For decades, the In Stitches quilting group has been a gathering place where what some might call old fashioned arts are celebrated.
Its members have seen each other through life’s ups and downs and they have seen and celebrated countless hours of needlework.
“It’s like what happened in the olden days,” said member Mary Ann Wilson. “You started quilting with your neighbors and you were on your way.”
While group members intend to keep their group going as long as they can, they have decided that their days of hosting public quilt shows have come to an end.
Their last ever event, The Last Stitch Quilt Show, will be open Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at Centralia Christian School.
The quilt group started meeting in about 1989 and held their first biannual quilt show in 1999. Their last show was supposed to happen in the spring of 2020 and was one of the many events that had to be canceled suddenly when restrictions on gatherings resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic were enacted in Washington. Quilting group members said they decided to end after their 10th quilt show because many of their 25 to 30 members are getting older and putting on the event takes a lot of time and energy.
“We’re getting old and so are the husbands who usually help set it up,” said member Susy Carpenter.
The Last Stitch Quilt show will feature between 200 to 300 handmade quilts, all of which are quilted entirely by hand. Some of the quilts at the show will be machine pieced, meaning the pieces that make up the top of the quilt may have been sewn together using a sewing machine. But Wilson said there will be at least a handful of quilts on display at the show that are both hand-pieced and hand-quilted.
Many quilters use quilting machines to stitch the batting in between the top and bottom pieces of their quilt. Though it can take considerably longer than machine quilting, quilting by hand is a technique that is preferred by members of In Stitches.
“I never keep track of the time it takes to finish a quilt,” said quilt group member Geralyn Reed.
“It can be months to years for many of them,” Wilson added.
Carpenter will be the featured quilter for the show and will have a special section containing between 30 to 40 of her quilts. An In Stitches member since 1989, Carpenter was supposed to be the featured quilter at the ill-fated 2020 show.
Rick Sundstrom, who also missed out on presenting in 2020, has been chosen to present bed turnings at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily. Bed turnings feature a bed, upon which has been placed multiple layers of a sewer’s quilts. One-by-one, Sundstrom will pull back the layers to reveal the different designs and talk about each one.
Besides quilt viewing, the event will also feature opportunities to learn more about quilting. There will be twice-daily demonstrations from local quilters on the subjects of: white on white quilting; color tinting; and embellished wool circles. The main school hallway leading into the show space is usually reserved to honor a single quilter’s body of work. This year’s hallway will feature quilts made by Susie Batchelor.
The Last Stitch Quilt Show will also feature quilts for sale and raffle, including quilts for sale to benefit Project Linus, a nonprofit that gives new blankets to children. There will also be a Country Store selling everything from fabric and patterns, to partially completed projects and antique items. Attendees can also enjoy a lunch of your choice of two different soups, salad, homemade roll and a cookie for $10 per person.
As with previous years, money raised at The Last Stitch Quilt Show will benefit the Centralia Christian School, where the show as well as the group’s regular meetups, happen. Over the years, the quilting group has raised $50,000 for the school through the event.
If You Go …
What: In Stitches Quilt Group’s The Last Stitch Quilt Show
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 30 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 1
Schedule: Bed turnings by Rick Sundstrom at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; lunch 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $10 per person; white on white quilting demos noon and 2 p.m.; Color tinting demos at 12:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.; embellished wool circles demos at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Where: Centralia Christian School
Cost: $10 per person, all proceeds benefit Centralia Christian School
Info: email@example.com or The Last Stitch Quilt Show on Facebook