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County quilters create colourful Stitch in Time

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
The first thing that strikes a visitor to the Stitch in Time quilt show is the sheer number of creations filling the arena floor space. It’s the first of several revelations that stagger the mind -including the huge variety of quilts on display, the scope of ingenuity and imagination when it comes to unique design, and, of course, the fascination of how each quilt is individually created and crafted by a local guild member.

It’s been five years since the Prince Edward County Quilters’ Guild (PECQG) held its regular quilt show, but this past Saturday and Sunday, the Wellington and District Community Centre was filled with a beautifully eclectic assortment of quilts, together with a clearly impressed audience, as many members of the public appeared in awe of the curated creations.

Janet Reader Day, PECQG chair marvels at the sight, not just the quantity, but the quality of the quilts made by the guild’s members, as well as the number of people pouring into the venue to witness and enjoy the impressive spectacle.

“Isn’t it incredible,” she laughs, “even our members get blown away by it!”

The quilt show, now in its 19th year, is usually a biennial event (every two years), took an extended break as COVID scuppered plans for a 2020 summer show, and then uncertainty came through 2021 and 2022, because a show of this magnitude takes much planning to execute.

Reader Day said they weren’t even sure if the guild could keep going when COVID struck, and so there were many happy faces when they could count another successful show under their belts after the delay.

The more than 300 quilts displayed, while mostly queen or king-sized, also came in a variety of sizes to the very smallest and everything in between, making the venue a curated art gallery, an exhibition space, a showcase, all of the above, but most of all, a stunning display depicting the use of fabric and the art of stitching and sewing, and ultimately, quilt making.

“One of the truly wonderful things is how different each quilt is, there are no two alike,” said Reader Day. “The variety blows your mind away and every time you look at a quilt one way, you might go down a row and look at it then again from another way at a different angle, and it looks totally different.”

Strong designs were prominent throughout the collection, but so were strong, bold colours that permeated, enabling the viewer to be transported to a lush garden, a zoo or even taken on a trip to Paris. The astonishing spectrum depicted nature, portraiture, even musical instruments.

There were geometric shapes of more traditional quilt pattern design, modern representation too, floral displays, genius designs, shapes, patterns creating powerful illusions, including a bookcase, little houses, even a Halloween scene, along with a little of the unexpected.

The 50×78” “Bookcase Quilt” was made and quilted by Jeanette Henderson from her own original pattern.

“My inspiration came from viewing many pictures of bookcase quilts. My daughter enjoys reading books, so on a quest to use more of my scraps, I thought a bookcase quilt would be fun to create and make for her.” The quilt includes some of her daughter’s favourite book titles to make it extra special.

“Not Little Pink Houses” is a 59×67” quilt made and quilted by Anne Pennington. “I love bright colours, and whimsy, and so to create this quilt using both was a lot of fun for me. I enjoyed finding little creatures for the doorways to surprise anyone viewing the quilt.”

Reader Day spoke to the excitement of event, and how pleased and proud she and guild members feel putting together a successful show after a long break.

“We were almost poised for the 2020 show because it was going to happen that July and then that March the world shut down basically,” recalls Reader Day. “So then we thought 2021, but no, that was way too soon, and it was also too soon for 2022 as the momentum hadn’t gathered enough yet and it took a while to even fill up a full committee of members to do all the different jobs, so it was just the logistics of it and it wasn’t going to work out.”

She said there are a lot of good reasons they generally hold the show every two years rather than annually, “but we don’t like waiting five years! It takes a whole year of planning, so you don’t really want to finish one quilt show, make all the reports and recommendations for the next one, plus we need to a year to start the raffle quilt to then be able to sell raffle tickets.”

When it comes to quilt making, she says some people are more prolific than others as some members may have put in only one quilt to exhibit, and others may have put in a dozen or so.

Reader Day contributed 11 quilts to this show, an average for a show for her she says, adding that many of her contributions were pieces that she made as a result of different guild challenges over recent years.

