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Quilting enthusiasts gather for A Stitch in Time

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
A kaleidoscope of quilts transfixed hundreds of visitors at the Wellington and District Community Centre over the weekend.

The skating surface showcased more than 300 traditional, abstract and representational designs, as well as hand and machine made quilts.

This 18th Prince Edward County Quilt Show – A Stitch in Time – is crafted by the Prince Edward County Quilters’ Guild (PECQG).

Wall and bed quilts grace the large, open space, which also included judged competitions. While many of the colourfully adorned quilts were for display only, a good number were available for purchase. And while hands and fingers are encouraged not to touch the fabric works of art, for those who couldn’t resist, latex gloves are supplied.

All of the quilts on display were created by PECQG members within the last two years – since the organization’s last show.

The scale of so many quilts in one space, many of them king-sized, were magnificently curated and perfectly hung.

“We have been working on this show ever since the last show finished in 2016,” said Janet Reader Day, Chair of the PECQG. “All of the quilts here are new since 2016 and there are over 285 quilts on display – not even counting what are in the guest booths, the boutique or the vendor mall. There is no limit on how many quilts members put in; they decide whether to put it up for sale or not, and they decide the price.”

“Every work is a piece of art and beautiful and I am very proud of my quilters. They do lovely work and for anybody that comes in here, they are always going to find something different, something to appeal to everybody,” she said.

This year’s show judge was Bethany Garner,  from near Kingston. Judging categories included novice-bed quilt, advanced-wall quilt-abstract, advanced-wall quilt-traditional, advanced-bed quilt-hand quilted-original design and advanced-bed quilt-machine quilted-pattern/book.

Best in Show was Lee Waterhouse’s quilt, “True Patriot Love” measuring 104.5 inches square.

PECQG members selling raffle tickets for “Double Wedding Rings of Blue” quilt (background)

Raffle tickets were on sale to win a king size quilt made by Reader Day with assistance from PECQG members entitled “‘Double Wedding Rings of Blue”. All 5,000 tickets sold out at by noon hour on Sunday with the winning ticket expected to be drawn just before the show closed on Sunday afternoon. Proceeds from raffle ticket sales are split evenly and go toward PECQG programming and local charities.

Bill Stearman’s quilt “I Wish I Had a River” (third place winner at 2018 Quilt Canada)

Bill Stearman’s “I Wish I Had a River“ quilt, which achieved a third place win at the Canadian Quilters Association national juried show last month in Vancouver, was also on display in Wellington.

PEC Quilters’ Guild member Bill Stearman with several of his quilt creations.

Remarkably, Stearman has only been quilting for four years. He has been a teacher for most of his life, tried his hand at sheep farming, then discovered quilting. In that short time, he has produced about 80 quilts.

One of Bill Stearman’s vintage sewing machines on display

Stearman, a member of the Prince Edward County Quilters’ Guild, displayed 12 of his quilt creations at the show, together with a number of vintage sewing machines from his collection.

The guild includes about 80 members, with about 72 of those considered active, and several 4-H members, but Stearman is the only male among them.

“I started with four [sewing machines] and people have given me the rest of them and they are all in working order,” said Stearman. “Most of the sewing machines are made by Singer and there is one Pfaff, only because it came with a story.”

“It was made in the town where the people who owned it lived. It was made in Germany and it was a wealthy Jewish family moving to New York City just prior to World War II, escaping, and they brought that machine out with them. I just thought it was cool that a machine is that valuable that it comes across the ocean on a boat so it’s one of the things you bring.”

PECQG members Rosanna Worden, Joscelyn Matthewman and Betty Beaumont with the Pease Quilt Collection

The Pease Quilt Collection display booth showcased the story of the late Mary Pease and her impressive quilt collection.

“Mary Pease was a prolific quilter and she passed away after she moved from Toronto to Waupoos and she left 178 quilts behind,” said guild member Joscelyn Matthewman.

Sunday was the last day of a two-year project which found new homes for the 178 quilts which Mary’s husband Dick had donated. The guild had developed a strategy for disbursing the collection in a way that honoured Mary Pease’s love of quilting.

“We donated some of them to organizations within the community who could auction them: Hospice Prince Edward, the Festival of Trees and the Rednersville Albury United Church,” said Matthewman. She said there was also fabric donated and Quilts of Valour-Canada received some of that fabric to use toward a quilt.

Pease’s quilts supported community fundraising projects to the tune of $7,800 and internally the guild raised $4,155.

The show also included a members’ boutique, a vendors marketplace with 17 individual vendors and a merchants’ mall. There were a variety of vendor demonstrations throughout both days including rug hooking.

Edith Cairns with her two daughters Cindy Donafeld and Laurel Sloan at the museums booth

“Hospice Prince Edward is here because we give them quilts – final journey quilts – as well as quilts they use for other things,” said Reader Day “The County Museums are here with their very delicate, old, old quilts, they have three on display. We have a booth for members who have passed away with some of their work that family members allowed us to borrow and use.”

Quilts of Valour-Canada display booth.

Quilts of Valour-Canada who provide comfort quilts to injured Canadian Armed Forces members, past and present, were also showcased.

Guest artists, the Kingston Heirloom Quilters display booth

There were two groups of guest artists for this year’s show including two fibre artists from Tyendinaga, Maureen Greyeyes-Brant and Kimberley Maracle. Greyeyes-Brant is a modern indigenous beading artist and Maracle crochets, felts, knits and embroiders.

The second group of guest artists included four members of the Kingston Heirloom Quilters – Simone Lynch, Donna Hamilton, Phyllis Vanhorne and Marg Henshaw. Hamilton,

Vanhorne, Henshaw and Mary Ann McAndrews hand-stitched 264 octagonal blocks to the black background of the Quilt of Belonging, learning the symbolisms of this incredible quilt.

The Scissor Man (aka Robbie Preston) from Cameron, Ontario was also on hand for the sharpening of all blades including gardening and kitchen tools, scissors, knives and more.

The Prince Edward County Quilters Guild has been in existence since 1986 with its first show taking place in 1988. It is a member of the Canadian Quilters’ Association (CQA). A display depicting the story and the history surrounding the guild provided a good interpretation of the organization’s accomplishments.

The biennial show is a greatly anticipated event with regular followers as well as welcoming new enthusiasts to the world of quilting. The show used to run yearly but switched to biennial (occurring every two years) a few years ago as the quilts require a lengthy amount of time to create.

Among its objectives, the Prince Edward County Quilters’ Guild aims to preserve quilting as an art, to participate in community projects, and to preserve the history of quilting in the County and surrounding areas.

“We will keep doing it,” she said. “It’s a lot of work but it allows each member to showcase their work. They get to feel proud of it and also they get to sell their quilts and to make room to make more quilts.”

She noted there were at least 32 members on the quilt show committee to unfold the show. “Once you get it rolling, it’s like this snowball that’s not going to get stopped,” she said.

The next PEC Quilt Show is to be held in 2020. For anyone interesting in joining the Prince Edward County Quilters’ Guild, please visit pecqguild.weebly.com

“Papercuts in Scarlet” by Vicky Lafleur was 2016 Viewer’s Choice

2018 Best in Show quilt “True Patriot Love” by Lee Waterhouse

PECQG member Anne Longston demonstrating hand quilting

Jane Cunningham’s “Ode to Canada” machine made quilt depicting Canada’s provinces and territories.

 

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  1. Susan Getchell says:

    What a great article, and what magnificent works of art in the show. The guild members should be very proud of such a fabulous show.

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