Happy International Quilting Day!
This special day is always celebrated on the third Saturday of March and this year you will have a great spot to celebrate it. The Appleseed Quilter’s Guild (The Guild) is having their biennial Festival of Quilts Show at the Turnstone Center, Fort Wayne on March 20-21. The Plassman Athletic Center will be filled with hundreds of colorful quilts with special exhibitions by the Sisters of the Cloth and winning quilts from the Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge in honor of the late PBS artist. I recently caught up with Cindi Fletcher, Churubusco, who is heavily involved with philanthropy projects for The Guild and the Whitley County Country Quilters (WCCQ).
Cindi was about ten years old when she started to sew and she counts her mother, neighbors and an awesome home economics teacher among her teachers and mentors. Her love of fabric and sewing led her to working in fabric stores, drapery workrooms, alteration shops, and upholstery work with her late husband Hugh and owning their own business for 35 years.
Quilting was not a family tradition and she never made one until a decorator client needed someone to make quilted bedspreads. The decorator handed her a stack of fabric and told her “You can do this!” and she did, on a domestic sewing machine.
When Cindi discovered longarm machines and tools, it took time and lots of practice to master the skill, but her passion for fabric persevered and after making so many bedspreads for others, she started piecing quilts for herself. She considers her style to be organic or botanical: she loves quilting freehand leaves and flowers. Two of Cindi’s quilts will be on exhibition at the AQG Show: Leaves on Snow and Flower Power.
As the chairperson of the WCCQ’s charity committee, she is blessed to work with an amazing group of women who love to share their talents with the community and beyond! Cindi uses her longarm skills to quilt the many quilt tops the members make and donate to Quilts of Valor, neonatal quilts to local hospitals, Project Linus, and Churubusco Childcare Center to name a few. She especially loves taking simple tops and finishing them to be enjoyed by the little ones at the Childcare center! Sometimes Cindi is given orphan blocks, too few to make a quilt, but she is able to whip them up into a quilt top so no good block is left behind.
WCCQ President, Becky Fenton, is also a member of both groups so the love of sharing their gifts and time with others is a big part of both of their quilting lives. Neonatal quilts made of a 19” top square and a soft flannel back are especially dear to both women, knowing the comfort the soft quilted cloth gives to the preemies as they slowly thrive.
The Guild members annually create quilts for kids with cancer who attend Camp Whatcha-Wanna-Do. A display of the campers’ quilts will also be at this show!
Although quilting techniques have changed drastically over the past few decades, quilting remains a time-honored craft as you will experience at the show. Let’s raise our needles to all quilt makers who bring so much love to their quilting endeavors!