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Quilting became a favorite past time during WWI and continues today

By Staff | Apr 5, 2017

BARB BARRETT/The Luminary This quilt was made in the 1930's of men's suits and shirts by Bart Pursel, as Cindy Campbell and Nancy Grove show members of the SVQG at last month's meeting. During this time quilts were made for servicemen and sent overseas. This quilt needs a new backing and will be passed on to the owner's son, Rich Pursel.

MUNCY – Quilting is a gathering of friendship, skills and history and every two years members of the Susquehanna Valley Quilt Guild (SVQG) put toghether a very successful quilt show. Not only do they reel in new members, but provide opportunities to learn new techniques.

With emergening technology in the digital world, sewing machines are no different, and more can be done with them than their vintage predecessors.

A committee is in charge of organizing a show coming in March of 2018, and judged by people’s choice rather than juried. During their meeting, Thursday, March 23 at the Pennsdale United Methodist Church, chairperson Cindy Craddock announced that World War I is the theme this year. The quilt show planning committee will meet on April 19 at Ben Franklin store in Clarkstown. President, Cindy Campbell said she has been busy making city bags and bunny bags for Quilters Corner, a section in the show that sells quilted items to support the guild. To make the bags or a fabric basket, a workshop is scheduled for Thursday, April 13.

Charity quilting is another supporting endeavor as part of the SVQG, and a charity quilting workshop is scheduled for this weekend at Margie Shaw’s cabin in Barbours on the Loyalsock Creek.

“Please come for a day of fellowship with your quilting friends as we work on projects for foster children and nursing home residents,” Shaw said as she offered lunch as well. “I have lots of fabric, a small iron and board and several cutting mats and rulers. Please bring sewing supplies, machine and a rotary cutter.”

For the past two years some of the members have been spending time sewing for Hospice, the homeless, veterans, the pregnancy care center and other charities. Organizer Teri Snyder said they are looking for extra donations for fabric panels, batting and fabric for backing.

Nancy Grove of the Muncy First United Methodist Church and also a SVQG member brought in two historical quilts to share. One was made of men’s suits and shirts in the early 1930’s, a common practice after the depression. Grove is adding a new backing before turning it over to the owner’s son, Rich Pursel. His father, Bart Pursel, made it when he worked at his uncle’s clothing store in Bloomsburg in the mid 1930s. “They made tailor-fitted clothes for men and boys and it was customary to send a swatch along with each garment,” Grove explained. “It is thought that these swatches are extras from the garments made at the store. The workmanship is apparent in the quality of the quilt top,” Grove added.

The second quilt was made by the United Methodist Women during WWII. According to Grove they made the quilts for families of servicemen and sent them overseas. Showing the quilt, she added that it was never finished and the owner’s granddaughter returned the quilt to the UM Church after she heard Grove speak at the Muncy Professional Women’s Club about the “Mission Stitchers.” Plans are to have it quilted and displayed at the church. The ‘Mission Stitchers” will also be meeting on Saturday, April 8 in the new Celebration Center of the First UM Church in Muncy.

Meanwhile, the SVQG has been growing in membership. The guild itself was formed in 1993 by a small group of local women who wanted to preserve the art of quilt making and encourage others to improve their skills. At the time, many were doing quilting by hand, and today many use their machines or a long arm that specializes in quilting the three layers at once.

Embroidery, applique, and art are all incorporated into today’s quiltmaking. Members bring in their creations for show ‘n tell before displaying them in the quilt show.

A calendar of activities is planned throughout the year with workshops and professional authors, speakers and quilters. Meetings are usually held the fourth Thursday of the month at United Methodist Church, 658 Village Road, Pennsdale. A social is held twice a year, a picnic in June and a Christmas party in December.

A workshop on free motion machine quilting will be held on Saturday, April 29 and taught by member, Carol Turnbow from 10 to 3. The next charity quilt workshop will be held on May 6. On May 19 there will be a trunk show at the Pennsdale UM Church.

Deolores DeWald, Lenore Miller and Ruth Wallis have been added as honorary members. For more information on the guild, call 570-547-1940 or visit the Susquehanna Valey Quilt Guild on Facebook.