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"Patches of Love" On Display for Mother's Day

Quilts are on display at Frenchtown Heritage Museum.

If you're looking for something unique to do for your mother on Mother's Day, consider bringing her to the third annual quilt exhibit at the .

The exhibit, entitled Patches of Love, opened Wednesday and runs through June 11 at the museum located at 1121 N. Second St. in St. Charles. There will be special hours on Mother's Day, noon to 3 p.m., and each mother and daughter attending the show together will be given a gift that day.

"We're not usually open on Sundays, but we do so for Mother's Day," Dorothy Boshears, the museum's director, said. "It's a nice thing to do for Mother's Day."

The exhibit features more than 30 quilts, many between 50 and 100 years old. "It's one of our better attended exhibits," Boshears said. "I didn't realize there were so many quilters still active until I started this. I'm amazed at how many are still quilting."

Boshears is not one of the quilting crowd.

"I tried it a couple of times," she said. "I don't have the patience."

While some of the quilts on display were donated to the museum, the majority are on loan. "People bring them in, or I go around begging," Boshears said. "I try to get different quilts every year. I've been pretty successful getting a variety of them."

Among the donors is Marsha Adams, who brought in six quilts for the display--made by her sister and her grandmothers.

"My family hand quilted for years and years. I grew up with it," she said. "All the women in my family quilt. We always did it. We all sewed. It was fun to take scraps and make them into something you could lay on a bed and cover up with."

As Boshears  walks through the display, it turns out every quilt has a story. "This baby quilt I found piled on top of a garbage can," she said. "I grabbed it, took it home and laundered it."

Among the unique items are a quilt from the 1920s made by Mary T. (Rauch) Blodgett made out of neckties. Another quilt, from the 1930s, was made out of men's suits. A more modern quilt--the Jimmy Buffett quilt--was made out of T-shirts, the centerpiece being one from a Buffett concert.

In one display case sits a white, satin wedding quilt that had been dubbed "the sick blanket."

"If a kid didn't feel good, the mother would say 'I'll get a bucket and the sick blanket,'" Boshears said.

While many of the quilts look brand new, some show holes and the stress of years of wear and tear. "Some of these have been well used," Boshears said. "Now they make them and put them away."

Boshears believes nostalgia plays a big part in the appeal of quilting.

"It brings back memories to a lot of women of either their mother or grandmother quilting," she said. "It was just a quiet, relaxing time for women to get together. That has appeal--it reminds us of a time when things weren't moving so fast."

Adams offers another reason. "I think they're beautiful pieces of handwork," she said.

Admission to Patches of Love is $2 for adults. The museum is open from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and will be open from noon-3 p.m. Sunday for Mother's Day.

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