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Cumberland County group makes heirlooms legit - abc27 WHTM

Cumberland County group makes heirlooms legit

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Inch by inch. Stitch by stitch. Members of the LeTort Quilt Guild are on a mission. They hope to document the origin and age of at least one-thousand quilts from Cumberland County.

"We do this for every quilt because what we're looking for are patterns, trends and styles," said project director, Barbara Garrett.

As part of a move that's gaining national traction, the guild members are offering Cumberland County residents the chance to have their pre-1970 quilts documented for free.

At a recent documentation session in Carlisle, 80 quilts owned by the Cumberland County Historical Society were carefully unrolled, examined, photographed and logged. Family notes about the quilts were also included. But, sometimes, a family's version of a quilt's history doesn't verify with what the documenters find.

"Grandma dies and the family brings a quilt down and say to us," said Garrett of a typical situation involving a family heirloom quilt. "They say, 'Oh, nobody I know quilted, so Great-grandma must have made this.' When, in fact, great-grandma didn't because the fabric used in the quilt is newer. The family just never saw the quilt before."

Only seven months into their project, the guild is already more than half way to their goal of documenting over a thousand quilts. The examination process is thorough. Quilt Documenter Dawn Heefner jokingly likens their efforts to a fictional TV series: QSI Cumberland County.

"We are quilt detectives," said Heefner. " And I always say we're kind of forensic quilt historians because we have the finished thing and we kind of have to build the story backward from there."

When the project's complete, the guild plans to publish a book featuring photos and stories of about 200 of the documented quilts.

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