SUMMERSIDE – St. Eleanors Community Centre was awash in colour and style – or more precisely pattern – recently, as the Green’s Shore Quilters displayed nearly 200 quilts they have been working on for years.
Among the quilts displayed were a Celtic Knot and traditional scrap quilts that were supported by the P.E.I. 2014 Fund to keep the techniques viable through another generation.
“Everything from hand-quilting and hand-piecing, right up to embroidery pieces,” was on display, listed exhibit co-chairman Jan Strachan to outline the variety of quilts and the techniques used to produce them.
In addition to the styles she listed, the quilts displayed excellent examples of applique, machine quilting, wall displays and even a feather style.
“A feather is a technique you do in machine quilting that gives a nice raised look,” she explained, saying it gives a leafy appearance.
Everything, from tiny baby quilts to king-size quilts that drape to the floor, was available to view for the $5 entry fee.
Gift ideas abounded, with placemats, table runners, wall hangings, and seasonal displays suggesting easy and practical options, whether purchased or homemade.
The show was the result of four years of work for the 28 members of the Green’s Shore Quilters, who meet monthly at Trinity United Church for planning and weekly at the community centre to practice their craft.
The five-dollar entry fee charged for the show is directed to workshops and continuing education that the quilters arrange.
“We bring instructors in, so that we can learn new techniques,” Strachan explained.
This year, the quilters learned to do Celtic Knot. They applied for a P.E.I. 2014 Fund grant to rejuvenate that old technique, and used the $2,014 to do the workshop and create the quilt to continue the tradition.
“We wanted to learn, so that heritage stays and continues,” Strachan justified, noting that effort created a quilt titled “Past, Present, and Future.”
In earlier eras, a quilter used leftover fabrics to make a blanket to keep warm at night. That doesn’t often happen any more, though many of the quilters in the group can do the old techniques.
“We applied with that thought in mind; also with the thought that we would show the ladies that we continue with what new technology will allow for us, and we’ve moved on from that,” Strachan elaborated.
The Green’s Shore Quilters have been meeting for about nine years. Typically, they arrive at a bout 9 a.m. for setup, then sew until about 3 or 4 p.m., with a break for lunch.
“Our blankets go to foster children,” Strachan said.
“When a child goes into foster care, they get their toothbrush and their little bag, and now they get a quilt from Green’s Shore.”
The sizes of the foster quilts vary, but quilters use the leftovers from their stash of quilting pieces – their ‘orphan blocks’ – and put together whatever they can for the children.
Introducing young people to quilting has been a challenge, because youth are not typically available during the day, and it is difficult to find a venue available in the evening. As an alternative, Strachan and her co-chairman, Libby Colwill, teach individually at their homes.
Colwill demonstrated the group’s dedication to education during the show, and engaged visitors who had questions about the work.