FRYEBURG — Most people have fond memories of quilting, said Chris Murphy of Portage as she sat at a table in the Fryeburg Fair farm museum Tuesday hand-sewing a red, green and white quilt on a frame.

“You can tell the quilter because they lean in a little closer to see the designs,” Murphy said as a group of women and a few men gathered around the sewing table. One person was heard saying, “Oh, I remember . . . ” then going into a story about their mother or grandmother quilting.

Thousands of people from across the country converged on the fairgrounds off Route 302 on Tuesday on the third day of the weeklong Blue Ribbon Classic in its 158th year. The farm museum houses crafts and early industries of the New England area, such as quilting and other homemaking skills, artifacts from the Bryant Pond Telephone Co., including the last magneto hand-crank system, and cobbler and harness-making skills. The building is a 1832 New England post and beam barn.

Murphy had several chairs available for anyone who wanted to sit with her and help stitch the quilt. Quilting is relaxing, she said of the craft she took up as a young girl. She has spent the last 10 years at the fair exhibiting her skills, including helping to sew the fair’s 150th anniversary quilt.

“We still have people who come back and say ‘Oh, I worked on that,'” as she glanced at the colorful blocked quilt that hangs permanently on the wall in the museum.

Murphy said she gets a variety of questions such as how to thread a needle and how to piece the fabric. The quilt she was sewing Tuesday will become a raffle quilt to help raise money for a food pantry in Madawaska where her twin sister helps out.

Quilting does not mean everything has to be hand sewn, Murphy said. Machines are now used to sew the edges of the squares, something that Murphy said is an art in itself to master. “I think a sewing machine is wonderful,” she said.

“They’re all pretty when you stand back,” she said of the works of art.

The Fryeburg Fair continues through Sunday. Horse pulling events top the bill Wednesday, beginning at 2 p.m.

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Marion Amos of Dedham, Mass., right, and her friend Bonnie Kenyon of South Royalton, Vt., watch Chris Murphy of Portage hand sew a quilt Tuesday at the Fryeburg Fair’s farm museum.


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