A Quilting Legacy

August 1, 2008 | By More

Written by Dianne Edwards

As varied as the cloth of fabric that bind them, members of River Valley Quilters share a common bond – the love of quilting. With labors of love stitched into hundreds of quilts, members of the local quilting association gather to share their project ideas. Through a monthly “show and tell,” the ladies discuss their quilt designs and rekindle friendships with quilters of all experience levels. And, often, the group members have the joy of bestowing a hand-made quilt to someone who might not ever have the chance to receive one.

Recently a number of quilts were given to the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Ranch near Alma and to the Crisis Pregnancy Center in Russellville. The group participates in a charity project each year and selected these two groups as recipients. In the past, quilts have been given to Stella Manor Nursing Home, Shelter of Sunshine for Battered Children, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Ranch, Crisis Pregnancy Center, and other similar organizations.

The handiwork of members of the local guild, the recent quilts were made possible because of a memorial donation made by the family of a former member and avid quilter, Marcia J. Clarke Sanders. Even beyond her death, quilt squares were pieced and machine- quilted by present members into colorful, comfortable quilts that will bestow comfort to others and carry on Marcia’s legacy and love of quilting.

River Valley Quilters gather the third Thursday of each month at 9:30 a.m. at Central Presbyterian Church, located at 400 West Main in Russellville. A business session is followed by a planned program. General guild activities include “knots” or small groups meeting at member’s homes, an annual retreat weekend, a bi-annual weekend workshop, and occasional quilt shows.

Led by this year’s president and historian Linda Russenberger, new officers were elected and installed in June 2008. They include: Jo Ann Straight, vice president; Clarice Grace, secretary/program coordinator; Julie Daughtry, treasurer; Susan Bragg, Ways and Means chairperson; Dee Jones, newsletter, and Sandra Phillips, “Sunshine Gal.”

River Valley Quilters is one of 20 member guilds of the Ozark Quilt Guilds Association. In 1986, a group of ladies formed the River Valley Quilters after meeting informally the previous year. The seven charter members, who each paid 50 cents in dues, included Emily Echols, Inez Newton, Oma Hacksworth, Ruth Legan, Mary Taylor, Lucy Hall, Eva Cain, Louise Almand, Ann Wilkins, Jocelyn McKinney and Linda Bost. The group’s first quilt show was held in 1987 at Arkansas Tech. They participated in Tech’s prior event, Global Fest, and have hosted the annual Ozark Quilt Guild Congress in 1995 and 2006.

The purpose of the organization is to promote the appreciation of the rich heritage of the art of quilting and to enhance a member’s knowledge through sharing of skills and ideas. It is their desire to “preserve the art of quilting for the future generations.” Membership is open to those with an interest in the working knowledge of quilting. Yearly dues are $15 and each member is issued a card which may entitle the member to fabric discounts and identifies them as a quilt member to other clubs. There are currently about 30 members.

For additional information, visit the club’s website at ozarkquiltguilds.com. Select River Valley Quilters or via email to: deequilter2@centurytel.net. Additional information is available by calling (479) 968-4096.

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