The traditions of quilting will be celebrated during Alexandria's Quilt Month in April.

The traditions of quilting will be celebrated during Alexandria's Quilt Month in April.

Dozens of old and new quilts will be displayed at the Alexandria Museum and Alexandria Public Library, along with other locations around the village. The theme this year, according to museum president Martha Sturgill, is "traditional" quilting.

Sarah Carter is the featured quilter for the celebration. She was born in 1872, died in 1967, and her grandson on Raccoon Valley Road has kept nine of her hand-made quilts.

"It's unusual to have that many quilts in such beautiful condition from someone who passed away 40 years ago," Sturgill said. "They are all hand-pieced, hand-quilted."

This April marks the sixth annual Quilt Month, a celebration that began by mayoral proclamation in 2004. Sturgill said the event was originally conceived to draw visitors to the Alexandria Museum because its permanent exhibits don't change. The quilt displays have proved to be popular. Now, the museum often sees more visitors in the month of April than it does all the rest of the year.

What began with quilts from the village and St. Alban's Township in its first year quickly spread to include quilters throughout Licking County and other parts of Ohio, who lend the museum quilts centered on a theme.

Alexandria resident Isabelle Satterfield teaches a class on quilting techniques at the Alexandria United Methodist Church, and the six-member group will display the traditional quilt they hand-quilted under Satterfield's guidance at this year's event.

Glenys Baker, an award-winning quilter from Newark, submitted a quilt that celebrates her Welsh background with its use of traditional Welsh symbols.

Sturgill said Terry Arcaro of Kingsville, Ohio, sent a quilt called "Geese in My Garden" to the show, which uses common techniques like the eight-point star (also called the Ohio star) and flying geese triangles. Arcaro graduated from Alexandria High School in the 1950s, Sturgill said.

"Her quilt is very traditional in style, but it looks very modern because of the fabric choice," Sturgill said.

Visitors shouldn't miss the "Mystery" quilt this year. An unfinished "crazy quilt" that was sold to a Utica man at a Fredericktown auction by a woman named Ellen Devilbiss will be on display.

"Alexandria was founded in 1830 by Alexander Devilbiss," Sturgill said. "We're trying to find out if there's an Alexandria connection."

Another quilt featured was submitted by John Pylant of St. Albans Township. Pylant's father was killed in an Air Force plane crash in 1956, and his old uniforms were found in a dirt floor barn at the family's homestead in Alabama. Pylant's mother and daughter used salvageable pieces of a dress uniform and olive drab utility pants to construct a wall hanging.

"Some of the people who bring their quilts in have never shown them before, and some have been entered in fairs and festivals," Sturgill said. Some, she said, have been hidden away in cedar chests and in attics.

She said quilt-lovers will appreciate seeing what their peers are making at the show. People who know nothing of quilting will also benefit from a stop at the museum or the library, though, Sturgill noted, where they can use a book to learn the stories behind them.

"This is part of our American history," she said, noting that cutting up fabric and piecing it together is unique to the United States.

"It's been a women's art, traditionally," Sturgill said. "You think about the women whose lives were so hard on the prairie or in colonial times, essentially making art out of what they had -- scraps and flour sacks. And, after all these years, it's still gaining popularity."

The Alexandria Museum is in a house at 23 W. Main St. in the center of the village. It is open to the public on Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. During Quilt Month, April 3 to May 3, visitors can also go upstairs and try their hands at quilting on an antique quilt frame.

A Beginning Machine Piecing class will be offered at the library, as well, on Saturday, April 25. The class begins at 10 a.m. and is free, but participants are asked to call the library to register prior to the class.