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Guild says quilting is darn good fun

January 12, 2007|by ALICIA NOTARIANNI

Paper name tags reading "Hello, my name is " are pretty common wherever large groups of people get together. Gatherings of the Friendship Quilters Guild offer a notable exception.

In place of the rectangular paper labels, quilters who attended a guild meeting Tuesday, Jan. 9, at Hagerstown Seventh-day Adventist Church, sported carefully patterned, painstakingly-crafted, cushiony, potholder-sized name tags. Quilted, of course.

Rebecca Bergeron, president of the roughly 75-member guild, said members receive the name tag pattern when they join the group. Each quilter chooses her own fabric and design details to correspond with her tastes and persona.

"We choose our own colors and make it our own. I added a little cross-stitching along there with my name," Bergeron said, gesturing toward her idyllic, neutral-toned creation.

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Bergeron, 52, of Middletown, Md., said the guild meets at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at the Seventh-day Adventist Church from September through May, and at members' homes June, July and August, with occasional outings at other locations. Meetings consist of a business agenda, show-'n'-tell and an informational program time.

During the business portion of Tuesday evening's meeting, various members shared details about upcoming workshops and classes. Sheri Newcomer of Hagerstown encouraged members to attend a four-day spring quilt retreat in March.

"We take snacks, stay up as late as we want, sleep in as late as we want, sew, sew, sew, and have a blast," Newcomer said.

During show-'n'-tell, Vicki Sanders of Cascade shared a royal blue-and-white quilt with stars that she made on New Years Day. She dubbed it "Mystery Quilt." She followed instructions posted at a Web site.

"Each hour, you get online and it told you what to do next. No one knew what it would look like until we were done," Sanders said.

One quilt that generated a fascinated buzz among members was created by Darlene Violet as a Christmas gift for her son Wayne. Wayne's wife Jeanette offered some assistance. The focal point of the quilt was a large fabric version of one of the well-known "Dogs Playing Poker" prints. A black background strewn with playing cards and poker chips served as a border.

"We have smoking dogs there," said Darlene Violet, 52, of Keedysville, as she and Jeanette Violet, 24, of Rohrersville, outstretched the 60-inch-by-100-inch piece.

In a good-natured effort to ward off the pooh-poohs of purist quilting types, who frown upon the use of pre-printed graphics rather than original design, Violet teased, "It's not 'cheater cloth.' It's an 'art panel.'"

Guild vice president Betty Barger, 67, of Hagerstown, said the group, which has been active for more than 20 years, has members of all levels and abilities. Some have a penchant for traditional hand quilting and use only pure cotton fabrics and threads, while others prefer primitive and folk-art styles and have no misgivings about working with cotton/polyester blends and machines. The guild partners with Buchanan Trail Quilters to host an extensive Quilt Show showcasing members' diverse projects every two years.

Bergeron said the guild is open to anyone who has an interest in quilting.

"We welcome anyone willing to share their skills and talents," Bergeron said. "I think our name says what it's all about - friendship. We do a lot of laughing and have a lot of fun."

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