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Local quilters win at quilt show

The Akron Hometowner of Akron, Iowa

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Although she's been making quilts for more than 60 years, this was the first time she won anything at a quilt show.

And Vivian McPherson, of Hawarden, won three awards.

"I was so excited," said McPherson, who makes large bed-size quilts and had entered 10 in the "Quilts: A Symphony of Color," the 11th Biennial Show held Sept. 19 - 20 in Sioux City. "My 'Eureka' (quilt) was the first thing you saw when you walked into the show.”

McPherson received Quilt Piecing - Best of Show with her Eureka-patterned quilt. This quilt also won first place in the Large Quilt Division.

McPherson's quilt, called "Marie Antoinette: The Queen In Her Court," received an Honorable Mention Honor in the Large Quilt Division.

"I began quilting even before my own children were born," said McPherson, who many may remember from when she and her husband owned and operated McPherson Five & Dime in Akron. "I made quilts for my children through the years, but probably in the last 20 to 25 years, I've worked more and more at it — about the time I quit sewing clothes for my girls.”

McPherson makes about two large quilts a month. On average, she makes about 24 quilts a year, of which she gives her three children's families four or five quilts each year.

Most of the quilts she completes every Step from choosing the fabric colors and patterns to finishing them by machine quilting. In the past, McPherson even hand-quilted her own quilts but after developing with arthritis, she uses a sewing machine.

With the Eureka quilt, it was around Christmas when McPherson saw the quilt pattern in a magazine called "Poinsettia." However, she had enough red-and-green colored Christmas quilts so she chose fabric in burgundies and teals at Hawarden's In-Weave fabric shop. The quilt pattern, Poinsettia, was original called, "Eureka.”

"The judge really liked the different color combination," said McPherson.

The Eureka and The Queen In Her Court were too large for McPherson to machine quilt on her machines so this step was completed by Kristen Hoftyzer of Boyden.

"I love to sew," said McPherson, adding that quilting is her relaxation and it fills up the empty hours since her husband passed away. She is also a member of the Siouxland Samplers Quilt Guild.

"I love to see patterns come out of the fabrics I choose," she told The Akron Hometowner. "I just love to put the pieces together, do something different each time.”

The Eureka quilt has more than 5,000 pieces.

"After a while you just quit counting pieces," laughed McPherson, who places the quilts on beds, quilting racks and uses them as wall hangings. She has made quilted chair cushions and many other quilts for practical uses.

"They are made to be used," she said. "That's what quilts are for.”

She remembers when her mother received an electric sewing machine — McPherson wasn't allowed to plug it in for sewing. She had to turn the machine's wheel by hand.

Back in the 1930s and 1940s, McPherson also helped her grandmother make quilts. One, called a Yo-Yo Quilt, she remembers cutting out fabric circles and sewing the pieces into "yo-yos," which are small gathered circles. The circles are then sewed together and attached to quilt backing.

McPherson was already busy making another quilt when The Akron Hometowner visited.

Copyright 2009 The Akron Hometowner, Akron, Iowa. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: October 14, 2009

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