LITTLE CURRENT—Manitoulin Island once again hosted the Show and Share, the annual event that tours Northeastern Ontario, allowing quilters to gather for fellowship, fun and to share their quilted creations to a large and admiring group.
Late last month the Island Quilters Guild, Current Quilts and Stitchery Guild and Happy Quilters (the three Island quilt groups) worked together to host the group of over 200 quilters from across the northeast at the recreation centre in Little Current.
“The Island Quilters had never hosted and we were feeling very guilty,” Lauren McDonald, one of the chief Show and Share organizers, admits. There is a lot of cross-pollination among the guilds and so a committee was formed and the offer to host was given. It was readily accepted.
This reporter commented on the filled-to-capacity rec centre hall on the day of the event. “That’s what it’s like every year and it’s been that way since 2004 when Rayside Balfour started it,” Ms. McDonald said.
The April 28 Show and Share saw 13 of the 14 Northeast guilds represented. “We didn’t think the (poor) weather would mean people would come, but they did,” she added. You can’t keep a good quilter down.
A Show and Share consists of lunch followed by an afternoon of, well, showing and sharing.
“It’s an unwritten rule that if you’re coming, you’re sharing,” she said.
One by one, tables are called and the quilters, or fibre artists, get in line with their creations. Ms. McDonald explained that some of the guilds, such as Current Quilts, do stitchery too, and some do fibre arts, so there is a good mix of what is being showed.
Volunteer students wait on the rec centre stage to help show the quilt off to the audience. Each quilter is then given a moment to say a few words about their piece. The unveiling of the quilts is often met with ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhhs’ from the audience.
Each Show and Share also includes a special quilt block (the basic unit that goes into making a quilt). This year, the Island groups asked each quilter attending to create a Mason jar block. All of the blocks met the same specification (8.5 inches square) with the same Mason jar pattern. After that, it’s up to you. The walls were lined with Mason jar blocks, each jar holding something unique—from strawberries to cookies to skunks. A raffle is held at the Show and Share that sees one lucky quilter the winner of the blocks, giving them a quilt almost ready to go, or at least the pieces ready to be sewn together and quilted.
“On the Island, we’re famous for making our own food, so we picked a Mason jar,” Ms. McDonald said of the design.
Each of the place settings provided a placemat that doubled as a place to take notes. Each attendee was presented with a marker when they checked in so that people, ideas or thoughts can be quickly jotted down throughout the Show and Share.
“You go away just inspired and reinvigorated,” Ms. McDonald said of the Show and Share. “We see what we do at our meetings, but the variety (at the large event) is just amazing.”
For anyone who would like to try their hand at quilting, Ms. McDonald suggests visiting one of the local guild meetings.
“People think quilting requires patience; it’s not patience,” she said. “Working with your hands in any way can be a meditation and help to calm down the racing thoughts in your mind.”