Stringtown Quilters Guild
Stringtown Quilters Guild - now that’s a strange name. Well if you knew where we’re located and also knew the folklore of the area you’d understand. We are located in Boone County, formed in 1988 by about 30 women from the surrounding area of the town of Florence. Legend has it that Florence was also known as Stringtown-on-the-Pike, though no documentation can be found, other than that there was store on Main street with that name, there is a village on the banks of the Ohio, though very small, that has a highway marker defining the location, and in the early 1900’s a gentleman from Florence wrote a novel entitled “Stringtown on the Pike - a tale of Northernmost Kentucky”. However, when one thinks of 'string' in relationship to quilting, one can only envision the vibrant colors and diverse patterns of a string quilt - whether an antique/ vintage one, or a more contemporary one from the likes of Bonnie Hunter. Stringtown Quilters Guild is somewhat like that - vibrant and diverse.
That group of 30 ladies, meeting in a local church, has grown to an average membership of 100, still meeting in a local church, though not the same one. From it’s infancy the guild has not only encouraged each other with the passion for quilting arts, but has always had a passion for charitable sharing of that which they produced. Each year the guild selects at least one local entity to receive quilts made by the members. It may have been Carenet, or Veterans Hospital, or St. Luke Hospital grief quilts ( for parents who suffered loss in childbirth), or St. E. Hospice or NICU, or ALS, or Sunrise Children’s Services, Women’s Crisis Center, Brighton Recovery Center…. I could go on and on. It is such a heartwarming experience each October or November when mounds of folded quilts are presented to a representative from the recipient organization. Sometimes even tears flow.
From the early days, challenges have been an integral part of the guild. One that has been ongoing since about 1991 is the annual block challenge. Each September, members may purchase a packet containing 5 coordinating fabrics. Only those 5 may be used to create a 12 1/2” unfinished block, or as many as one can create from the 4 fat quarters and 1/2 yd. of background. The blocks can be either pieced or appliquéd, any method is welcomed. At the annual Christmas festivities, all blocks are submitted and displayed with competition for Viewer’s Choice Appliqué and Viewer’s Choice Pieced. Just imagine! Between 75 and 100+ blocks covering the wall! Decisions are hard. The two winners of Viewer’s Choice select a specific number of blocks, traditionally between 12 and 20, depending on the number of blocks submitted. The rest are awarded in groups by drawing names from all who participated - one entry per block submitted. What great fun it always is during monthly Show and Tell to occasionally see the diverse creativity in turning those blocks into tremendous sampler quilts and wall hangings. Several of these have been seen at local, regional and national exhibits and shows, some receiving ribbons.
Annual retreats started in 1999 with just one, but that has expanded to both Spring and Fall retreats generally in the surrounding tri-state area. Nothing is more fun than leaving all the mundane household to-do’s back home, and escaping with friends to sew, sew, sew.
After sharing the responsibilities for Quilter’s Day Out ( now National Quilting Day though we still keep the old moniker ) with a sister guild in our area, we accepted full responsibility several years ago. The Ellis Extension Center in Boone County graciously opens its facility for a display of quilts, demonstrations of needle arts, and a variety of activities on the third Saturday of March. With the expansion of that facility, we have now been able to expand to offer vendors and a nationally known feature quilter/teacher with class and lecture. Next March we will be welcoming Sue Nickels. Put it in your calendar and join us then! Or better yet, we’d love to have you visit any time. We meet on the third Thursday of the month at 7:00pm at the First Church of Christ, Camp Ernst Rd. in Burlington, KY. Google it, or go to our website stringtownquilters.com for a ’Directions’ link.
Submitted by Diane Livezey