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The William R. and Clarice V. Spurlock Museum at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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Quilting around the County

Quilting around the County

Posted: June 27, 2014

Nkyinkyim pattern
The Nkyinkyim ("twisting") pattern reminds people to take the initiative, endure difficulties, and be committed to their duties, even with all the twists and turns of life.
Woforo Dua Pa A pattern
This design represents the expression "When you climb a good tree, you are given a push." It means that when you are working for a good cause, you will find support.

The Spurlock Museum is a member of the Museums at the Crossroads Consortium, an organization representing 11 museums in Champaign County. One of the Consortium’s missions is collaborating on public programs and inspiring each institution’s patrons to visit other museums, too. MCC’s latest venture is the Traveling Quilting Bee. Over the course of one year, the Bee will travel to all 11 museums, and at each location the quilters will have the opportunity to buy museum-based quilt block kits, start work on them, and take some time to look around at the exhibits. Once all the museums have been visited, participants will be invited to a special afternoon where they can create finished pieces from their blocks to decorate their homes or give as gifts.

The Traveling Quilting Bee is open to participants age 5 and up, whether they are beginners or long-time enthusiasts. Instruction and assistance will be available at all sessions. The quilters need not attend all the sessions, and finished pieces can be made from 3-block, 4-block, 6-block, or 12-block combinations. The kits are $5 each and include not only the pre-cut pieces, but also background information on the designs. The Spurlock has two block designs available. Both are adinkra patterns used by the Akan people of Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire for the decoration of cloth.

The idea of the Traveling Quilting Bee began with Lesley Deem of the U of I Pollinatarium, the University of Illinois’s science center that celebrates pollinators like bees. The connection between honeybees and quilting bees is a natural for this quilter: "This is the perfect opportunity," Lesley says, "for people to meet each other, learn more about a wonderful craft, and explore some of the gems of the county."

Here are some upcoming session dates and times:

  • Anita Purves Nature Center, Urbana, Saturday, September 6, 9:30–noon
  • Spurlock Museum, Urbana, Saturday, November 29, 1:00-4:00 pm (part of our Crafternoon family event)
  • Chanute Air Museum, Rantoul, Saturday, December 6, 1:00-3:00 pm

Contact the Pollinatarium at 217-552-6643 or for more dates or more information. To learn about the 11 Consortium museums, visit the Museums at the Crossroads (external link) website.