By Tiffani Sherman | Times Correspondent
People may associate quilting with little old ladies, but quilters want you to know they are as colorful and interesting as the blankets they stitch. ¶ Their talents will be on display Saturday when five quilting guilds from around Pinellas County gather from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to celebrate National Quilting Day at Largo's Heritage Village. It's the first time all the county's guilds have done an event together.
"The thinking sometimes is it's only disabled old ladies who (quilt) and that's not true," said Joan Scaffidi, 73, of North Reddington Beach. She's the president of the Largo Cracker Quilters, one of the guilds that will be at Heritage Village.
Her guild includes both children and men who represent a variety of backgrounds. "It's never too early to learn to quilt," Scaffidi said.
Members of all the guilds will bring completed work and will teach visitors all about quilting during lectures and hands-on events.
"Even people who don't know anything about quilting can come learn something about this traditional American craft," said Ellen Babb, media relations director for Heritage Village.
Susan Cobb, 62, of Clearwater, a member of the Largo Cracker Quilters, said she isn't sure what inspired her to take up quilting. She has been doing it since the 1970s but didn't meet anyone else who quilts until she retired and moved to Pinellas County from Chicago in 2004.
"My first quilts I made were completely by hand, just like our foremothers," Cobb said.
Now she uses a machine to piece some squares together, but still does the quilting by hand. "It's what creates the puffiness," she said.
At Saturday's event, quilters will teach visitors about tools, techniques and shapes. The Procrastinating Quilters guild of Palm Harbor is bringing fabric shapes so people can put patterns together. Another guild will bring applique hearts so people can try that technique. More quilters will demonstrate the three different kinds of quilting: machine, hoop and lap.
"The variety is infinite, whatever you and your mind can think of, you can probably design a quilt," Scaffidi said.
National Quilting Day will also include lectures about topics such as how to care for quilts. "A lot of people have those family heirloom quilts and need to know how to take care of them," Babb said. That lecture will be at noon.
The event is free and open to the public. "I think it's an event for anyone interested in art, history, or just spending a nice day in the village," Babb said. "It's wonderful to bring together this many quilting guilds."