Press Release - Detail
For immediate release Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016
CONTACT: Roy L. Williams                                
Director of Public Relations             
Birmingham Public Library                          
Phone: (205) 226-3746 cell (205) 568-0067                        
Community quilt to be given away at North Avondale Branch Library on Thursday, Nov. 3
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama-Since May 2, 2016, adults and youth alike have been gathering at North Avondale Branch Library, 501 43rd St. North, sewing one square-at-a-time on what is being called the North Avondale Community Quilt Project. Led by longtime quilter Juliette Watts, 54 people ranging in age from 7 to their 70s have gathered weekly stitching what will end up a 70-by-70 square community quilt.
The group has bonded over the past six months, building friendships, and seeing excitement grow as they near the end of a project they have poured countless hours into. To make the project more engaging and interesting, Watts decided to put all of the participants’ names in a pot each time they come to work on the quilt.
Now that the community quilt is finished, Watts will hold a special program at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, in which the grand-prize winner whose name is pulled will win the 70-by-70 square community quilt. Though Watts told participants some church, business, museum or library may want to display the quilt, she said the ultimate decision is up to the winner.
“We are very excited about this Community Quilt Project, and can’t wait for the grand finale,” Watts said. “We hope that everyone who participated can be a part of this great day in the North Avondale Community.”
Watts, a Community Scholar through the Alabama Folklife Association, specializes in the art of quilting, and is proud of participants, both young and old, have bonded and built new friendships while working on the North Avondale community quilt project. She is especially thankful to the North Avondale Branch Library for being a host site. This is among dozens of programs taking place monthly via community groups, nonprofits, schools and individuals partnering with the Birmingham Public Library (BPL)’s 19 libraries located across the city.
Watts founded Hands On Youth Activities Programs Inc. in 1996, a nonprofit that teaches traditional arts like quilting, crochet, sewing and cooking to both the young and old.
“Hand quilting is a forgotten art,” Watts said. “People don’t hand quilt like our ancestors did. We want to keep the art of quilting alive by teaching the young people of today. We also want to teach our youth how to machine quilt as well.”
Watts began offering Beginning Quilting Workshops at the North Avondale Library in 2015, when she taught young patrons how to sew a pillow. She later held a workshop in which kids quilted a 16-by-16 square quilt, before beginning this bigger project – the 70-by-70 square Community Quilt Project.
Besides the North Avondale quilt project, Watts has led traditional arts workshops across the city of Birmingham over the past 20 years. Among Watts’ past projects: Special Olympics World Winter Games Scarf Making Workshop, Parents Crochet With Your Children Workshop, Cherokee Leaf Pounding Workshop, Let’s Plant Something, Fishing Expedition, Kids Cake Baking, and others.
For more information on Hands On Youth Activities Program, contact Watts by phone at (205) 244-1465, email at or via mail at P.O. Box 611072, Birmingham, AL 35261. You can also follow the program on Facebook. See photos of the North Avondale Community Quilt Project and other Hands On Youth Activities Programs on its Facebook page link below: 
For additional information about the programs and services of the Birmingham Public Library, visit our website at and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BPL. The mission of Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life-long learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. This system—with 19 locations and serving the community for 129 years—is one of the largest library systems in the southeast.  
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