Quilting inspirations come from all over

SALEM – A drawing of bugs on an apple tree that her grandson Isaac did when he was younger was what inspired Salem quilter Nancy Oldham to make a brightly colored appliqué, beaded and buttoned “I Spy” quilt that will hang on her wall.

Although Oldham’s wall hanging won’t be one of the almost 200 in the show, there will be equally fantastic and colorful quilts of all kinds in this weekend’s “Celebrate Quilting” quilt show put on by the Star Quilters Guild at the Roanoke Civic Center Exhibit Hall.

Star Quilters Guild Show Coordinator Elsie Bailey, left, talks with quilters about the "Celebrate Quilting" show April 5-6 at the Roanoke Civic Center Exhibit Hall. Quilters at the home of Sallie Powers in Salem last week, are, from left, Shirley Shuler, Sallie Powers, Carol Morehart, Gypsey Wimmer and Nancy Oldham. Meg Hibbert photo

The show will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, April 5, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.. on Saturday, April 6. Admission is $5. Children 12 and under will be admitted free.

The show will have vendors, viewers’ choice awards and a drawing for 50 “challenge block squares.” It will feature quilts by artist Linda Fiedler. On Wednesday, quilt entries were judged by National Quilting Association Certified Judge Fran Kordek.

Quilters showing their works are coming from as far away as West Virginia, Martinsville, Lynchburg and Bath County, Star Quilters Guild Show Coordinator Elsie Bailey of Windsor Hills said.

The drawing in the center that was done by her grandson Isaac when he was younger was the start of this appliquéd and beaded wall hanging which Nancy Oldham plans to frame. Meg Hibbert photo

Three teenagers have entered the show, Bailey said, as well as one man from Covington.

Bailey got together at the Salem home of Sallie Powers with other guild members and quilters from Salem last week to talk about their addiction.

That’s what quilting is for them, they said, as well as therapy. Most of the half dozen quilters gathered in Sallie and Pat Powers’ sunroom last week got into quilting after they retired, they said.

“Making quilts is a way of giving a little bit of yourself away,” said Oldham.

It was like show and tell in elementary school. Around the edge of the room were bags of quilt materials, and spread out on an ottoman were some of Powers’ quilts she has made for herself and her family.

Salem quilters Shirley Shuler, Carol Morehart, Gypsey Wimmer and Nancy Oldham talked about their favorite kinds of quilts and what inspires them to piece, quilt or appliqué.

“I like traditional quilts,” said Powers. “I usually get turned on by a class. That’s what gets me motivated.

“Quilting just doesn’t stop anywhere,” she added. “You can decorate your beds, your walls, your doors, anything.” The interior of the Powers’ house near Spartan Square is proof of that.

Most of them admitted to having a stash of quilting material.

“I like to go through and feel it,” said Bailey.

“With all the quilts I have made so far, I plan for who I’m going to give them to, with the colors they like,” said Wimmer. “That’s part of the joy of quilting. Making quilts is like painting with fabric.”

Powers said she did her first “I Spy” quilt from different prints of juvenile patterned cloth for her first granddaughter, Emilee. So, of course, she had to make quilts for the rest of her grandchildren, too.

Oldham admitted her first quilt she made when her now-grown son was about 3 “was really crude.”

Now she’s taking a class in face portrait quilts, and already family members are putting in their requests, she said.

Some of the Salem quilters do hand piecing. Others put their quilt pieces together by machine. Most quilt by machine or get someone else to do it for them.

Shirley Shuler recalled making a quilt “way back in the 1980s. I’ve only been quilting again for about four years, after retiring from teaching fourth grade at West Salem Elementary School.”

Morehart, who has been quilting for 18 years, enjoys making quilts from material she already has. “I like scrappy quilts, something that you use up your stash.”

In addition to classes at Creative Quilting on Peters Creek Road where most of the Salem quilters go, online classes are helpful, too, Oldham said, adding, “That’s a good way for the younger generation to get into it.”

Members of the Star Quilters not only make quilts for themselves and family, but also give them to people in need. The guild has made 135 Wounded Soldier quilts, they said, 19 of those in 2012.

“We also made a total of 950 Comfort Quilts, 133 of them last year,” Powers said. Those simpler quilts that are tacked instead of quilted are donated to the Salvation Army, nursing homes and hospice.

For more information on the Star Quilters and the show, go to www.starquilters.org.