Quilters gather for annual Pearl S. Buck Quilting Party
Dozens of quilters converged on the fellowship hall of Hillsboro's Oak Grove Presbyterian Churchﾠﾠ last Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the 16th annual Pearl S. Buck Quilting Party.
The event featured day-long classes each day, as well as two-and-a-half hour ﾓmini classesﾔ in the evenings. While the quilting party's participants are primarily from Pocahontas County, co-organizer Carol Barlow said this year's party also drew participants from Barboursville and Monterey, Virginia.
Barlow, with the late Louise McNeel, started the workshop at the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace's Stulting cabin in the 1990s. The idea was to offer a quilting event that featured the region's quilting talent and was accessible to local residents. Three years ago, Barlow said, the successful quilting party outgrew the old log cabin and has since relocated to Oak Grove Presbyterian Church.
ﾓWe wanted to do something local, rather than people having to travel to Jackson's Mill or someplace like that for quilting,ﾔ said Barlow.
In addition to the classes, the quilting party features door prizes from local businesses and a special drawing for quilt blocks made by the participants themselves.
Each registrant receives a fat quarterﾗan18-by-22-inch piece of fabricﾗwith their registration materials, Barlow explained.
ﾓWe ask them to make at least one block using some of that fabric,ﾔ she said. ﾓSome of the girls get six (blocks) out of it. This year we had a total of 93 blocks. I couldn't believe it.
With one quilt top requiring 20 blocks, Barlow said the party had enough this year to draw for four complete sets of blocks and one partial set. This year's winners were Hillsboro residents Bonnie Gifford, Jean Jackson and Charlene Beverage, as well as Betty Williams, of Pence Springs.
Of course, the heart of the quilting party is the instruction from experienced quilters. This year's workshops were lead by Pocahontas County instructors Cheryl Taylor-Dean and Charlene Beverage, as well as Michelle Hill, of Barboursville, and Fran Kordek, of Elkins.
The classes are geared toward the intermediate or advanced quilter, said Barlow.
ﾓMost of our girls have done something through parks and recreation,ﾔ Barlow said. ﾓSo, rotary cutting and the basic skills, they already have. We do a little more advance programming, and Saturday's class is the most advanced.ﾔ
Kordek is the featured instructor on Saturday. She has been quilting for nearly four decades, has her own line of stained-glass-style quilting patterns called Subtle Endeavors, and is a quilting judge and appraiser. Kordek has been involved with the Pearl Buck Quilting Party since its early years, said Barlow.
This year Kordek taught the challenging Mariner's Compass pattern, which requires precise cutting and piecing.
Classes for each year are selected based on input from the quilting party participants. Barlow, working with co-organizers Dawna Jo Hedrick, Linda Adams and Cheryl Taylor-Dean, review class evaluations at the end of each year's workshop.
ﾓWe ask them to tell us things they're interested in and if they know of local instructors,ﾔ said Barlow. ﾓWe sit down a couple weeks after Pearl Buck, go through the evaluations and pick out the most popular topics, and we try to match them with a teacher.ﾔ
The following May, brochures and registration materials go in the mail for the next quilting party. Registration is on a first come, first served basis.
ﾓWe laughingly say to send your registration in the day you receive your brochure,ﾔ said Barlow.
But that's no joke. In recent years, the quilting party workshops have filled up within two weeks of the the brochures being mailed in mid-May. It's not uncommon for the daytime classes to have waiting lists.
So mark your calendar. Next year's Pearl S. Buck Quilting Party will be July 26 through 28.