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Quilting is a labour of love for Campbellford group

By Meaghan Bury [3]

CAMPBELLFORD – The Townsend Quilters say quilting can be simple if you know how to keep a straight line and sew a quarter-inch seam. [4] But for those who have never tried the hobby, that may be easier said than done.

The Campbellford-based quilting group has been a part of the community since 1998. Many of its members say they picked up the hobby at a young age.

The group got its name from the historic Townsend house where they first gathered before making the town’s Your #1 Sewing Centre [5] store their home every second and fourth Tuesday of the month. The group currently has about 27 members.

Betty Benedict joined a month after it was formed and says she likes a challenge. Benedict recently finished a hand-quilted piece that will be judged against others at the upcoming Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies [6]convention which takes place Feb. 18 to 20 in Toronto. The quilt is composed of 5,959 pieces and Benedict spent five years working on it.

“Every now and then you have to give up for a month,” she laughed.

The time commitment doesn’t scare these quilters away. There are many steps in the process of quilting, and cutting out the pieces alone can take hours. Finishing a quilt can take weeks, months or years depending on different factors such as size and intricacy of the stitching.

“It’s a great way of putting in time when you have time,” says group member Colleen Dainard.

They laugh about how they often think about their next quilt before being done the first one. There are endless patterns that can be followed and some quilts are done just by looking at a picture in a magazine.

One of the founding members, Marilyn Pollock, says she pins ideas on Pinterest [7].

“My kids have all got more quilts than you know what to do with.”

The group members agree that they never waste a scrap of material. These extra pieces are added to the quilt in a unique pattern and this makes each quilt one of a kind.

Judy Pearce has been part of the group for six years and says she remembers “all the old ladies drinking tea and quilting” when she was a child. She didn’t think she would like the hobby at first.

Now she says there’s nothing better and nothing worse than going into a fabric store, because you have to choose one fabric over another.

“Quilting is not a cheap hobby,” she added.

In addition to quilts, they make pillows, jackets, vests, bags, placemats and table runners, to name a few.

The group donates quilts to the community at the hospital, homeless shelter, and the Tweed [8] and Trent Hills [9] community refugee initiatives. The group also contributes to fundraising efforts by raffling some quilts off.

“We make them because it’s fun,” says Benedict.

Group member Carole Dunk says her grandchildren, aged eight and 10, have learned to quilt.

Members of the group encourage others to try the hobby, adding with a smile that “housework” only comes after “quilting” in the dictionary.