Celebrating 35 Years of Quilting
by Amy Elliott
Quilters in Forsyth County are celebrating the 35th anniversary of their organization—The Forsyth Piecers and Quilters Guild. Bicentennial events and exhibits in 1976 gave birth to a renewed interest in the art and craft of creating quilts of one’s own. Five years later, quilters in Forsyth County met to form their guild. The guild’s membership continues in the heritage of quilting, encourages others in this craft, and develops new ways of expressing themselves through the creative use of fabrics.
The theme of this year’s show is “Celebration” with members making wall hangings on that theme. At a recent quilting bee, Patti Mansson held up her challenge quilt for her friends to see. She quilted a picture of a rising sun with 35 rays of different colors representing all of the years that the Forsyth Piecers and Quilters Guild has been active. Each ray also has an aspect of the quilting guild’s activities labeled on it. Such things as regular quilting bees, new techniques, speakers, workshops, fabric exchanges, community outreach and special friendships are highlighted. All of the challenge quilts will be on display at the quilt show.
Guild members have worked together to create the king-size raffle quilt for the show. Patti worked hard on planning this raffle quilt and organizing her friends in her quilting bee to purchase the fabric, sew together the blocks, and applique the borders. Laura Davies used her long-arm quilting machine to quilt together the back, the batting in the middle, and the pieced top. The quilt will be on display at the quilt show and viewers can purchase tickets to have a chance at winning this lovely quilt.
Quilters love to share their art with others. One of the earliest projects that the guild embraced was making small quilts for the tiniest babies at the Brenner’s Children’s Hospital. Joan Lowder and Jan Nelson recently visited the neonatal unit at the hospital to deliver newly created quilts. The quilts bring a note of softness and individuality in a place where new parents are so anxious about the health of these fragile infants. It helps them to know that their infants are loved by the larger community. When the babies go home, these quilts go home with them to continue to warm them with love and affection.
Forsyth County schools have several elementary schools which serve underprivileged children. These four-year-olds come to school with very little. The guild is now providing nap blankets for our youngest school children. Sewing nap blankets is a simple project—just two pieces of kid-friendly fabric sewn together. Linda Petit has distributed nap blankets in several schools each year. She has said that it is a heart-warming experience seeing the children’s excitement at getting the opportunity to choose a personal nap blanket. Last year the Guild distributed over 400 nap blankets to these schools.
In addition to staying busy with these projects, guild members also create items such as bed quilts, wall hangings, table runners, purses, and clothing, which will be on display during the show. The variety of items on display will emphasize both our heritage in traditional quilting patterns and modern materials and concepts created in the last 35 years. The show will also display the raffle quilt, feature vendor booths, and have a boutique with items made by guild members for sale. Members will also be present to answer questions and help visitors learn more about the quilting process.
The Guild welcomes anyone who is interested in the quilting arts to become members of the Guild. Information is available at the show or on line at www.ForsythQuilters.org.