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Stitch by stitch: Quilt show this weekend

Amador Valley Quilters hosting show in Livermore

Quilts have come a long way in the last century. For a look at the latest -- and a chance to win a gorgeous creation -- visit the Amador Valley Quilters show, "Colors of the Vineyard," this Saturday and Sunday in Livermore.

The show will have a drawing for the Opportunity Quilt, "Turkish Delight," which was created by the group, with six of its top quilters selected to do the applique in the center. Tickets are $1 for 1; $5 for 6; and $10 for 15.

"We make an Opportunity Quilt every other year, and on opposite years have our show," explained Mary Ann Soby, this year's publicity chairwoman for the show and last year's club president.

The show was previously held at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, Soby said, but this year the quilters are partnering with Livermore and, inspired by the vineyards, challenged members to create 16-inch-by-20-inch quilts, either horizontal or vertical, with a 3-inch sleeve in back for hanging, using the colors of the vineyards.

"The women had to interpret the theme in these small quilts," Soby said.

Other highlights of the show -- besides the hundreds of quilts on display -- will be guest lecturer Alex Anderson from "The Quilt Show" on TV, speaking at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. ($25); presentation of a Quilt of Valor; a quilting marketplace; a Modern Quilt exhibit; and the Challenge Quilts.

"Amador Valley Quilters is 35 years old. It started with just a handful of women," Soby said. "Now we have 270, last year we had 300."

The quilting group has dues of $40 per year and meets at 1:30 p.m. the second Saturday of each month at Pleasanton Middle School with speakers and workshops.

Members also use their talents and dedication to help people in need in the community. They make and donate 900 Community Quilts a year, giving them out quarterly to organizations including Agape Villages Foster Family Agency, Families Emergency Shelter Coalition, Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley, Tri-Valley Haven and Stanford Health Care-ValleyCare Medical Center.

The group also has an eight-week program at the Federal Correction Institution in Dublin to teach the women how to use a sewing machine to make the tops for the quilting.

"Our mission is outreach and education," Soby said. "It is quite a pleasure."

The Amador Valley Quilters, a nonprofit group, is also a branch of Quilts of Valor. Local members have created 300 such quilts, which they present on Veterans Day, Memorial Day, at veterans luncheon and homecomings for military members.

"At the show we will present two Quilts of Valor on Saturday," Soby said. "Volunteers make a quilt, typically red, white and blue or some patriotic design. People can submit the name of a veteran for a quilt."

Every year, the group holds a Budding Beginners program at Alden Lane Nursery. Members have also had a program to go into schools to teach quilting to youngsters.

Quilting has come a long way, since "grandma's day," Soby noted. Sometimes people will contact the group to pay to have a quilt made from a departed loved one's neckties or cotton clothing.

"T-shirt quilts are very popular, too," she noted.

The quilt show is being held at the Robert Livermore Community Center, 4444 East Ave. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. General admission is $10, and children under 12 are free.

For more information about the group, visit www.amadorvalleyquilters.org.

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