Stitching to a niche
Women quilt winning piece to position Fredericksburg on top of art medium
By Lisa Treiber-Walter— In the world of quilting, a win at the International Quilt Association’s annual judged show in Houston is like earning an Olympic gold medal.
A group of Fredericksburg women recently achieved just that — bringing home a first-place prize for their quilt “Celebration of Feathered Stars and Wildflowers.”
“This is our Olympics,” said Joanie Wyatt, who along with 22 of her fellow Vereins Quilt Guild members put together an artwork quilt that won the top of the group category, while in the process besting second-place Japan, third-place Romania and honorable mention California.
“It’s a big deal to get into this show, let alone win a prize,” Wyatt said.
The International Quilt Association (IQA) 2013 Quilt Festival, titled “A World of Beauty,” was held Oct. 30-Nov. 2 in Houston. It turned the spotlight on an estimated 1,300 juried quilts from around the globe that were competing in 24 categories in the hopes of winning a share of the $102,800 in prize money.
“The world’s best quilters send their quilts to compete in this show,” Wyatt said, adding that it also drew an attendance of 60,680 people making it the biggest in the United States.
“It is also the largest and most important quilt show in the world,” Wyatt said.
The local quilt’s win brought some international recognition to the City of Fredericksburg “and we think that’s pretty awesome,” Wyatt said.
The quilt project began here when members of the Vereins Quilt Guild “stepped up to the plate” and volunteered to lend their stitching talents, said guild member Helen Rode.
Twenty-three sets of hands contributing work on the project included, in addition to Wyatt and Rode: Ruth Bruner, Doreen Cardenas, Marilyn Mohr, Ronnie Hanifen, Marla Kelsey, Jane Murrell, Deborah Russell, Coleen Zabresnik, Jan Graetzel, Ann Armentrout, Kate Hunter, Stephanie Lescavage, Mary Ruelle, Alice Segner, Diane Kammlah, Susa Glenn, Kerry Fisher, Marilyn Lampman, Linda Miller, Linda Kager and Mary Ann Hildebrand.
The pattern they worked on was a challenging one, Rode said.
“The stars are a well-known, very recognizable traditional block pattern,” Rode said, but added that the quilt was complex — especially when factoring in 23 quilters with 23 different handwork styles.
Zabresznik drafted the stars and Goetzel and Wyatt coordinated the color palette and designed the border.
Volunteering guild members were distributed fabric to block. Once they were finished, it was Rode who was taxed with making all the pieces “fit” as uniformly as possible by providing the final quilting of the three layers together. She completed that work by quilting the detailed topwork.
“Helen’s quilting added a whole other art to the project,” Wyatt said. “She adds a distinctive design because her work is all hand-guided.”
Rode said she uses a longarm quilting machine and performs the decorative stitching through her free motion style of quilting.
Pulling the team’s individual pieces together was difficult, but it was done in such a way that it would pass the judges’ discriminating tastes.
“Fredericksburg is very fortunate to have the skill and expertise to have their work recognized by the International Quilt Association,” Wyatt said.
“It is amazing that this many quilters contributing to one work would turn out to have this kind of quality and do so well in this high caliber of a show,” she said.
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