Created for the garden inspiration challenge was a 68×92” quilt “Jack’s Chain” made and quilted by Reader Day, which received a second place ribbon in the show. Based on her own original pattern, inspired by other quilts using Jack’s chain blocks, she said, “I had great fun deciding what blocks to place where, finally deciding on a dark to light graduation pattern”.

Reader Day also received a first place ribbon and Best in Show recognition for Tamiko’s Quilt, a 91×111” entry made and quilted by Reader Day as a wedding gift for her niece. “After a year-and-a-half, I finally finished this challenging quilt”.

She explained how guilds pick different themes for members to create a quilted piece, whether it’s a different technique or a certain fabric, usually within certain size parameters.

“I usually participate in those quite a lot, and it’s been five years, so we have had a lot of challenges in five years,” she said, indicating that seven or eight of her contributions to the show were as a result of past challenges. “If I didn’t do so many challenges, I wouldn’t have so many pieces in there.”

She says when she is making a quilt, it is often with a specific person in mind, whether that’s a great niece or nephew, or grandchildren. “Or, I am working on quilts to donate to people in the community in need, so there’s always a project to be working on to keep your creative juices flowing.”

The exhibition and sale also welcomed a members’ boutique as well as a merchants’ mall with a variety of vendors from near and far, together with information booths. And for those needing an energy boost, the Prince Edward District Women’s Institute provided sandwiches, snacks and beverages.

Vendor demonstrations covered everything from creative stitching to bag zippers to precision piecing, and the best iron for quilting, among several topics offered throughout both days of the show.

A display of vintage sewing machines came courtesy of local quilt maker Bill Stearman who also had some of his quilts on display.

Some of the quilts in the show and sale were display entries, either bed quilts, wall quilts or PECQG challenges, others were considered judged entries, of which there were a number of categories, and ribbon recipients, judged by certified National Quilting Association quilt judge, Bethany Garner.

Some of the guild’s member challenges in recent years have included garden inspiration, a block with your name, a seasonal table runner, as well as an African theme, a ‘large print’ quilt challenge, and a theme for sun, sand and sea.

‘Lilium Tigrinum’ was one such challenge quilt in the ‘large print’ category, receiving a first place ribbon in this show. The 81×84” quilt was made by Patricia Fullerton and was quilted by Lisa Castonguay.

Guest artists included the Bay of Quinte Modern Quilt Guild, Quilts for Survivors, and Two Days In May educational display. As well, the show welcomed the Comfort Quilt display, Quilts of Valour, Quilts for Survivors, and an In Memoriam display.

Quilts for Survivors is a registered non-profit started by Vanessa Genier of Timmins in response to the news of unmarked graves at a former residential school. A passionate quilter, the Cree woman wanted to honour survivors and promote healing.

In Memoriam display

The Poppy Quilt was made and quilted by Marianne Sanders, at 63×70” it is her own original pattern with the centre panel by artist Patrick Milner. The quilt will be donated by Quilts of Valour after the show.

Comfort quilts

Quilts of Valour

The Prince Edward County Quilters’ Guild has a healthy membership of some 85 local members, although new members are always welcome.

Established in 1986, the guild’s mandate is to promote quilting within the guild and community, to preserve quilting as an art form, to establish, maintain and upgrade quilting standards, to encourage an exchange of ideas and methods, to participate in community projects, and to research and preserve the history of quilting in Prince Edward County.

“It’s a show owned by the whole guild; it’s not just a couple of people show,” concluded Reader Day. “Many members contributed many hours and many pieces of beautiful art work to the show, and without all those members doing all their work in the background, this wouldn’t happen.”

‘Trending’ made and quilted by Anne Pennington, 64×70”.

“Shadow Boxes” (66×88”) was made by Geraldine Rorabeck (quilted by Jan Easton).

Made and quilted by Rosanna Worden Hawker, “My Whimsical Garden” (89×93.5”) is hand appliquéd and hand quilted.



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  1. Thank you for writing up such a lovely, thoughtful piece about our Quilt Show Sharon. You are a true kindred spirit!

  2. Maxie Ramey says:

    How I wish I could have seen each quilt in person, but your article is great! I chose my first place ribbon winner from your photos!

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