South Charlotte

Challenge unites 2 groups of quilters

The fabric of this story defined the spirit of our Indian Land community so well that it begged to be told.

Willa Thiele, a Sun City Carolina Lakes resident, found an ingenious way to get two groups of highly talented Indian Land quilters together for fellowship and fun.

Once she settled into the community, she began quilting. When she was unpacking her fabric and putting it away, she realized she had a lot of leftover Noah's Ark fabric that had not been used as planned for a new grandbaby.

Thiele, a member of the Osceola United Methodist Church's Scrap Happy Quilters and the Sun City's Quilt-a-holics, asked both groups if they were up to a challenge.

The challenge's goal, Thiele said, was to see how each would interpret the same three pieces of fabric. Each was given an overall print of Noah's Ark and the animals, a border print, and a plaid all in the same fabric family.

“They were allowed to add as many fabrics as they chose, but you had to be able to pick out the three original fabrics in the finished project,” Thiele said.

They agreed, and she prepared kits of three fabrics. The kits were handed out at the two Christmas parties. Each agreed it would come together with the other group at the end of April to share the creations.

The day together began at 10 a.m. with both groups working on their individual projects. They showed off completed projects before lunch.

“This is a fun time for everyone because you get a great inspiration for color combinations, patterns and ideas for new projects,” Thiele said. Following this, the challenges were opened.

“Each project was brought into the church in a brown paper bag with masking tape over the labels,” Thiele said.

As they took each challenge piece out of the bag, others tried to guess who made it.

“I was impressed at how well we knew each other's styles because we knew who made each piece,” Patsy Moore said.

“It was lots of fun,” added Loree Wolfe. “My grandson and I spent an afternoon together trying to come up with different ideas using all three fabrics.”

Their creativity resulted in wall hangings, baby and doll quilts, a purse, a jacket and a quillow that is a soft quilt that folds up into its own attached pillowcase to make a pillow.

The Scrap Happy Quilters provided a luncheon.

“We had a lovely day sharing our previous needlework projects,” Nancy McCrumb said. “I enjoyed seeing everyone's challenge. And it was nice sharing friendships with each other.”

Thiele, a highly skilled quilter and teacher herself, said that challenges are a great way for quilters to dig into their own heads and pull out something personal and unique.

“It lets you prove to yourself you don't always need a design from someone else,” Thiele said. “You can create your own.”