Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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July 21, 2012

Quilting groups, enthusiasts gather for Patchwork Quilters Jamboree

BLUEFIELD, Va. — Long-time quilters and those picking up a needle and thread for the first time gathered Friday at the Bluefield College Dome for the first Patchwork Quilters Jamboree.

Members from quilting groups across the two Virginias were displaying more than 90 quilts during the show as well as conducting sewing and quilting lessons as part of the first quilt jamboree for the area.

Patchwork Quilters Jamboree Co-chair Betty Watson of Nemours, Va., said she and fellow Co-chair Betty Kuppusami of Bluefield, Va., started the jamboree as a way to bring local quilters together.

“We got together with another lady from the area, Nina Counts, and decided we wanted to get together all of the quilting groups in the area,” Watson said. “We decided just to see what we could all do. We got together with the Tazewell group and then the Richlands group and then the Ceres group and it just grew into this quilt show. It’s been great.”

Watson said new technology has made quilting easier for both the young and young-at-heart.

“I love designing my own quilts and picking the colors,” Watson said. “There are so many new machines and computer programs available now. You get a quilting program, design it on the computer and know what your quilt will look like before you even start sewing. It’s really neat what you can do these days.”

Co-chair Betty Kuppusami said the show is “a dream come true.”

“We’re ecstatic about this show,” Kuppusami said. “There are about 10 quilting groups in the area and we are hoping to get together with the others so we can continue events like this. We have a professional quilting instructor here offering a class. We are just so excited to bring this to fruition and we are hoping more people will come and take advantage of it. Other towns have events like this, so there is no reason why we can’t.”

Kuppusami said the main reason for the show is to introduce more people to quilting.

“We are hoping to attract more people and turn more people on to quilting,” she said. “It’s an up and coming rage. Most people have a history behind their quilt. There is some sort of history or story behind the quilt.”

In addition to showing off their quilting skills, Kuppusami said the members of the jamboree have pledged 40 quilts to be used by veteran’s at the Beckley Veteran’s Administration Hospital. Fabric donations are being accepted at the jamboree to continue with the effort.

Gina Wright of Princeton, president of the Mercer County Quilting Bee, said the event was important for local quilters.

“It has been a dream of a lot of women to get together for something like this, and they have done a great job,” Wright said. “People have been quilting for ages. Now, there are all kinds of fabrics and patterns to choose from. This brings quilting out for people to see and enjoy.”

Peggy Herbert of Belfast, Va., was on hand to display some modern quilting techniques.

“The whole point of these shows is to meet and share techniques and talents,” Herbert said. “New technology has made it so much easier. I didn’t start quilting until I could use the technology out there now. We can share ideas and fellowship. We meet new people, make new friends, and get to see their quilts. Quilting is a dying art, and we need to keep it alive.”

Myra Moler of Ceres, Va., belongs to the Ceres Just for Fun Quilters group and came to the event to demonstrate how to make “scrappy purses” from quilting scraps.

“I love teaching people to do crafts and quilting,” Moler said. “I want to ensure the art of quilting thrives and continues. In our quilting group, we have 10 young people from age 11 to 22 who come, which is important so we can pass the art of quilting on.”

Like many area quilting groups, Moler said her group mainly works to provide quilts for good causes in the community.

“We have sent quilts to nursing homes, to other countries, to children’s hospitals and to the Virginia State Troopers to keep in their vehicle,” she said. “When someone is ill in the community, we will make a quilt for them. We are a non-profit and we work to serve the community through quilting.”

The Patchwork Quilters Jamboree continues today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Bluefield College Dome in Bluefield, Va. Donations of fabric will be used to make quilts for veterans at the Beckley Veteran’s Administration Hospital.

— Contact Kate Coil at

kcoil@bdtonline.com

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