They’re part of a needlework tradition passed down through generations, but today’s quilters create contemporary art as well as time-honored patchwork masterpieces. Stunning quilts — heirloom styles to modern abstracts — will be on view this week at a first-ever show in Everett.
A new Marysville-based group, All in Stitches Quilt Guild, will present the 2017 Everett Quilt Show, “Through the Eye of the Quilter,” Friday and Saturday in the conference center at Xfinity Arena. Show hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. both days, with a lecture by prize-winning quilter Kathy McNeil at 7 p.m. Friday. Admission is $5, and tickets to McNeil’s talk are $15.
“What it’s really about is creating from the heart,” said McNeil, of Tulalip, whose lecture is titled “How Quilting Can Make You Healthier, Smarter, Richer and More Fun.”
McNeil sells her art quilts through a website, and travels the world to show and teach her craft. In June, she’ll lead workshops on a quilting cruise to Norway. Her “Song of the Sea” pink octopus quilt earned $20,000 in prize money before being sold to a private collector for $11,000.
Shawna Gould is president of the newly formed All in Stitches Quilt Guild. The group had its first formal meeting in November, she said. It’s now a nonprofit organization with 77 members, experts to novice quilters. The guild meets the first Tuesday evening of each month at the Marysville School District Transportation Center.
In time, Gould said, the group plans to launch a “quilt university” that meets three Saturdays a year.
All in Stitches Vice President Becky Ray said the Everett event will be akin to an art show, more than a display of bed quilts. “We will be hanging nearly 300 quilts,” she said. Ray, of Lake Stevens, describes herself as an “art quilter” whose work hangs in her home. “I made a wall hanging of elephants, but not gray — they were purple,” she said.
For some, quilting is a competitive quest for ribbons or prize money. For others, it’s about making a quilt for a grandchild. Some quilts are precisely geometric. Others resemble paintings with flowing forms.
Along with the show’s keynote speech Friday, a sold-out opening gala is scheduled for Thursday evening. The show isn’t meant to be a quilt sale. Shoppers will find vendors selling supplies, and there will be classes.
“One main goal of our guild is to reach the next generation,” Ray said. Children at the show will be helped to build a quilt, with adults doing the sewing.
Sponsoring the show is Quality Sewing &Vacuum, which has 13 stores around the region including one in Everett. And the show received a $10,001 grant from the city of Everett. The money comes from lodging tax revenues. A Lodging Tax Advisory Committee accepts applications each year for grants aimed at boosting local tourism.
Also among this year’s grant recipients, approved by the City Council on March 1, are the Village Theatre, Everett’s Colors of Freedom Fourth of July, Schack Arts Center exhibits and events, the Fisherman’s Village Music Festival, the Sorticulture Garden Arts Festival and other cultural happenings.
“It’s fun to see such a great variety of events in Everett,” said Meghan Pembroke, a city spokeswoman. She said her mother is traveling from Eastern Washington to attend the quilt show.
“My great-grandmother was a quilter,” said Ray, who seriously picked up quilting in 1991.
Gould, who lives in Marysville, said service is part of the mission. The All in Stitches Quilt Guild has chosen to help Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County. “It’s women helping women,” she said.
Organizers hope the local show will begin to put Everett on the quilting map. Houston, Ontario, California, and Paducah, Kentucky, are among cities that host big quilt shows.
“It’s going to be exciting if we can start one in the Northwest. We have a thriving arts community here,” McNeil said. “This art form has sustained women across the centuries. We have become friends.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; email@example.com.
The Everett Quilt Show: “Through the Eye of the Quilter” is scheduled for 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Edward D. Hansen Conference Center at Xfinity Arena, 2000 Hewitt Ave. Presented by the All in Stitches Quilt Guild and sponsored by Quality Sewing &Vacuum, the show includes classes, demonstrations, vendors, children’s activities and more. Admission is $5. A lecture by quilt artist Kathy McNeil will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at the venue; tickets to the talk are $15.
Quilt guild information: www.allinstitcheswa.org/
Quilt show information: www.allinstitcheswa.org/events