This guild is all hung up on quilts, roughly 300 of them.
On Friday and Saturday, the Tidewater Quilters’ Guild will host its massive, biennial display at Cape Henry Collegiate School. The 2016 event is titled “Quilters Rock the Beach,” and is as much about taking the measure of the members’ sewing success as it a joyous celebration of quilting.
According to publicity co-chair, Dr. Lola McCracken, the two-day event “is a gargantuan effort.” Months of work can be involved in creating the elaborate quilts, followed by the hours needed to set up their display. Hung on temporary metal stands installed by the guild volunteers, the quilts form a labyrinth of color, prints and designs in the school’s field house.
The show is both a competition and showcase. It will be judged by Beverly Fine, who is a National Quilting Association certified judge. Fine served as assistant director for the New England Quilt Museum and will assess the quilts prior to the show so that ribbon winners will be on display.
Members have a range of categories in which to compete, such as hand or machine quilted applique, hand or machine quilted pieced, hand or machine embroidery, wearables and miniatures.
Event Chairwoman Karan Fisher said the intent is to give the 400 guild members the opportunity to compete while keeping a hometown feel.
“It is a judged show, but we love seeing everyone else’s work, and really enjoy introducing quilting in all its many aspects to the general public, too,” she said.
Some guild members will take advantage of appraisals by Phyllis Twigg Hatcher, who is a certified Appraiser. The appraisals can assign a value to quilts for insurance, tax, marketing or estate purposes.
Among some of the quilts that will be featured are the Challenge Quilts. Members pre-purchase a bag with four fabrics related to the beach and must include at least three of the fabrics in a quilt that is their interpretation of the “Quilters Rock the Beach” theme.
Challenge Quilt Chairwoman Wilma Gerald said members are invited to interpret the show’s beach theme within certain guidelines.
“The idea is to stretch your imagination or maybe try a new technique,” she said. “It’s amazing to see the very different designs the participants come up with.”
At least 62 guild members have accepted the challenge. Roughly 20 vendors will be at the show, and a silent auction will offer baskets laden with quilt-related items.
Auction chair Alexis Gardner said, “Having quilts, fabrics, books and patterns along with people that love it, all in one place, is just too much fun!” She also admits to saving up all year in order to visit the vendors.
For many guild members, the show is an inspirational event. Gerald said her favorite aspect of the show is “seeing the many different styles of quilts and techniques that quilters use. I always leave with a long list of projects that I want to do.”