Quilters gather in Natchez

Published 12:11 am Sunday, February 17, 2008

NATCHEZ — Close to 100 ladies gathered this weekend at Copiah-Lincoln Community College for the Mississippi Quilt Association.

The gathering began Friday afternoon. On the schedule that day was a recognition of quilt guilds from all around Mississippi, a showing of the Natchez Guild journal quilt, a tutorial on how to design a Mariner’s Compass on a quilt and other presentations.

Events continued Saturday and Elizabeth Swalm, Natchez Quilters Guild member, said one of the highlights of the day was a presentation by Carol Vickers and Libby Shaifer Hollingsworth.

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Hollingsworth has the Shaifer family quilt collection that has approximately 70 quilts, some of which date back to the late 1800s, Swalm said.

Both Vickers and Hollingsworth discussed the quilts that inspired them to author a book called “Threading the Generations: A Mississippi Family’s Quilt Legacy.”

Swalm also said another highlight of the day was Gloria Tuccio, a Natchez artist, who gave a viewing of her quilts.

The MQA meets three times a year with gatherings in the fall, spring and in June.

Swalm said she was excited to have Natchez Quilters Guild host the spring gathering.

The 12 members of the guild have known for months that the meeting would be in Natchez.

Swalm said MQA President Broach Winsley asked Swalm if the meeting could take place in Natchez.

“That’s how it got started,” Swalm said.

“The guild has been working very diligently,” she said about the preparation for the meeting.

The guild had to organize where the gathering would take place, which Swalm said was a bit of a challenge, since around 100 ladies were attending the meeting.

The guild was also in charge of providing food for Friday night’s dinner and Saturday afternoon’s lunch.

Swalm said the quilters came from all over the state to learn new techniques and to show off their challenge projects.

“It’s something you wouldn’t pick up and do yourself,” Swalm said, hence the challenge.

For example, the Natchez guild was given the challenge to do a journal quilt.

This is in reference to the size of the quilt, which is 8 1/2 by 11 inches, the size of piece of notebook paper.

MQA members also get a chance to show off their own quilts during the show and tell portion of the gathering.

Broach said MQA is a statewide organization with about 510 members.

She said members how join are either quilters, love to quilt or want to learn to quilt.

Broach lived in Natchez for eight years during the 50s and her mother is still a resident.

“It’s a little bit of a homecoming,” she said of coming back for the gathering.

Dorothea Hoffman, a Woodville resident, said she is glad the meeting is in Natchez this spring.

She said she enjoys many aspects of the gathering.

“I’m crazy about all the members, the new ideas, the inspiration from seeing all the wonderful quilts,” she said.

Hoffman has been a quilter for almost 20 years, coming from a family of quilters.

When she moved to Woodville 11 years ago, wanted to get involved in a quilters guild.

She tried jumping in with the Natchez guild but ultimately decided to start one in Woodville.

The Woodville Quilters Guild was founded around eight years ago, she said.

She was looking forward to the tote bag tutorial that was given by MQA member Polly Duggan.

Connie Anderson from Utica has been a quilter for about 15 years and a MQA member for about eight.

“I always look forward to the meeting, you always learn something,” she said.

The next MQA gathering will be in June at Hines Community College in Pearl.