Quilt show to include a few, rare ‘man-made’ creations

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Ivan Curtis, 92, of Churdan might be the only man to exhibit quilts in the Greene County Quilt Show Aug. 5-7 in Jefferson. Curtis took up the hobby in 2008 while caring for his wife in her illness.

Of the 300 quilts that will hang in the Aug. 5-7 Greene County Quilt Show, at least five will be man made.

Retired Churdan farmer and World War Two veteran Ivan Curtis will have five large quilts in the show, which will be held at the Greene County Fairgrounds on East Lincoln Way in Jefferson.

Curtis, who’s been piecing quilts for eight years, has made a name for himself in the traditionally feminine art form. He had a one-man show featuring a dozen quilts at the Greene County Historical Museum in 2014.

He believes he’s “the only man around here who quilts. If there are others, I don’t know them.”

Since taking up the craft in 2008 at the suggestion of his daughter, Linda Curtis, Ivan Curtis had made about 50 quilts — selecting patterns, choosing fabric, cutting large pieces of cloth into small pieces, stitching those little bits together into artistically pleasing blocks and then arranging and sewing those blocks into large and beautiful bedspreads.

“My wife had Alzheimer’s,” Curtis said, “and I needed something to do when I was taking care of her. My daughter thought I’d like quilting, and she turned over a project she’d started and didn’t have time to work on to me. I realized I liked it, although my first attempt didn’t turn out so hot. It’s still in a closet, unquilted. It was too complicated for me.”

He’s come a long way, baby, since then.

He buys only high quality fabric, favors bright colors for his creations, most of which are king- and queen-size coverlets, and chooses intricate patterns from the thousands in a book he owns. Kathy Cranston of Jefferson quilts his creations on her long-arm quilting machine.

Curtis has sold a few of his fabrications and given away at least 20 of them. He has 10 awaiting distribution, and he’s working on two new ones right now, although most of his piecing takes place in wintertime when “there’s nothing else to do,” he says.

In the summertime, Curtis, 92, turns to his other passion and plays nine holes of golf every day.

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