Pieces of the past at QUILT Inc.'s show

Peg Cerutti could not let go.

She didn't even realize it, really. She had made the quilt with every intention of giving it away. But when the moment arrived that she had to hand it over, she hedged. Instead of stretching out her hands, she held the quilt close.

"It took me 10 years not to have separation issues," Cerutti says now with a laugh. "I used to hug the quilts and not want to give them up."

Stitched into those quilts was a lot more than squares of fabric. They held pieces of family history. Memories of getting together with friends to quilt. Laughter, and sometimes tears. The satisfaction that comes with doing something creative.

"A lot of quilting is emotional," said Pat Coleman, who, like Cerutti, belongs to QUILT Inc., a Delmar-based group of some 200 quilters who meet monthly. The name stands for Quilters United in Learning Together, a concept that might seem strange given that many members have been quilting for decades. But this is a group that sees value not just in trading ideas and feedback about quilting, but about life in general.

"There's a community of support that goes way outside of quilting," Cerutti said. "You share things. You laugh and you cry. You come away stronger and not alone."

Once a year, the public gets a peek into that close-knit world when QUILT Inc. holds it annual show. The 2011 quilt show is Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17, at Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School on Route 9W in Ravena. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Visitors can bid on items in a silent auction, watch demonstrations, buy tickets for a raffle quilt and listen to featured quilter and speaker K. Velis Turin. And of course, they will have the chance to see dozens of quilts, creations that are rarely put together quickly.

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