Military Matters: Quilting Is Similar To Military Service

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It's an annual tradition at the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Discovery Center - a quilt show to honor the area's cultural heritage.

At the 12th annual show this weekend, 120 quilts from 119 quilters all honor the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

"What's unique about our quilt show is our quilts have stories," said Lynette Lundy-Beck, Great Lakes Seaway Trail Project Manager.

More than a few of those stories were painstakingly stitched by members of the military community.

"It just kind of ties them in with the local community that much more," said Sergeant First Class Mary O'keefe (Ret.).

O'Keefe, a quilter, even quilted while deployed to Afghanistan.

She says military service and quilting have a lot in common.

"Attention to detail and a focus on what you're doing and I guess you want to say accomplishing the mission which would be finishing the project," she said.

Quilter Erin Miller is a military spouse.

"My husband's always deployed. He's always gone. Third tour to Afghanistan, three to Iraq," she said.

Miller says quilting helps her get through it.

She took the challenge to make an authentic 1812 era quilt to heart.

"I wanted to hand dye the fabrics the way they would have been done in the 1800s with natural ingredients that would have been found in this area," said Miller.

She used blackberries, coffee, cabbage and black beans.

She even used the roses her husband sent for Valentine's Day from Afghanistan.

You can see these quilts for yourself March 17 and 18.

They will be on display from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Discovery Center, the old Sackets Mansion, and the Arts Association Building.

Admission is $5.

Military families get in free.

For more information, visit the Great Lakes Seaway Trail website at www.seawaytrail.com/quilting.

Friday, September 19, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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