Around 100 quilts are expected to be on display at the Foothills Quilters Guild’s ninth annual Country Quilt Show on Sept. 26.
Guild member Vicki Whelan said many people look forward to attending the quilt show every year. “We’ve had several say it’s the best part of the Pumpkin Festival,” she said, “so we always get kind of annoyed when they talk about the festival and never mention us.”
The Country Quilt Show will be held at Galloway Episcopal Church, located at 312 W. Main St., just across the river from the Elkin Public Library.
Guild President Jane Stoker of Elkin said the annual quilt show draws anywhere from 100 to 130 people every year. “We’d like to see that number grow,” she said. As with previous years, all those who attend will have an opportunity to vote for “Best of Show.”
“When the quilts are laid over the pews,” Stoker said, “they are just beautiful. It doesn’t matter what the design is, there’s a story behind every quilt, and every story is important. It’s a part of a family. It’s a part of the person who made it.”
Whelan said one of the reasons the first quilt show was scheduled nine years ago was to see if any of those submitting entries were interested in starting a guild. Several were, and the Foothills Quilters Guild has been going strong ever since.
The 35-plus members of the Foothills Quilters Guild range in age from 7-year-old Alyssa Freeman of Elkin to 96-year-old Maude Brown, also of Elkin. Stoker said Alyssa will have a challenge quilt the size of a wall hanging in the show.
Directions for the challenge quilts, all of them the size of wall hangings, called for members to use black and white fabric in their designs along with a third fabric color of their choice. Alyssa’s color of choice was purple, and her wall hanging features different shades of it with a butterfly in the middle.
Stoker, who used to keep Alyssa, said she attended her “Show and Tell” at school this past Wednesday when she shared her wall hanging with her class. “She is learning to sew,” Stoker said of Alyssa, “and she just loves it.”
Alyssa attends the Foothills Quilters Guild meetings in the summers when school is out.
Whelan got the idea for her challenge quilt from the church where the show is being held. “I live across the street and see it every day,” she said. “I was trying to think about black and white and red and what I could make when I looked across at the church.”
Galloway Episcopal Church is white with black shutters and a red door.
Stoker said many people enjoy going to quilt shows. Quilters who attend might leave with a new design to try, she said, and others who have never quilted might see the ones on display “and say ‘I can do that.’”
For the very first time, this year’s show will include a quilt sale at the parish house beside the church. Whelan said they decided to add it because people who attend the quilt show are always asking about buying them.
A Quilters’ Yard Sale also is planned for across the street on Whelan’s front porch and will include supplies for quilters such as patterns, books and fabric yardage and scraps.
Lorene Fleming, a Foothills Quilters Guild member from Thurmond who has been quilting since 2002, said people quilt for different reasons. “For a lot of people, it’s a leisure time activity,” she said, “and for some, it’s a way to stay sane. It gives others something to do for relaxation and pleasure.”
Quilting is something Fleming said she can work on for a little while and then go back to it. Growing up, she watched her mother make quilts from old clothes.
“It befuddles her why I would buy a brand new piece of cloth and cut it up,” she said, “but I love fabric. I love looking at it and trying to figure out something to do with it.”
The Foothills Quilters Guild has about 25 to 35 regular attendees, Stoker said. Attendance fluctuates during the winter when some of them go to their second homes.
The Quilters Guild meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 1 p.m. at the Foothills Arts Council. Stoker said anyone wishing to join can just show up, “and we’d love to have them.”
Members also have “a sit and sew” session on the Wednesday before the monthly guild meetings at the Arts Council, where they work on quilts made from fabric scraps to give away to various charities. “Anyone who would be interested in learning quilting or have questions are welcome to come while we have the ladies together who can help them,” Stoker said.
Whelan said the guild donated 29 adult-sized quilts and nine children’s quilts to local charities last Christmas, including The Ark homeless shelter for women in Elkin and Our Father’s House homeless shelter for men in Dobson.
Amy Askins takes the quilt tops made by the guild members and does the actual quilting on a Longarm Quilting Machine. “In the old days, they used to do hand quilting,” Whelan said. “This way, we’re able to do a nice quilt in a short period of time.”
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 336-258-4058.