Library Quilt No Patchwork Effort

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It may or may not be the very first work of art to depict frogs in bathing suits cavorting with all manner of ladybugs and bumblebees.

But one thing's for sure. Patty Lenon's handmade quilt as loaded with color and whimsy as the collected works of Mother Goose will charm the kneesocks off visitors to the new Payson Public Library when it opens in January.

Not only will the quilt be put on permanent display on a wall of the library's children's section, it will set the entire decorating theme for that section, according to Library Director Terry Morris.

"The quilt is just wonderful," Morris says. "So wonderful, in fact, that we're going to be doing other artwork in the area which incorporates the same whimsical elements."

Before spending the hundreds of hours it took to create the 130-or-so-piece, wall-sized, machine-pieced and hand-quilted blanket, Lenon donated it to the library as she has done for many other nonprofit and charitable organizations over the years.

"When I saw the library starting to take shape, I thought, 'I want to hang something in there for kids,'" Lenon says. "So I went to Terry with pictures of all my quilts. Terry looked at them and said, 'Do whatever you want.' The only thing she and I discussed was size. This was the size 43 inches by 58 inches she wanted. Beyond that, I was entirely on my own."

A native of Medford, Ore., Lenon grew up in Scottsdale and has been a Payson resident for the past 13 years.

"I started my first quilts when my children were little; they're both in their early 20s now," she says. "I fell in love with the craft as soon as I started with picking the fabrics, with making the fabrics work with the designs. There's an artistic element to it that's very comforting and satisfying. And it's a perfect 'lap project' you can do while watching TV."

To anyone who would like to purchase one of Lenon's quilts ... tough luck. She refuses to sell them. "Once you turn your love and passion into money, it's not fun any more," she says.

Besides, Lenon adds, there are other, more substantial rewards to be obtained by donating her quilts to organizations like The Linus Project, which provides blankets anonymously to children in crisis.

"One day I opened up the Arizona Republic and saw a picture of a little Valley girl who had been repeatedly stabbed by a neighbor and she was holding one of my blankets," Lenon recalls. "I just cried and cried."

Even though Lenon's works of fabric art are not available for purchase, they are available for visual appreciation. Her Internet website www. pattysquilts.com features photographs of all her quilts, as well as photos of one created by Payson's community of quilters to honor those killed at the Columbine High School shootings two years ago.

Library update

The existing incarnation of the Payson Public Library will close its Main Street doors Nov. 16, says Library Director Terry Morris. At that time, movers will proceed to relocate the books and shelves to the new Rumsey Park library building, which will open some time after the first of the year.

"We don't have an exact date yet," Morris said. "By the time we get all the books on the shelves and get everything put where it needs to be put and get through the holidays, well, there's just no telling right now when we'll be ready."

Those who neglect to return their library books before Nov. 16 will be able to deposit them into the book drop at the new library. But those who neglect to return library materials before that date shouldn't fret too much, Morris says.

"We are going to institute an amnesty, with the hope that we'll get back books that are long, long overdue, as well as to help accommodate everyone over the period of this transition."

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