Make a Quilt in a Day – Log Cabin Pattern, the book by Eleanor Burns, was Kathy Conway’s first quilt inspiration.
“The techniques were done with rotary cutting and a sewing machine. Quilts I’d seen were all hand sewn and I knew I would not finish those. Make a quilt in a day – yes, I could do that! I did make that quilt; not in a day, though. I have been in love with quilting ever since.”
Quilt Inspirations is this year’s Quilt Show theme, and Kathy Conway is the featured quilter. The Chewelah Arts Guild is happy to present the 17th annual Chewelah Quilt Show, Memorial Day weekend at Jenkins Junior-Senior High School. This event has grown into an amazing display, with a wide variety of quilters exhibiting their work. Plenty of local residents attend as well as many who travel from far and wide.
While inspiration is an important element in any creative and artistic project or pursuit, influences also play a key role. When asked about these, Kathy Conway answered, “My great grandmother was a prolific quilter. She was an amazing craftswoman and did all of her sewing by hand.”
Kathy added, “My mother and grandmother were garment seamstresses. My grandmother would share stories of the quilts her mother made. So much family history and love go into a quilt.” Kathy started sewing on a treadle sewing machine, given to her by a friend, when she was eight years old. She’d been sewing and embroidering since she was five, and by age ten, she was making clothes for friends, her sister and herself. When Kathy began quilting, she wanted to complete her quilts from beginning to end. So she rented a long arm for her first quilts at her local quilt shop. “It was love at first stitch!” she says. “I have always loved to draw, and quilting is like drawing with a needle and thread. My husband bought me my own long arm in 2009 when I no longer had a local shop that offered the long arm rental time. I quilt all of my own quilts, and also for friends.” Kathy’s family moved to Chewelah when she was a junior in high school and she is a Jenkins High School graduate. She returned to this area in 2000 when her family bought a vacation home at Waitts Lake. Kathy and her husband became permanent Chewelah residents in 2008.
Kathy belongs to the Cabin Fever Quilt Guild of Southern Stevens County, and she participates in activities with the Odessa Quilt Guild. She also belongs to several on-line quilting groups.
“Quilting is definitely a fun, social affair. But it’s also an opportunity to learn from and share with other quilters.”
Kathy states that quilting, a creative outlet, is joyful, comforting and often therapeutic. “Quilting is somewhat magical with endless possibilities – a new design or technique to learn.”
She is drawn to making traditional pieced quilts in reproduction fabrics. Her favorites are sampler quilts, where each block is different from the other. Many of her quilts include embroidery and applique, and often, her quilt designs are original. “I love starting a new project, designing and selecting fabric, colors, deciding where this quilt’s home will be. And then when the top is completed, finding the right design to quilt on it – quilting really does make the quilt! I guess all parts are my favorite, except for cutting…”
Kathy loves all quilts, emphasizing that each is special and unique. She likes to throw in something unexpected. Her quilts usually start with a focal fabric that inspired her to design the quilt around it. “The colors and style of the fabric influence the design and type of quilt. I like to play with color, mix fabric lines, and do something a little unusual with design or color combinations.”
When it comes down to it, after the initial inspiration and the accumulated skills, techniques, colors, textures, design and artistic flair, Kathy states that “a quilt can matter…a celebration or a remembrance…a quilt has a story and it endures. And being able to share a quilt with someone who will love it, is the greatest reward.” Indeed!
The 17th Annual Chewelah Quilt Show, Quilt Inspirations, presented by The Chewelah Arts Guild, takes place over Memorial Day weekend at Jenkins Junior & Senior High School. Admission is only $3. The Quilt Show is open on Saturday, May 28 th , 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and on Sunday, May 29 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Tea Room is open on Saturday only where $5 buys delicious treats, tea and a select viewing of featured artist, Chris Lehwalder’s work on display. For additional information about The Quilt Show, contact Diane Evans at 509-936- 1502.
-Submitted by Chewelah Arts Guild