In October, I had the pleasure of being the guest speaker at a semiannual meeting of the Area 5 chapters of the Pine Tree Quilters Guild. Area 5 consists of the Bedtime Quilters from the Bucksport area, Downeast Quilters from southern Washington County, Hancock County Quilters from towns in that area, Island Quilters from the Bar Harbor area, and St. Croix International Quilters of the Calais area.
The chapters met at the Ellsworth VFW hall, which was decorated in a harvest and Halloween theme. Dominating one end of the hall were three 8-foot-long tables set end-to-end to accommodate the potluck food contributed by the more than 80 quilters who attended the event. No one could fail to be impressed by 24 feet of casseroles, salads and desserts spread out for attendees to enjoy. Clearly, these ladies cook as well as they quilt.
I was delivered into the hands of Linda “Zig” Speight and other members of the Island Quilters whose task it was to make me welcome, which they did with pleasant conversation about quilting and lots of laughter.
I heard Sue McIver and her mother, Mary Ann O’Brien, of Baileyville, talk about the pillowcase project they dreamed up. They want to collect 354 handmade pillowcases for members of the 1136th Maine Army National Guard unit, which will be deployed to Afghanistan early next year. McIver’s son Corey McIver and her nephew Andrew O’Brien are members of the Guard unit.
Sue McIver and Mary Ann O’Brien showed samples of pillowcases they had made and asked for volunteers. McIver said response to her request for help has been excellent, with offers from those who want to make the pillowcases, or donate funds or fabric to the project.
To learn more about McIver’s pillowcase project, e-mail her at email@example.com or call 427-6967.
Another highlight of the meeting was a show-and-tell session in which chapter members showed off and talked about quilted items they have made. What a treat it was to see quilts, table runners, cleverly designed bags and even a quilter’s tool that chapter members created.
The quilter’s tool was designed to transport quilt pattern pieces already cut out, and it consisted of a length of beautiful cloth lined with interfacing where the cut-out pieces would be placed before being rolled up around a length of PVC pipe which served as the core of the device. Each end of the PVC pipe was padded for use as a pincushion. The maker of the item said it was a copy of one she had seen at a quilt show.
“I took a look at it,” the maker said, “and I said, ‘I can make that!’” This lady, whose name I failed to get — forgive me — also showed off a voluminous bag made of a rectangle of fabric, with a lining, in which she had brought her potluck dish, her place setting and other stuff. As she showed off the bag to those of us at our table, she began to remove things from it — many things — including a metal cooling rack! I didn’t know but what she had a kitchen sink stashed in there somewhere. The bag was that commodious.
One chapter member showed me an antique quilt she recently inherited in hopes I might recognize the pattern. Alas, I did not. Nor could I offer much in the way of estimating its age. Perhaps one of the best clues to its age was the fact that it had been washed and neither the red nor black colors had run, suggesting the quilt was made from fabric that had undergone a dye process in an era that produced stable colors.
Another woman gave me a great Internet site address, which I want to pass on to By Hand readers. She suggested that I visit www.tipnut.com where one can sign up to have sewing, knitting, embroidery and crochet patterns e-mailed daily. A wealth of needlework-related stuff at this Web site makes for enjoyable browsing.
Thanks, ladies of Area 5, for making it a memorable evening.
To learn more about Area 5 quilt groups, call Area 5 representative Linda Throckmorton at 259-3646 or visit www.mainequilts.org.
• The Ark Animal Shelter in Cherryfield needs help making crocheted catnip balls that will be sold at a benefit event for the shelter that will take place in early December. The catnip balls also are accepted year round — a nice project to while away the cold winter days.
To participate in the project e-mail Ardene Scroggy, Ark secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 374-2801. She will provide instructions, catnip and other materials needed to make the balls.
• The Women’s Re-entry Center in Bangor needs additional volunteers to help teach basic sewing skills and introductory quilting. The goal is to have six active volunteers who would be available for two hours on Thursday afternoons, at least twice each month.
The quilt program began about 18 months ago and has been a great success with residents at the center. The women are learning skills they can use for a lifetime, and the program helps them reconnect with society as they get ready to leave the facility, said volunteer Liane Giambalvo.