By Kassie Parisi
CLIFTON PARK — Visitors of the Clifton Park Senior Center will be treated to a new decoration for the next few months: a homemade quilt that took a year to put together.
The queen-sized quilt, which is hanging on a wall in the center, was created by a group of women. Between meeting for a few hours once a week at the center, and doing some of the work from home, each participant contributed to the project by working on her own block, and then ultimately connecting it to the other blocks in the quilt.
The quilt won the first place ribbon, as well as the best in show at the Saratoga County Fair. In December, it will be raffled off.
This isn’t the first time the senior center quilters have won recognition for their work. The wall in their quilting room is adorned with many different types of ribbons.
“I’m really proud,” Ruth Riddle, one of the quilters, said of their accomplishments over the years.
While the quilt for the fair is the groups’ largest project, they spend time creating other objects for the gift shop in the senior center, such as smaller quilts, and quilted squares to put hot cups of coffee on. They have a quilting cabinet at the senior center stocker with materials and fabrics that have been donated, as well as quilting books that contain patterns and quilting tips.
For the senior center quilters, quilting is an art that can lend itself to other areas of life as well. Peggy Trzcimskin, one of the women who worked on the quilt, explained that figuring out which colors fit should be put together and the way that shapes should be organized allows her to carry over creativity into other things, such as organizing plant displays.
There are a few computer programs that help with measuring shapes for quilts, but for the most part, the senior center quilters rely on their creativity. Riddle that the way she learned which things worked best was through simply trial and error. Ideas for designs and shapes can be found every where, they said, and they already have a few ideas circulating for next year’s quilt.
Some quilts take longer than others, though. The group recently created a quilt that featured stained-glass designs, and that took two years to make, instead of one.
At the end of the day, though the quilters take special care to make sure that the colors and shapes in their quilts flow together seamlessly, for them, it’s a low-stress, rewarding activity. Many of the quilters attested to the fact that their quilting projects are calming for them.
“If you look at it, it’s a relaxing thing. Instead of, ‘I’ve got to work at it,” Riddle said. “You don’t have to work at it. You have to play at it and enjoy it. It’s so relaxing if you look at it that way.”