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Expert quilter will share her passion for giving old quilts new life

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An expert quilter will visit the area in late May to inspire crafters to revive old quilts and to inspire quilters in general.

Colourful Stitches creator, designer, author and poet Gyleen X. Fitzgerald will visit the area on Tuesday, May 27, and Wednesday, May 28, to lecture on reviving unfinished antique quilts and to teach her renowned quilting techniques.

For her feature presentation at the 7 p.m. May 27 North Country Quilting Guild meeting, Mrs. Fitzgerald will present her lecture, “Quilts: Unfinished Stories with New Endings,” and she will tell the group how she transformed unfinished quilt tops and blocks dating from 1930 to 1959 into completed quilts using the fabrics of today. This event will be at Black River Elementary School, 160 LeRay St.

Visitors are welcome but there is a $3 fee for non-guild members.

Then, at a 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. workshop on May 28, Mrs. Fitzgerald will teach at All Souls Universalist Unitarian Church, 1330 Gotham St., Watertown. Participants will learn how to use her trademarked “butterfly seam” technique to make a carpenter’s wheel pattern block that can become the centerpiece of an original quilt.

The workshop will offer participants an opportunity to find inspiration for entries in the 2014 biennial North Country Quilting Guild quilt show to be held June 6 to 8 in Clayton.

The workshop fee is $40 for North Country Quilt Guild members and $50 for nonmembers. Register online at www.ncqg.org or contact Erin Rumsey at 210-667-5357 or write to her at erumsey74@gmail.com.

Mrs. Fitzgerald, a retired chemical engineer, has designed quilting tools, techniques and patterns, and written books of patterns, quilting history, haiku poetry and a quilting-theme children’s book. She has launched three businesses: Colourful Stitches in 1999; FPI Publishing in 2005 and Tools by Gyleen in 2010.

Mrs. Fitzgerald was born in Philadelphia but grew up in Taiwan and Japan. She says that her formative years in the Far East helped her develop a love for “simplistic artistry.” She began needlework at age 4 and has pursued artistic expression in drawing and quiltmaking ever since.

The quilter has appeared on Lifetime TV where she has shown seamstresses how to finish antique quilts and has helped advance the “new spirit” of traditional quilting.

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