By Echo Menges
Once a month a group of women gather in the basement of the United Methodist Church in Edina. A common thread brings them together, which is their love of quilting.
They are the Knox County Kut-Ups Quilting Club and they come from Knox, Lewis, Marion, Macon and Adair counties.
“When I first started out in machine quilting, I attended a Missouri State Quilters meeting in Mexico, MO, and met Evelyn and now out of town previous member Joyce Green. They invited me to come to the next meeting-even though I didn't live in Knox County-and I've been a member ever since. Since 2000, we've always had about 20 to 30 active members. During this time our members have changed of course and as I looked at our current membership list, I saw that seven members have been there since I started. They are Evelyn Glasgow, Leah Otto, Ruth Tague (she used to be Van Sickle), Lorene Woods, Phyllis Woodward, Carolyn Morgret and me,” said club President Carla Gower.
The membership is comprised, mostly, of mature women, all but one being proud grandmothers. Their levels of quilting knowledge range from beginner to expert. Between them are hundreds of years worth of quilting experience.
The club meets in the early afternoon on the third Monday of every month in the basement of the United Methodist Church in Edina.
During their meetings, among the standard format of a meeting, the members catch up with each other sharing news of their families, children, grandchildren and funny stories about their husbands. They discuss new projects they are working on and often projects that have been going on for many, many years. They also talk about quilting events they have attended or plan to attend near and far and they show quilts they have recently finished.
Also, the group’s veteran quilters often give quilting programs during the meeting where techniques and ideas are shared.
The women are bound by a quilting camaraderie of sorts, where the type of thread and color of cloth is as important to them as paint and brush are to a painter, they share their artistic flare via the fabrics and designs they assemble. They are truly talented artists.
Every so often the ladies of the club will tote their sewing machines and supplies to the church basement the morning of a meeting day and spend it assembling quilt tops together. The most recent of these workshop days took place on Monday, March 18, 2013, when they put together prayer quilts for the Prayer Quilt Ministry. Ladies of the club donated their time, material and know-how for a cosmic cause.
After the workshop the women met for their most recent regular meeting and annual auction. Once a year members bring material, books and magazines to be auctioned off among the membership.
The auction has been, and remains, an affordable way for beginners to pick up a stash of material as most of the auction items go for only one dollar. An item that sells for over two dollars is considered a hot commodity.
This year the club raised a modest $35 during the auction, which the membership was happy to have.
Any money raised by the club is routinely spent on supplies for the yearly Knox County Corn Festival Raffle Quilt, which each member has a hand in crafting.
“My favorite part of being in this club is making the raffle quilt every year,” said Gower. “We're about the only group I know that everyone gets involved in making part of the quilt. It's fun every year to try a new pattern, use new colors and fabrics we haven't used before and see a quilt finished in time for the Corn Fest. The (Corn Fest) Quilt Show is a great opportunity for our club to promote the art of quilt making and expose some people to the beauty of quilts that they may not be able to otherwise see--for free.”
Those wishing to join the Knox County Kut-Ups quilting club need only show up with an appetite for quilting. There are no membership dues or prerequisites to join.
“My other most favorite part of being in this club is the people. They are so warm, open and fun to be around. It's my favorite place to go each month,” said Gower. “I can ask questions, get help with quilting problems, and bring quilts to show that are different from the kinds they really love but they appreciate them anyway.”