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Quilt Celebrates Potomac Past, Present

Raffle to raise money for charity as part of Potomac Country House Tour.

Potomac County House Tour organizers got their first look Sept. 10 at a commemorative quilt that will be raffled off Oct. 3 as part of the Country House Tour weekend at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Potomac.

The 6-foot-square quilt, by Gaithersburg artist Liz Notter, depicts more than 15 contemporary and historical Potomac scenes including Great Falls Tavern, the Maryland Gold Mine, the Glen Echo Carousel and St. Francis Episcopal Church itself. Walnut Grove, a historic Potomac home that will be featured on this year’s tour, is also pictured on the quilt. Some of the buildings depicted no longer exist, such as the Potomac Beer Parlor, which in the late 19th century occupied the space where Mitch and Bill’s Exxon station now stands.

Notter, who is a graphic designer by trade, did preliminary sketches for the quilt in March. The quilt is made of individual pieces of custom-dyed and store bought fabrics, some as small as 1/16 of an inch.

“I’ve been working on it basically since June” said Notter. “It’s been on my board for six months.”

The quilt project was initiated by House Tour Live and Silent Auction Committee members Cindy Buck, Margie Scott, and Sarah Lynch, who also researched and secured photos of the sites in “a joint effort” with the artist, according to House Tour Chair Susan Dolan.

The Auction Committee members contacted Notter after seeing a Chesapeake Bay quilt she made for the Norwood School, which was sold in a parent auction.

“The quilt ended up going for $11,000,” said Dolan. “So that immediately tweaked Cindy’s imagination.”

Although it’s considered part of the Live and Silent Auction, Auction Committee member Sarah Lynch added that the quilt will in fact be raffled off with a limited number of tickets being sold “so that everybody has a chance.” Tickets will cost $50 each or $100 for three between Sept. 19, when the quilt will be unveiled to St. Francis parishioners, and the evening of Oct. 1. During the House Tour weekend Oct. 2 and 3, tickets will be $50 each regardless of the number purchased.

The Potomac Country House Tour is in its 49th consecutive year. Though it started out as a fundraiser for the church itself, St. Francis now distributes all proceeds from the tour to a group of over two dozen local and national charities picked by parishioners and tour committee members. Though the House Tour itself requires tickets, events at St. Francis including the live auction Oct. 1, and a luncheon, dessert bar, and boutique Oct. 2 and 3, do not.

St. Francis is celebrating its Jubilee 50th year and this year’s unofficial theme of looking forward as well as looking back is reflected in the quilt, organizers say. “It’s a historical year for our parish and for outreach but it’s also, we hope, outward looking,” said Dolan.