Patterns and people fill quilt show

Leslie Silverman
The 2021 Hill City Quilt Show and Sale had over 1,400 visitors and drew locals and tourists to the Heart of the Hills.
Quilt lovers and quilt curious folks could be seen admiring the numerous quilts hanging around town, strolling in and out of shops to participate in the quilt pattern piece scavenger hunt or perusing the decorative display of quilts  outside the library’s book sale. Quilts were everywhere and so were the people.
“A lot of people came in for a piece of the pattern,” said Lorena Freis, who owns The Farmer’s Daughter. The Farmer’s Daughter was one of 12 businesses that participated in the Quilt Show scavenger hunt.
“Anything that brings people into our businesses is a good thing. It’s a win-win,” said Freis. 
Darci Ferebee from Granite Sports also saw increased traffic.
“We’re happy the quilt show is in town. It brings a lot of people to town,”  Ferebee said.
Ferebee, like other shop owners, put her scavenger hunt piece at the back of the store so that hunters would have to walk through her store and potentially buy things. 
That strategy seems to have worked. Claire Kolbinger of Hudson, Wis., explained the scavenger hunt in which participants were looking for an unassuming white piece of paper with a pattern piece on it.
“Each store put a different spin on it. Some put them in the dressing room. Some behind the counter. Some in the back of the store,” she said.
Kolbinger had no shame asking where the pieces were. She also thought it was a great way for visitors to get to know the businesses.
“I’d give two thumbs up for acquainting people with businesses. I probably bought something in 80 percent of the stores,” she said.
Once all 12 papers were collected quilt pattern hunters went back to the quilt show headquarters and sought out Sue Gies, the pattern’s designer. Once Gies inspected to make certain all 12 pieces were collected, she handed over detailed instructions on how to put the quilt together.
“I wanted to make an interesting piece and not incorporate difficult techniques,” Gies said.
She also wanted to relate the piece to the Black Hills and chose trees and cabins as a motif as well as barns, matching the ones on the quilt banners on Main Street in Hill City. Twelve blocks were used in the design to correspond with the 12 businesses that each supplied a pattern piece. 
The scavenger hunt was just one way to include the greater community and businesses into the quilt show. The Hill City Arts Council took the quilt show under its umbrella of art events that feature everything from music to sculpture.
Quilting is an art form that begins with a vision. Many quilters use a planning board to decide what their quilting design will look like and how the many pieces will fit together. From there it’s as simple as creating a sandwich- sewing batting between the two slices of fabric, the quilt top and the backing. Sewing can be done by hand or by machine. 
Quilting may be the ultimate way to recycle old clothing. Mary Kay Cole, the 2021 Quilt Show featured artist, got into quilting as a way to repurpose her daughter's old clothes.
“I used to make all the clothes for my kids when they were little. So then you have all the leftovers from the clothes,” she said.
Cole had so much cotton fabric that she couldn’t just throw it away. So she decided to learn to quilt. One of her first quilts was from a fan fabric she had used to create dresses for her girls when they were young. That quilt sandwich was sewn by hand, but Cole also uses machines to sew stitches.
One of Cole’s most beautiful quilts was created out of old ties and suits from her friend Hank. Hank passed away and his widow Claire wanted a memory quilt that reflected his love of scouting, birds and the outdoors. Cole ended up creating several quilts, one of which she titled, “Memories of Hank” which tells a story of his time as a guide in the Boundary Waters in Minnesota.
Many quilters say quilting is like riding a bike. Once you learn it it’s something you can always come back to. Margaret Jackson of Rapid City was at the quilt show with her husband Tom. Tom had never attended before.
“It’s wonderful. I can’t believe it. It’s a lot of work,” he said.
 Margaret had a motive for her visit to the show. 
“I made one quilt,” she said. “It took me 10 years. I want to get inspired to not wait 10 years to start another one.”

User login