"Gathering Girl," by Tetitia Hutchings of Soldotna, will be on display at the 11th annual Quilting on the Kenai at Cook Inlet Academy. The event offers displays, workshops, prizes, vendors, presentation and a fashion show for quilters.
Photo by Jenny Neyman
To some, fabric is a utilitarian commodity as long as it covers what it needs to, that's good enough. On the other end of the spectrum are quilters, for whom fabric and the countless ways it can be embellished is an art form.
For those who can't help but think of appliques, batting, design motifs and patchwork when they come in contact with cloth, Quilting on the Kenai is for them.
Now in its 11th year, Quilting on the Kenai has been greatly embellished since its inception, just like the handiwork the event celebrates. This year's event, starting today, has enough workshops, displays, prizes and presentations to satisfy even a zealous stitcher's soul.
"Fairy Doll," by Karen Fogarty of Anchorage, is one of many pieces entered in the viewers' choice show.
Photo by Jenny Neyman
The centerpiece of the weekend is the viewers' choice quilt show, which includes about 150 quilts, dolls, wearable fabric art and more made by quilters on the Kenai Peninsula and beyond. The show is on display and open for voting at Cook Inlet Academy on Kalifornsky Beach Road from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
"There's some incredible pieces, there always are," said Pat Reese, owner of Robin Place Fabrics, which puts on Quilting on the Kenai. "It's just amazing. Every year it's incredible to see the pieces come in because there's lots of talent. That's what the show is about the talent."
"Poet of the Earth," and other hats by Susan Welsh-Smith of Ninilchik make upa special exhibit at Quilting on the Kenai.
Organizers had to put some restrictions on submissions this year, since the event nearly has outgrown Cook Inlet Academy. Still, Reese said there is plenty to look at, whether it's bed quilts, wall hangings, garments or quilted dolls that are elaborately decorated from their stitched hair down to their bejeweled toes.
"It's kind of an art in itself," Reese said. "They're really something."
There's no change in the die-hard interest some quilters have taken in the event.
"We have women that car pool down from Anchorage and the valley and attend," Reese said.
Others come from Ohio every year to see what's new.
For special exhibits, Reese was able to bring back a past favorite the Hoffman Challenge traveling show, including dolls and artistic garments. There also are new attractions this year hand-painted silk quilts made by Chelline Larsen of Soldotna, "feedsack" quilts by Doris Rhodes of Anchorage, millinery (hat) creations by Susan Welsh-Smith of Ninil-chik and postcard quilts from all over the world.
For those wanting to learn as they look, various workshops and presentations on techniques, products and other topics will be offered on the hour and half hour during the event.
A new feature this year is on antique quilts. Gretchen Hundertmark and others will display antique bed quilts and explain some of their patterns and significance twice a day Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
As in past years, nationally known quilt designers and teachers will offer in-depth workshops in conjunction with Quilting on the Kenai for preregistered participants.
Stephanie Kimura, who makes artistic bags and accessories, will teach a half-day "Bamboo Goddess Purse" class from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, a full-day "Elegant Embellishments and Dragonfly Purse" class on from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and a half-day "More Bags with Style" class from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.
She also will do several demonstrations at the Robin Place Fabrics booth Friday and Saturday during Quilting on the Kenai.
Cheryl Phillips, who has appeared on HGTV's "Simply Quilts" show, will teach a two-day workshop based on her "Circle A Round" book.
Phillips and her husband will instruct about various piecing techniques, like layered circles and crescents, slicing circles, converging circles and drunkard path variations. The workshop is Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. She will demonstrate her techniques and patterns Thursday at the Robin Place Fabrics booth.
Happening all this week is a Quilt Walk in the community, where participating businesses display quilts and donate prizes that will be raffled off among people who complete a quilt passport showing they've visited all the stores displaying quilts. The quilt walk continues through Saturday.
Quilting on the Kenai culminates with the Art-to-Wear Fashion Show at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Peninsula Grace Brethren Church, 34640 Kalifornsky Beach Road.
The fashion show includes artistic garments from Kimura, area quilters and Carol Wight-Jones of Alaska. Drawings will be held for Quilt Walk prizes and the Quilting on the Kenai grand door prize a Pfaff Model 2025 Sewing Machine.
Completed Quilt Walk passports must be turned in at the quilt show at Cook Inlet Academy or Robin Place Fabrics by 5 p.m. Saturday to be eligible for the drawing.
For the grand door prize, a paid admission into the quilt show and fashion show earn a door prize ticket.
The winners of the viewers' choice show also will be announced and displayed at the fashion show.
To sing up for workshops, for more information about Quilting on the Kenai and the Quilt Walk and tickets to the Art-to-Wear Fashion Show, call Robin Place Fabrics at 262-5438.
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