People enjoy quilts for many different reasons. They can provide clues to the past; warmth, beauty and value; and enjoyment in the form of colour, texture and pattern.
Quilts also unleash artistic talents of new and experienced artisans, as was showcased at the 2012 Hamiota Quilt till you Wilt’s late-November annual show at the community hall, titled “Fifty Shades.”
On display were well over 100 quilts of all shapes and sizes including 35 full bed quilts. Guests also had the opportunity to view table runners, bags, doll blankets, napkins, pillowcases, and baby quilts.
“We hold a show annually, so family and friends can see the work,” said Rosalie Beamish, one of 20 club members from the communities of Hamiota, Shoal Lake, and Bradwardine. “Although we have a few executive members, we don’t take ourselves too seriously and feel the club is geared more to fun and fellowship than promoting the highest standards of workmanship and design in both traditional and innovative work.”
What the members do promote, however, is a greater understanding, appreciation and knowledge of the art and techniques of quilting, through the yearly showcase that also includes a variety of demonstrations.
Beamish said the group meets Monday nights, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., from Labour Day to the May long weekend.
“Along with quilting projects, it’s great to get together and brainstorm from time to time, as was the case when club member Bessie Stewart’s aprons made for her granddaughters, inspired fellow members to create aprons of their own,” said Beamish, who can be reached at 204-764-2108, should anyone wish to become involved. “Bags are also becoming popular, with a number of quilted designs used in everyday living.”
At one show in 2011, the group sold Connie Bags in memory of longtime member Connie Steinburg, who passed away from cancer. With money raised, the club framed a picture donated by her family entitled “Reflections.” As well, the club purchased a makeup mirror, and both will be put in the Hamiota Health Centre Chemo Unit. The local quilters involved appreciated the support shown to their project.
Quilters are incredibly giving and sharing — of their time, talents, and gifts. With charity quilting they provide the comforting warmth and softness of a quilt, and the special significance of a gift made with love. It is therefore no surprise that there are many non-profit organizations that have been established for the sole purpose of providing handmade quilts for individuals and families in need of comfort.
Over the centuries, the quilting bee was one of the most popular ways for women to get together socially. It was a time of working, laughing, and gossip — a way to catch up on the goings-on in the community. Today, some quilters follow the craft in conventional form for leisure time or because it represents a tradition they find emotionally significant. Others have found in quilt making an artistic medium with which to create new styles and techniques.
The history of North America can be seen in quilts — in the rich heritage left us by those thrifty, self-sufficient women who helped settle this land, in the families whose history is sewn into quilts one patch at a time, and in the legacy of the quilting arts passed on to children and grandchildren so they may carry them forward to the future.