Each block of Hanover resident Dawn Gerber’s Baltimore album quilt displays something about the life of someone in her family. The quilt was chosen
Each block of Hanover resident Dawn Gerber's Baltimore album quilt displays something about the life of someone in her family. The quilt was chosen as one of 280 to be shown at the eighth annual American Quilter's Society Quilt Expo next month in Nashville, Tenn. (Daily Record/Sunday News - James Robinson)

Dawn Gerber's family album isn't quite like other people's.

It's not made of photos. It's not encased in leather, and it's not divided into pages.

Instead, Gerber hand-sewed her family's history into a quilt -- a quilt that will soon head to Nashville, Tenn., and could earn her $10,000.

The Hanover resident's creation will be one of 280 displayed at the American Quilter's Society Quilt Expo in August. One of those will win the Best of Show prize worth $10,000.

Gerber mailed in pictures of the quilt as she was finishing it in the spring. Her quilt was selected as a semi-finalist from more than 470 entries.

Its scalloped border surrounds squares of traditional and nontraditional designs in a pattern known as Baltimore album.

"Each block is different and depicts something about someone's life," Gerber said.

She learned how to make quilts from classes she took at the Quilt Patch in Littlestown.

As an amateur, Gerber didn't realize the Baltimore album quilt was not exactly for beginners. She worked on the quilt off and on until its completion in May.

"There is something about working with your hands and repetition," Gerber said. "It just really focuses you."

Not only did she sew the quilt, but she also designed many of its squares. One square depicts a Hershey factory where, she said, her father worked.

Another square contains a barn, part of her farming ancestry, and words from a relative's will dated 1750.

Yet another contains a tree with family names on the leaves.

Gerber said the quilt was a way for her to combine genealogy with sewing.

Although she has sewn and embroidered before, this is only her fourth quilt, and she said she'd tell beginners that quilting takes perseverance.

Gerber said she has always loved quilts and decided to pursue the craft after attending the Quilt Odyssey in Gettysburg. The show has since moved to Hershey, but Gerber continues to attend.

About three years ago, she attended the expo in Nashville -- and loved it.

A butterfly graces part of one of the hand-sewn blocks on Dawn Gerber’s Baltimore album quilt.
A butterfly graces part of one of the hand-sewn blocks on Dawn Gerber's Baltimore album quilt. (Daily Record/Sunday News - James Robinson)

"Never mind the quilt show. It's just a fun place to go," Gerber said.

ABOUT THE SHOW

What: The eighth annual American Quilter's Society Quilt Expo

Where: Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.

When: Aug. 20 through 23

Entries: 280 quilts from 42 U.S. states and 10 countries

Prizes: The show awards more than $45,000, including a $10,000 Best in Show award

ON THE BLOG

Common genealogical query: 'Is there still anyone living ... related to ... ' Read more at York Town Square blog.