By REBECCA SITZES, The Shelby Star
SHELBY, N.C. (AP) — Each month, a group of quilters gathers to work on service projects, participate in workshops, swap quarters, hold demonstrations and attend conferences.
The purpose of the Foothills Quilters Guild is to preserve and promote the art of quilting and to provide opportunities for learning and sharing ideas.
They also do good in the community.
The guild recently received a Dover grant to support the making of quilts for local charities.
The $2,500 Dover Foundation Grant was presented to members in August and will help fund projects that will benefit children in foster care, Hospice and oncology patients and children at Levine Children’s Hospital.
The Foothills Quilters Guild was chartered in 1986 by a group of approximately 20 women who wanted to gather to share their love of quilting. The guild has grown over the years, and today there are many members who live in nearby counties in both North and South Carolina.
Currently, the Foothills Quilters Guild has 40 members.
“What we do is we make quilts, and we deliver them to Hospice and to oncology there in Cleveland County, like lap quilts for the oncology and then bigger quilts for Hospice because they go on the bed,” said Linda McNeary, guild member.
She said last year they delivered around 400 pillowcases to Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte.
“We also do have speakers that come in that teach new techniques to the guild,” McNeary said. “We have workshops and some speakers come and show their quilts off to the guild.”
A member for 13 years, she said they are looking for new members. COVID had an effect on the guild with some members who died and others who stopped attending.
“We need to grow again,” McNeary said. “We’re down to 40 members, and we really need more than that.”
She said members come from Rutherfordton, Cherryville, Shelby, Kings Mountain and Gaffney, SC.
“I like being able to create something that you can’t purchase,” she said. “Something that’s part of me. I’ve been sewing since I was about 10 so I’ve done all different things. I’ve done all kinds of sewing, and this was just a different avenue.”
McNeary enjoys making the quilts for other people in need.
“I like the way we are creating things to make life easier for some people that don’t have the comforts that we have,” she said.
Ginny Huntley, a retired teacher, said she joined the Foothills Quilters Guild in 2000 and has enjoyed making quilts for Hospice and other patients.
She said a lot of time and expense is invested in the quilts, and each one is made of top-quality fabric.
“It’s kind of addictive,” Huntley said. “If you like fabric and like a challenge and know a little bit about a sewing machine, it’s a lot of fun.”
Huntley said she started out sewing her clothes when she was young because she was taller than most girls.
“And I grew up around grandparents and both my grandmothers quilted,” she said. “I liked fabric and geometry. You take geometry and fabric and come up with quilts.”
Huntley loves the challenge of creating new quilts, especially with digitally printed fabric.
“If you ever go to these national quilt shows you’ll see quilts done like a portrait of animals, people and landscapes, you would think it’s a painting.”
Anyone interested in joining the Foothills Quilters Guild can attend one of the meetings which are held at the Ascension Lutheran Church at 300 N. Lafayette St. in Shelby on the third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m.
“Anybody’s welcome,” McNeary said. “Once you come join at that time. Or come a few times and then join. It’s a minimal fee to join.”
The guild has a quilt show coming up in October, which will be held at the Cleveland County Arts Council and will display the quilts created by members.
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