Smiling as she explains the work of fellow guild members, it’s clear that Ruth Butler of Wolfville has a passion for quilting.
“It’s a very creative thing you can do, there’s nothing almost that you can’t depict,” Butler said.
The “Expressions of Nature: Quilts by the Town and Country Quilters’ Guild” exhibit officially opened at the Kings County Museum in Kentville on June 6 and runs until August.
Butler, a Wolfville resident and the guild librarian, said the group has been meeting in Port Williams since 2002. She is a past president of the organization. They currently have members from Windsor to Berwick.
Butler has several pieces of her work on display as part of the exhibit, including a quilt called “Fit for a Princess” that she made using fabric designed by Kaffe Fassett. She made the quilt in a weekend.
“The fabrics are just so fabulous that you could just put squares together and it would look good,” she said.
Butler, who has been quilting since the 1980’s, said she just decided one day that she wanted to make a quilt. She started reading quilting magazines and went to work, gaining an appreciation for the various techniques. Butler said that patterns are now readily available online and there is a large quilting community on Facebook.
Perhaps it’s the other people involved that she enjoys about it most. She said they’re very social and they always have something to talk about. There are very few quilters she has met that she didn’t like.
Aside from the Town and Country Quilters’ Guild, Butler participates in a sewing group that meets at the Centreville Baptist Church on Mondays. She meets with another group at the Centreville Community Hall on Thursdays.
Butler meets with the Serendipity Sewing Sisters once a month at Kings Riverside Court in Kentville and once a month with Charity Quilts in Centreville. The Charity Quilts group is involved in several initiatives, including making baby quilts and comfort quilts to donate to various charitable causes.
“It keeps you busy and it’s always different,” she said. “It’s quite an adventure.”
Butler is currently participating in a Canadian Quilters’ Association (CQA) initiative called “52 Blocks in 52 Weeks” through Facebook. After a year, participants will have 52 completed blocks to put together into a quilt.
“They’re all six-and-a-half inches, so it’s a good exercise in being accurate because the smaller the block, the harder it is,” Butler said.
She broke her arm a couple of weeks before the CQA held its annual Quilt Canada conference in Halifax in 2012 and she didn’t get to go. This year, she’s making up for it. Butler plans to attend the 2019 conference in Ottawa from June 12 to 15.
Butler said the idea for the exhibit came from museum curator Bria Stokesbury, who was aware of Butler’s association with the guild. Butler is also a member of the Kings Historical Society’s textile committee.
It has been several years since the museum hosted a quilt exhibit. Butler took the idea to the guild and everyone was in favour. The members delivered quilts of all shapes, styles and sizes that fit the theme. Some are hand pieced, others were produced using machines.
“There are modern ones and old-fashioned ones and art quilts, a little bit of everything,” Butler said.
DID YOU KNOW?
In quilter’s lingo, a UFO is an “unfinished object.” The Town and Country Quilters’ Guild held a UFO challenge this year. Members listed any unfinished quilts they had at home, putting $2 into a pot for each unfinished piece.
Members received a ticket for each UFO they completed, with the tickets being entered into a prize draw. Whoever wins the draw takes home the money collected.
Butler said the oldest piece she finished as part of the contest was one she started working on 23 or 24 years ago. Another member completed a project she started more than three decades ago.