Each March since the Material Girlz quilt guild began in January 2009, its annual quilt show has drawn a crowd to Honey Creek Resort.
March 8 and 9 will mark the fifth annual A Honey of a Quilt Show event at Honey Creek. The hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 8 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 9. Admission is $5.
What to look for
This year’s raffle quilt is a rail fence variation in cream, tan, ivory and black that several guild members created together.
For the second year, the quilt show will include a Quilts of Valor presentation. Quilts of Valor was started by a group of women who wanted to honor veterans for service by presenting quilts to them. To date more than 96,000 quilts have been presented nationally.
Members of the Material Girlz guild choose veterans, make quilts for them and register the quilts with the national organization. The quilts will be presented to the veterans at 2 p.m. March 9.
Last year the guild presented several quilts to veterans, ranging in service from a man who served in World War II to a woman in her 20s.
“There wasn’t a dry eye in the place,” says Jane Logsdon, co-president of Material Girlz.
Claudia McCarthy, also co-president, gave a Quilt of Valor to her brother-in-law last year, and this year she plans to give one to a neighbor she has been friends with for more than 40 years. Both served in Vietnam.
“The veterans are so thankful,” McCarthy says. “I have been told by Vietnam veterans that received a Quilt of Valor that it was the best thing that came out of their service because they were treated so poorly when they came home.”
This year’s quilt show also will feature Ilene Bartos, a designer, author and teacher. Guild member Nancy Kelly met Bartos at a quilt show in Des Moines and was really interested in her modernistic quilts.
“I told her about our show and she was so enthusiastic, and she wanted to come and be part of it,” Kelly says.
Bartos’ signature maple leaf quilts inspired the background for this year’s promotional materials. Bartos will have a trunk show and will demonstrate techniques.
The quilt show will feature hourly drawings for door prizes, a silent auction and games. A new event this year will be a bed turning, in which 25 to 50 quilts are layered on a bed. Each quilt is held up while a narrator tells the quilt’s story. McCarthy says this can be a good way to incorporate antique quilts, baby quilts and holiday quilts that might not be chosen for display.
The guild’s history
In early 2009 the founding members of Material Girlz said they hoped to have a quilt show someday, but it happened much sooner than they anticipated, Logsdon says.
A member contacted Honey Creek with the idea for the quilt show, and suddenly it was happening — the first show was scheduled for March 2009, just three months from then.
The guild members wanted to raffle a quilt, but they didn’t have time to make one as a group. Logsdon quickly made a quilt for the raffle.
On the other hand, the group had no problem finding enough quilts for the show.
“We had close to 200 quilts that first year to show,” Logsdon says. “It was a really awesome show.”
In fact, organizers decided to trim down the number of quilts to 150 in subsequent years because 200 was a little overwhelming, McCarthy says.
That first year, the officers were looking for a volunteer to help teach quilting.
“I timidly volunteered, and I have been there ever since teaching,” Logsdon says. “That was the year I overcame my shyness.”
There was interest in the club right away, with about 20 people attending the first meeting. Currently there are more than 60 members, and Logsdon estimates there are more than 40 at every meeting.
How to get involved
McCarthy says anyone is welcome to attend one meeting for free and check it out. After that, dues are $20 per calendar year. Meetings are the third Sunday of every month — unless it is a holiday — at 2:30 p.m. in the basement of the First United Methodist Church at 410 N. Main St. in Centerville.
McCarthy says people who are interested don’t have to be concerned about their current skill level.
“I think some people are unsure of their ability,” she says. “They may think we are all advanced, and we certainly aren’t.”
Logsdon echoes this sentiment. She says the quilt guild has all kinds of people, of all ages and ability levels.
“There are some in their 20s and 30s, all the way up to the octogenarians,” she says. “If you are average to advanced and you want some advice, you come in and share with the group, and we’ll give you our advice. And if you are a beginner, we work with you to teach the basics.”
McCarthy says she started quilting about 10 years ago, so she knows what it is like to be a beginner.
“I was so afraid to even cut the fabric,” McCarthy remembers. “The lady doing the class came over because she could see I was struggling, and she said, ‘Let me help you with that.’ I was just sold — I just can’t do enough.”
A decade later, McCarthy continues to find that thrill in quilting.
“It is such a joy to me when I walk into my sewing room,” McCarthy says. “Even if it is a total disaster, it is such a good feeling.”
The Saturday following the meeting, a sew-in begins at 9 a.m. where people can work on whatever they want. Group sewing projects have included donations such as 150 pillowcases for the county’s long-term care facilities. Guild members used a technique on the pillowcases in which the seams are enclosed, so that the final product stands up better to laundering.
Each year the guild takes care to choose quilts for the show that have not been shown before. To be shown, quilts must belong to a guild member, whether that member made the quilt or not. The quilts are not for sale, though quilt owners are free to entertain offers that come their way.
One reason the quilts are not for sale is because quilts take so much money and time to create it is difficult to put a price on them. Logsdon says just the material can cost $80 to $200, and that does not take into account the many hours of labor.
Logsdon says making a quilt can take anywhere from three days to 30 years. Sometimes projects get put aside and are finished much later.
“We have a lot of UFOs — Unfinished Objects,” Logsdon says with a laugh.
McCarthy says the first quilt she finished was like that. She started when her daughter was 10 and finally finished when her daughter was 31.
Logsdon once made a quilt with a complicated stack-n-whack technique that was so labor intensive her husband told her she couldn’t possibly consider giving it away. She says she keeps the quilt in a closet because it doesn’t match the colors of her house.
Some members of the guild are prolific enough to create several new quilts in a year, but that kind of output is not for everyone.
One of the great things about quilting is the limitless creativity, Logsdon says.
“You find fabric that speaks to you, and you make a quilt with it,” she says. “Some of those unusual fabric combinations come together, and it looks really good.”
McCarthy agrees. She says that while she used to gravitate toward more traditional designs, she is increasingly interested in modern quilt designs.
She is also interested in the way quilters can take any scrap and make art with it. At a recent program, the quilt guild invited a speaker on thread art. The artist was able to use any kind of thread, even threads she picked up off the floor, in her wall hangings.
“Waste not, want not,” Logsdon observes.
Kelly says even though the Material Girlz guild is robust, it hardly exhausts the interest in quilting in Appanoose County.
“There are still a lot of quilters we don’t have yet,” Kelly says. “There is a lot of interesting quilting around here.”