SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — The Harvest Quilters held their 33rd annual Sharing the Quilts Show on Saturday, April 2 at Willow Grove Presbyterian Church in Scotch Plains. Quilts were displayed throughout five rooms and organized by category. Upon entering the show, voting ballots were distributed to guests so they could choose their favorite for each category, with one vote going to whichever quilt was his or her personal favorite.
Each year, one room is dedicated to a featured quilter whose work is on display. This year’s featured quilter was Tina Schmidt, of Fanwood. She attended the event wearing her work, a quilted vest she made. Tina remained modest when asked why her work was chosen to be displayed, as she stated it was simply because she had enough work to fill the room.
“Quilts can be made quite simply,” Tina said. “It can always get more challenging.”
This proved to be true, as even young artists’ works were displayed. Aaron Taylor, of Westfield, who is just 10 years old, won best-in-show last year for viewer’s choice. He even greeted guests as they arrived and helped to distribute some of the materials as guests entered the church.
Tina credits her teacher, for demonstrating the art of quilting to her and her sister, Susan, when they decided to take on the challenge of creating a quilt to donate as a raffle prize.
Since then, Tina has gone from following traditional patterns to embracing the quilting tools of today, which include computerized designs. She is also in charge of the group’s Block of the Month, where quilters are provided with one block they must use to create a quilt.
In addition to displaying more than 100 quilts, the show also featured demonstrations and raffles. The raffles were to raise money for the group and causes they support. Prizes included quilts and baskets of fabric. The show raised $700, which will be distributed to the Community FoodBank in Hillside.
There were several demonstrations throughout the show, including paper piecing and hand quilting. Ellen DiIorio, who has previously lived in Westfield, demonstrated hand quilting and mentioned how beneficial the hobby has been for her. Ellen displayed some of the quilts she created for her grandson, one with the familiar Eric Carle’s, “Very Hungry Caterpillar,” on it.
“I lost everything in a house fire and a quilt was donated to me,” DiIorio said. “Quilting is so therapeutic for me. Even though I moved to Maryland to be with my grandchild, I still return every year for this wonderful event.”
The event was organized by Renate Bieber, of Westfield, who said that the show has taken place at the same location for the past six years. She spoke about the process of setting up the show. It was estimated that the show usually attracts around 200 people per year.
“We are very thankful the church has graciously opened its doors for us,” said Bieber. “We usually host the show around the same time every year, but we try to make sure it doesn’t conflict with the Lancaster quilt show, which was held last weekend.”
After the results were calculated, first place winner in the large quilt category, and also audience favorite, went to “Childhood Memories,” by Harvest Quilter member Linda Halldorson, of Gilette, and her sisters. First place for the challenge, where quilters had to incorporate the number three into their work, went to “Monkey Business,” by Janice Tellier. First place for a wall hanging quilt went to “Quilt Diva,” by Toby Moldave. Nancy Bassman took first place for charity quilts. Lastly, “Leia’s Force Field,” by Karen Hockman, was awarded first place for twin, or lap-size quilt.