilts and other merchandise.

    A silent auction will include quilting lessons. A quilt made by guild members is available through a prize drawing. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5.

    The 80-plus member guild, with members' ages ranging from 13 to 80, donates more than 100 quilts each year to community service groups such as Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse, the Child Abuse Prevention Association, Beaufort Memorial Hospital and the Women's Center of Beaufort. They also support Friends of Caroline Hospice and offer quilting workshops to Port Royal Parks and Leisure Service senior citizens, some of whose work will be featured in the show.

    Quilt show committee member Karen Guinn was impressed by how the intricate, hand-pieced works offer memories of Beaufort's past and present.

    "These are truly works of art," she said.