There’s plenty of credit to go around on the Little Balkans Quilt Guild’s annual donation quilt.

There’s plenty of credit to go around on the Little Balkans Quilt Guild’s annual donation quilt.

Each year guild members create a full-size quilt that is given away in a drawing at the conclusion of the Little Balkans Quilt Show, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday on the lower level of Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium.

Pegg Smith, Sherry Jagels and Debbie Potter were the quilters in charge of the project this year, a full-size double nine-patch quilt in a Christmas theme. It’s value has been appraised at $2,300.

“My idea was to do a Christmas quilt, and Pegg came up with the design,” Jagels said.

“Pegg is the heart of this project,” Potter added , “whether she wants to take credit for it or not.”

Well, she doesn’t.

“I traced it out, and I made a kit for every block in the quilt,” Smith said. “The ladies of the guild made the blocks and gave them back to me. There is a list on the back of the quilt that gives all the ladies’ names and what block they made.”

Barbara Milk, Parsons, not a guild member, did the hand quilting.

“The board wants the donation quilt done a year ahead of time, and it would have taken so long so long for us to do it, so we paid Barbara to do the hand quilting,” Jagels said. “That way, it was done in time to get to the Bourbon County Fair, where it won first place and best of show in hand quilting.”

“Sherry has hauled the quilt all over creation,” Smith said.

And the quilt has an array of awards as a result. In addition to the Bourbon County honors, it won first place in embroidery and an award for best hand quilting at the Crawford County Fair; first place in the 2010 Little Balkans Quilt Show; second place at the Kansas State Fair; and a blue ribbon at the Oklahoma Winter Quilt Show.

All of the ribbons will be mounted and displayed with the quilt at the show, and the person who wins the quilt will be able to take the awards home as well.

Those who don’t win the quilt can make a smaller, similar version at home.

“I found all the patterns on the Internet, and people kept asking for the patterns on the big quilt so they could make their own,” Smith said. “I couldn’t do that because not all the patterns are copyright-free.”

Instead, she found patterns that are free of copyright and is making a smaller quilt using them for display purposes. Patterns for this quilt will be available for purchase.

Potter, Smith and Jagels will also be operating the guild store at the quilt show, which will feature potholders, table runners, aprons, coasters, pin cushions and other items made by guild members.

The three women are sometimes called the “Three Musketeers” because they frequently sew together. There is another link as well. All three  are all educators.

Potter, a recognized educator working with special needs children, retired but will be working as a part-time community based-teacher and will also be teaching some classes at Pittsburg State University.

Smith and Jagels also credit her with guiding them in their careers.

“I was a counselor’s secretary and then a para, then I went back to school in 2000 and became a school psychologist and work in Missouri,” Smith said. “I studied under the master — Debbie.”

Jagels has been an early childhood special education teacher at Girard since 1993.

“Debbie trained me too,” she said.

Tickets on the donation quilt are $1, and are available in advance from Little Balkans Quilt Guild members. They may also be purchased at the quilt show. Drawing for the winner will be at 3 p.m. Sunday.

“Proceeds will go for programs for the guild and supplies for the community quilts,” Jagels said.
Among those receiving donated community quilts are fire and tornado victims, the Via Christi Cancer Center, Children Advocacy Center and the Alzheimer’s Association.  Since 1998 the guild has given out 1,354 quilts and has another 75 to be given before the end of the year.

Guild members have made quilts and pillow cases as Christmas gifts for members of the Kiwanis Club and this year are making quilting Christmas stockings.

“We’re also making quilts for the Salvation Army this year so that every dolly they give out at Christmas will have a quilt,” Jagels said.

She said that she learned quilting from her beloved grandmother. Potter thinks her grandfather might have had something to do with her love of quilting.

“My grandfather was a professional artist,” Potter said. “I didn’t get that from him, but I think I did get the desire to do something.”
Jagels has even found a way to bridge her quilting and her teaching.

“I use quilting scraps with my small children,” she said. “We glue them on everything.”