by Cori Hilsgen
The St. Cloud Heritage Quilters’ “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” quilt show held Oct. 10-11 at the College of St. Benedict’s Haehn Campus Center drew hundreds of people.
The event featured about 500 quilts on display, as well as raffle prizes, vendors’ booths and more. All the quilts on display were made by guild members, and the vendors also had quilts on display at their booths.
Organizer Marjorie LaTour said the show was held at CSB because of its central location, large space, ample parking and good lighting.
“They have been very accommodating to us through(out) the years the show has been held there,” LaTour said. “We produce a show every two years – usually the second weekend in October.”
Sauk Rapids members Shirlee Haraldson and Jean Gilbertson discussed the show. Co-chair Haraldson has been a member for 10 years and charter member Gilberston has been a member for 25 years.
“There is such a great variety of quilts,” Haraldson said. “You have several quilts which all have the same pattern, but they don’t look like the same quilt because everyone’s interpretation of color and fabric is different. Everyone does their own variation.”
“Months and months of work comes down to one weekend,” Gilbertson said. “It’s similar to planning a wedding. It’s awesome to see all the members’ work in one place.”
Sartell resident Mary Proell has been a member of the guild for 10 years, and this is the fourth quilt show she has participated in.
“There are so many talented people in this group,” Proell said. “People with an artistic flair who use unusual techniques and mediums, such as hand-dying their own fabrics. It makes the quilts more fun to see because they are so unusual.”
In honor of its 25th anniversary, the guild’s show honored its charter members with a special exhibit, as well as a featured raffle quilt from the first quilt show held in 1992.
The charter members’ exhibit included something made their first year and something recently made.
Charter members included Jan Steeves, Sue Beckman, Jean Gilbertson, Sandy Kollman, Vonetta Kennedy and Ann Dobos. Deceased charter member Paula Lanphier’s quilts were also on display. Lanphier died the week before the show’s opening.
“The charter members have never lost their love and enthusiasm of quilting,” Gilbertson said.
Chris Hoover was the show’s featured quilter who created the raffle quilt, “A Few of our Favorite Blocks.” Hoover, who began quilting in 1989, said she loves quilting and wants to share her passion with other quilters who are free to use her patterns and make them their own.
Hoover has always loved to draw and has created a career out of her designs called Whirligig Designs. She credits founding members Steeves as being influential in encouraging her to start publishing her patterns.
The St. Cloud Heritage Quilters was started when charter members Steeves and Beckman met at a fabric store in St. Cloud and realized they had a shared interest in quilting. They decided they would start a quilt guild and invited two other neighbors to join them. Together, they planned the first guild meeting for November 1989 at North Junior High School.
Beckman put up a flyer at the Stearns History Museum, and many of the original members saw the ad there. They had 26 members on their list at the first meeting. The guild has grown from the original 20 members to about 150.
The mission of the group is dedicated to furthering the love and art of quilt-making.
“Through the guild you will find numerous opportunities and activities to grow in your love of quilting, share your talents, improve your skills and make new friends who share your passion,” LaTour said.
Displayed groupings at the show included a kids’ corner, season/holiday, garment/quilted item, art quilts, featherweight group, 2014 mystery quilt, 2015 row robin group and undercolor club group.
Ribbons were presented in the following categories: small quilts (less than 300 inches), large quilts (more than 300 inches), kids corner (for ages 15 or younger), garment/quilted item, seasonal/holiday, original design and first-time exhibitor at show.
People could register to have quilts appraised by Sue Harmon, who is certified by the American Quilters Society.
Harmon said there are three reasons people usually request an appraisal of a quilt. They include for insurance-replacement value, donation value and fair-market value.
“I wrote appraisals for 26 quilts during the two days of the quilt show,” Harmon said. “The majority of the quilts were newly made using design patterns that are on the market at quilt shops, with a few of the quilts designed by the maker. The St. Cloud Heritage Quilters and quilters from around the area are very creative. I can’t say one was more impressive than another as they were all intriguing quilts.”
All of the quilts Harmon appraised during the weekend were for the purpose of insurance-replacement value, which is based either on comparable sales or cost to reconstruct.
“We are so thrilled everyone came to the show to view our quilts,” LaTour said. “There was one lucky person who won the raffle quilt and 40 other people who won the other raffle prizes or one of the baskets.”
The quilters group donates to various charity projects, and many of the quilts on display will be donated to charitable organizations.
“We select different charities every year for our service project,” LaTour said. “This year we are making quilts for Anna Marie’s and Quilts of Valor. For many years we have also made tote bags for the Coborn Cancer Center. In past years we have donated quilts to Breaking Free, Stearns County Public Health Programs, Eagle’s Nest in Sauk Centre, Project Linus and Independence Center.”
The quilters meet on the first Thursday of the month at the Love of Christ Lutheran Church on Pinecone Road S. in St. Cloud. Meetings usually last about two hours and include a business meeting, show-and-tell, break and a program or speaker.
“It is a nice, once-a-month, social event with no pressure,” Proell said. “We learn so much from each other through the show-and-tell. It’s very inspirational. It’s a great group of women of all ages.”
Proell said she became a better quilter when she joined the group. She gave an example of seeking ideas for the border of the quilt and said she always got better ideas from the group than if she tried to do it by herself.
Proell said the group involved a lot of teamwork. Small groups of members often go on quilting retreats and attend other social events together.
Guild members come from St. Cloud and surrounding areas, including St. Joseph, Sartell, Sauk Rapids and Rice. They also come from areas farther away such as Avon, Becker, Brainerd, Clear Lake, Clearwater, Cold Spring and more.
Members extend an open invitation to anyone, from all skill levels who would like to join. For more information, visit the stcloudheritagequilters.com website or facebook.com/stcloudheritagequilters.