Take a quest for quilts

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Again and again, quilters continue stitching up new memories for the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club’s annual show.


As part of Lavender Weekend, the 27th show — “Tropical Delight” — takes place July 19-21 in the Sequim Middle School gymnasium, 301 W. Hendrickson Road.


The show has long been a hit, seeing its attendance grow each year.


Shelle Paulbitski, a club quilter, said it’s even a hit among her neighbors who don’t quilt but love going to the show.


Club president Sharon Clayton said their goal is to craft at least 200 quilts a year with most if not more on display at the show.


“People come to enjoy the quilts and it’s amazing, even the people who know nothing about quilts are amazed at the work,” Clayton said.


“It’s a nice family thing to be able to do and it’s just a good outing to see what people can do with a needle and thread and a piece of fabric.”


The show floor features the club members’ quilts made through the year, including garments and bags, community quilts typically made for nonprofits, and joy quilts made for agencies to give to individuals coping with challenge and tragedy.


One part of the show displays the 35-plus art quilts focusing on lavender, flowers or black and white themes.


Sherry Nagel with the Art Quilt Sues said the art quilts are a show within a show and many of the pieces are for sale. Sales help pay for art instructors to come in.


“Art quilts can be representative of any type of technique,” she said. “Some stitch fused, hand-dyed fabric and some add paint for details.”


Another popular mainstay is the quilt challenge, in which quilters are tasked to place as many of one item (baskets this year) as possible cleverly into a quilt.


Throughout the show, the club raffles off $1 tickets for the featured group-made quilt “Sassafras Leaves” to support the club’s educational and community service programs.


A range of membership  

As a quilter for 40-plus years, Geneva Coffin of Port Angeles never imagined she’d be the featured quilter, especially since she gives most of her quilts away after completion.  Each year, a committee of featured quilters chooses an artist like her.


“I love to make many different types of quilts,” Coffin said. “It’s definitely challenging, in a good way.”


Coffin loves to take classes and learn and finds quilters of any type can learn a lot at their weekly meetings. In her life, she guesses she’s made 80 to 90 quilts; she says the show is a great opportunity for people to see the different ways people put fabric together.


New club member Carol Green finds that all of the club members, new and experienced, help everybody.

“Don’t think you can’t go. People will help you freely and happily,” Green said.


“It’s a sisterhood,” said Alanna Levesque, a longarm quilter who joined the club in 1996.


She continues with the club not just for her love of quilts but because of how much they give back.  


“We do so much for the community and donate to so many organizations,” Levesque said. “Quilters are givers. This show is our gift to the community.”


This year, the club created quilts for each of the lavender groups and the Sequim Pioneer Association, with more quilts to be donated to other agencies.


Sunbonnet Sues make a number of items for different groups: quillows (quilts that roll into pillows) for veterans; Christmas stockings for foster children in Sequim and Port Angeles; and quilts of valor for military personnel.


The club meets 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesdays at the Sequim Masonic Lodge, 700 S. Fifth Ave.

Clayton said the weekly meetings are a good chance to get away, relax and make a quilt.


Tentative themes for upcoming shows include Sequim barns in 2014 and Applique in 2015.

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