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An Exciting Evening of Quilts

When I was teaching I could talk for hours about instrumental music education for middle school students. Now that I am retired my focus has shifted and I now love to talk at great length about quilting. So when Karen Gilbreath approached me about doing a trunk show for the Zion Lutheran Church’s WELCA group I immediately said “Yes!” Our initial conversation started in February 2020 with a plan for me to do the program for their May meeting. A month later the pandemic hit and it was obvious that the May meeting would have to be canceled. At that time we tentatively planned for September but as the risk dial was still high at that time those plans were also scrapped. With the advent of the vaccine we were finally hopeful that May 2021 would work. However, we encountered yet another snag when I received a cancer diagnosis. The original plan was for me to have surgery at the beginning of May which would definitely mean that I wouldn’t be able to do a trunk show then. When it was determined that surgery could wait until after Lindsay’s June wedding it became evident that after more than a year of planning this trunk show was finally going to be a reality.

Organizing quilts for a trunk show takes a bit of time and planning and having a theme in mind can be a great way to get started. The theme I chose was “My Quilting Journey” so I first shared how I learned to sew in 4-H as well as with my mom who is an excellent seamstress. Although I no longer have that first trick skirt that I made for the fair I did share a couple of other garments that I have stitched - a flower girl dress for Lindsay and a Czech Kroj that our daughters wore when they danced with the Wilber Czech Dancers. Next I consulted the four scrapbooks that I have compiled of the quilts that I have made since 1993. Most of my quilts have a story involving the pattern, fabric, or technique used so it is fairly easy to find quilts in my stash that I can talk about.

The ladies at Zion Lutheran Church in Pickrell went to a lot of work to host a wonderful evening full of quilts. They invited others from churches in the surrounding area and were pleased to have 45 guests attend. In addition they displayed over 60 quilts as a backdrop to the evening’s presenters - so many quilts over which to ooo and ahhh. The president of their group told about the Zion Ladies Aid - a group who has been hand quilting for over 85 years - as well as blankets that are made by the WELCA for Lutheran World Relief. Sharon Dunlap and Sandi Johnson shared a history of quilting and demonstrated an Accuquilt machine which makes cutting fabric a breeze.

During my part of the program I shared about 30 quilts beginning with the very first quilt that I made - a bed-size quilt that used templates as the pattern for each shape instead of using a rotary cutter and ruler. I showed the group many different sizes of quilts from miniatures to the king-size bed quilt that I made for Lindsay and Dustin’s wedding and everything in between. I showed several different techniques including English Paper-Piecing, regular paper piecing, raw-edge applique, and the Twister template. I showed examples of hand-quilting as well as machine-quilting that I did on both my domestic machine and my long arm.

Thanks so much to Karen and the WELCA group at Zion for asking me to share my passion for quilting. And thanks, too, to two of my quilting buddies, Janie and Meredith, for helping hold my quilts as I talked about them. It was such a fun evening!

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