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Quilters pass down tradition (video)

By by Dianna Wray - DWRAY@VICAD.COM
July 26, 2012 at 2:26 a.m.
Updated July 27, 2012 at 2:27 a.m.

Faith Cahill slowly feeds her fabric through the sewing machine during a quilt camp at Grace Presbyterian Church.

Kristen Poole pursed her lips and wrinkled her brow in concentration as she slid the pieces of fabric under the thrumming electric needle of the sewing machine.

"Like this?" Kristen asked her grandmother, Mary Jo Poole.

"That's right," Poole said, nodding her head.

Kristen was one of 14 girls gathered at Grace Presbyterian Church on Thursday morning to practice their quilting as part of a summer workshop offered by the Quilter's Guild of Greater Victoria, Inc.

The guild has more than 100 members, who meet on the fourth Thursday of every month.

They hold these workshops to give young people a chance to learn the art that they love so much.

Girls crouched over the sewing machines, while the experienced quilters sat alongside them, showing them some of the basic techniques of the art.

"They're just so eager to learn," member Betty Burns said. "That makes this fun. They put together different colors and patterns that I would never think of. They're so creative."

Teek Miller, a longtime member of the guild, said they hold these workshops a few times a year to give members a chance to teach young people how to quilt. The art teaches patience as the quilters painstakingly sew together various colorful pieces of cloth to make a work of art.

Miller said she and the other quilters are worried that the art will be lost if it isn't passed down to the younger generations.

"If people don't make a conscientious effort to pass it on, it will be lost," Miller said.

Lily Egan's blond head crouched over the sewing machine as her small fingers guided the fabric. Lily's neighbor, Diané Lott, of Shiner, smiled as the 9-year-old finished with the piece with a small but proud smile.

"It's a better thing for these young people to be doing than walking their fingers across a phone all day," Lott said. "Quilting is an art form that has been around for so many years, and we need to encourage young people to learn about it or it will die out."

Poole has been teaching this art to Kristen since her granddaughter was 9 years old.

"It's a joy because I love to do the work, and it makes me so happy to pass it on," Poole said. "It's an old art and it needs to be kept going."

By quilting, the pair get to spend time together. Kristen said she loves having a work of art, something the two made together, as an end result.

"It makes me feel proud, like I've really accomplished something," Kristen said.

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