March 12, 2007

Quilters stitch together

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

The Sew Friendly Quilt Guild is still popular among local quilters, and it is currently piecing together the annual fundraiser quilt to be raffled off at this fall’s quilt show in Dassel.

There are currently approximately 28 members from the Dassel-Cokato area, but numbers vary. For the fundraiser quilt, 35 kits were distributed, which consisted of a bag of cut blocks. Each member then sewed the pieces together in blocks and returned to them to later be sewn together.

The finished quilt will be raffled off at the two-day quilt show during Red Rooster Days in September. There will also be quilts on display, along with a silent auction.

Karen McKoen organized the guild in 1997. Some of the original members are still active including Jewell Christensen, Mary Ackerman, Ann Horrmann, Theresa Wold, and more.

The guild meets the second Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Cokato.

“You don’t need to be a member to attend,” Wold said.

The $15 membership fee does guarantee a monthly newsletter and notices of upcoming events, according to Wold.

Members are at various levels of quilting. Some are new and others are quite experienced, Wold said.

A planning committee schedules monthly events and speakers. For example, Friday, March 16, the guild will host a sewing weekend in the Centennial Room of the Cokato Public Library.

Members and non-members are welcome to spend the evening Friday and the day Saturday sewing. Saturday, March 17 coincidentally happens to be National Quilting Day, according to Sandy Tracy, member.

Different projects are going on throughout the year, which members can choose to take part in. For example, some members participated in making a mystery quilt.

Each participant chose their own colors for the quilt using the guidelines given, which were to use plaid, stripes, bright and light fabrics.

Every week, a new direction was given. At the end, each quilt was the exact same pattern, but different colors.

Members can also choose to be a secret stitcher which, at minimum, would recognize another secret stitcher’s birthday with a small gift.

Some of the members are experienced sewers who were interested in learning quilt work. Others just wanted a group to get together with to learn new techniques and talk about quilting.

“It’s fun sharing ideas. There is always a new technique to learn,” Wold said.

“For me, it’s inspirational. It encourages me to get better,” she added.

Lenore Brown enjoys seeing the work others have done. “It’s a show and tell. We ooh and ah over other people’s work,” she said.

All quilters have their own stories of how they began quilting as a hobby.

Brown, for example, decided in 2001; before a departure to Grand Marais, that she and a friend would buy 25 different pieces of fabric and see how far they could get.

After setting all the pieces together before sewing, Brown realized they were one square short.

Thinking they would have to travel to the next town to find a quilt shop, they were surprised to find one just a half mile up the road from the campground.

“We went in and ended up taking classes,” Brown said.

There, the two women were able to learn how to quilt. Now, Brown sews for the same store.

Wold sewed while she was in 4-H as a teenager and had a grandmother who quilted for missions.

At age 23, Wold saw a pattern, “Grandmother’s Garden,” that caught her eye.

“I hadn’t realized at the time, this was not a pattern to start with,” she said.

Due to the level of difficulty, Wold sewed the small hexagons together by hand, but it still waiting in her cedar chest to be quilted, Wold said.

Tracy, on the other hand, has always been a “needily kind of person,” she said, having crocheted, knitted, and cross stitched in the past.

She had seen examples of quilts and decided to give it a try. It took her five years to complete her first quilt between work and other activities in her life.

Then, she retired and joined area quilt guilds to meet new people and learn different techniques, she said.

Last year, Tracy completed 15 projects.

If anyone is interested in becoming a member or has any questions, contact Sandy Tracy at (320) 275-2732.

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