Martha Higdon beams with pride when she talks about all the good work the Common Threads Quilt Guild does.
As part of this weekend’s Harvest of Quilts show, group members will raise money for charity and donate their signature blankets to military veterans.
“I never met a quilter that didn’t do something for charity,” Higdon said. “Most of these women give them away as fast as they can make them.”
It’s the kind of work that makes members feel good about the work they do — and they’re looking forward to the chance to show it off this weekend, said Higdon, the guild president. The guild has spent most of the year preparing for the biannual contest, to be held Friday and Saturday at the Mt. Comfort United Methodist Church, 3179 N. County Road 600W, where the guild meets the third Wednesday of every month.
Story continues below gallery
The biannual event gives old friends a chance to get together and talk about their craft and new ones a chance to learn more about the guild and the fellowship it has to offer artisans who share a common interest.
The guild’s monthly meeting includes a welcome, door prizes, quilt show-and-tell and speaker presentation on topics from the proper embroidery technique for a French knot to how to use paper patterns to create perfectly sized quilt pieces.
It also includes Block of the Month, an item on the agenda that gives one member a jumpstart on a new quilting project. Each month, participants are given pattern instructions to complete one 12-inch square quilt block.
At the next meeting, the quilt blocks are turned in, and the name of one lucky winner, drawn out of a hat, walks away with enough blocks to assemble a full-sized quilt.
But the Common Threads Quilt Guild is never busier than when the 100-plus members are preparing for the biannual quilt show.
The theme for this year’s show is the Indiana Bicentennial, and many of the members have been working hard to piece together material scraps and stitch through layers of fabric.
“They’re encouraged to think out of the box and design a quilt that represents our life in Indiana,” Higdon said.
The show is conducted only every two years, because, as Higdon said, “it’s a lot of work.”
Beverly Wilson, vice president of the group, agrees. She sometimes takes months to complete a quilt.
“A quilt may start out as an idea that you mull over in your mind for two or three months,” Wilson said. “Then it will take a month or so to gather materials and then another three to four months to make it.”
Wilson is proud that one of her quilts, which will be on display at the show, has been designated a Bicentennial Legacy Project.
Legacy Projects are state-approved endeavors meant to showcase the best of Indiana’s history as the state celebrates 200 years of statehood.
Wilson’s prize-winning bicentennial-themed quilt is a family heirloom: an embroidered timeline of her family’s history and accomplishments beginning with the arrival of her ancestors shortly after Indiana became a state and ending with the present day.
“The quilt uses the Indiana Puzzle design,” Wilson said. “It’s the official state quilt block for the Indiana Registry of Quilts.”
As of last week, 130 bicentennial-themed quilts were registered for display in the show, but Higdon was hoping for an even 200.
In addition to the bicentennial-themed quilts, the group has been working on a service project with the Quilts of Valor Foundation, whose mission is to “cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts of valor.”
Groups of two to seven quilters have worked together to create 15 different quilts — all red, white and blue — to be donated to local veterans.
The team of Cora Halcomb, Joan Miller, Pat Matthews and Sandy Swartz has chosen a U.S. Navy veteran who spent six years in Vietnam in a special forces unit as the recipient of their Quilt of Valor.
The Quilts of Valor are not judged in the show but will be on display.
The group is also holding a drawing for a quilt donated by Common Threads member and cancer victim Brenda Coy. The proceeds from the sale of the tickets for the drawing will go to Women Helping Women, an organization that raises money to provide medical care for uninsured or under-insured county residents.
In addition to the quilt displays, the Harvest of Quilts show will feature a garage sale-style boutique of donated and handmade items, quilt and sewing-related vendors, food and door prizes.
“And lots of inspiration for people who want to go home and make quilts,” Higdon said.
What: Common Threads Quilt Guild 2016 Harvest of Quilts show
When: Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Mt. Comfort United Methodist Church, 3179 N. County Road 600W
More information: commonthreadsin.com