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Layers of fabric equals layers of fun, love: Quilters Guild teaches newcomers

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Peggy Notestine with the Quilting Guild ties up quilts that will be donated to people in need at Pitt County Senior Center on March 14, 2019. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)


Monday, March 18, 2019

While a quilt is made up of layers of material sewn together to create the final product, the Greenville Quilters Guild demonstrated that a quilting class is made up of layers of fun.

The guild held a “Learn to Quilt” class on Saturday in celebration of National Quilting Day, which occurs each year on the third Saturday in March. The class met from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Center for Arts & Crafts at Jaycee Park.

The 94-member guild has been celebrating National Quilting Day with the class for the past several years “because we wanted to highlight quilting,” said Vicki Harrell, the Guild’s membership chair.

“People say, ‘Oh, you quilt? People still do that?’ Yeah, they sure do. It’s a a $3.7 billion industry,” said Harrell.

Saturday’s class filled up quickly, drawing approximately 25 students and a waiting list, said Harrell. 

The room was set up with 10 stations hosted by guild members, and every 30 minutes the students rotated to learn a different quilting technique. 

“There’s something good at every station,” said student Vicki Dunn. 

Dunn said she thought one of the best parts of the class was that all the presenters “are so experienced.”

“They give little hints that you might not get from a manual or a book. They’ll say ‘this works better’ or ‘there’s an easier way to do it,’” said Dunn.

Yolanda Sheppard also was among those taking Saturday’s class. She said that growing up she had watched her mother sew, but she had not learned how to do it herself.

Not learning to sew or quilt in their youth is a common reason that people want to take lessons as an adult, said Lori Millsap, the guild’s co-president.

Sheppard brought 15-year-old Terrianna Lloyd, a ninth-grade student at J.H. Rose High School, to the class with her. Lloyd said she had not done any quilting, but wants to keep learning, possibly through Girl Scouts.

Like other participants, Lloyd enjoyed the “hands on” approach to the class, she said.

Lisa Finch, another student, said she tries to do something to honor her mother each year around her birthday, which is on St. Patrick’s Day.  Her mother, who loved quilting, died when Finch was 12-years-old. 

“When I heard about the quilting (class) that they were having today ... I thought that’s the perfect time to kind of honor my mother ... and I am just totally enjoying myself,” said Finch.

“One of the main purposes of our guild is community education,” said Millsap.

But the guild also gives away a lot of quilts to charities, she said.

Just this week a guild member delivered 25 quilts to Vidant Medical Center to be given to all babies born on National Quilting Day, said Millsap.

Other organizations that the group donates to include the children’s hospital at Vidant, the Guardian ad Litem program, the Carolina Hurricane Project, military groups and Meals on Wheels, said Harrell and Millsap.

Millsap spoke of a family who recently had to sleep on friends’ couches for two weeks when they were displaced because of a house fire. Millsap was able to give them some quilts to wrap themselves up in.

“There’s a real practical purpose in quilt-making that I think shouldn’t be underestimated, but there’s also the love attached with every stitch that we take ... so people don’t dismiss that either. There’s something about a handmade quilt that you know that person not only loves you while you have it, but they were thinking of you and loving you while they made it,” said Millsap.

Visitors will be able to view an array of quilts at the guild’s biannual quilt show on Sept. 28-29 at First Christian Church, 2810 E. 14th St. Cost of the show will be $5. Quilting vendors will also be at the event.

For more information about the Greenville Quilters Guild, visit https://www.greenvillencquiltersguild.com/

Karen Eckert can be reached at 252-329-9565 or at keckert@reflector.com.