Quilt show more than an exhibit of handiwork

February 16, 2019

NEEDLES — Quilting clubs are so much more than groups of ladies stitching squares of fabric together and chatting about their lives while working with their hands. They are keeping their stories and their histories alive, creating family heirlooms and works of art, large and small, one piece at a time.

While their heads are bent into the lights of their sewing machines, making sure every line and seam is perfectly straight, they are reflections of all the groups of women who have come before them, who still come together to share a passion and a gift, yet they also use their abilities to help others.

In the process they become strong friends, sharing lives and skills, learning from each other and contributing to their communities.

That is the very definition of the Needlemania Quilt Club in Needles. This long-established group is hosting its third Needlemania Quilt Show today and Saturday.

“We have a quilt show every two years and this one is our third show,” said Lois Kirby, quilt show chairwoman. “We’re estimating that more than 100 quilts will be on display. All area quilters are invited to exhibit their creations.”

The Needlemania Quilt Show is at the Mohave Valley Elementary School gymnasium, 1416 Willow Drive, in Mohave Valley. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today (Arizona time) and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Admission is $5 per person, children are free.

“The show is to promote quilting and to promote Needles,” said Karen Magrum, also a club member. “We have quilts for sale, some that are on exhibit only and other handicrafts for sale, including scarves, a boutique with lots of pillows, table runners, wall hangings, microwave bowls, pot holders, dog beds, and more.”

“We’ll also have a raffle, door prizes, vendors including a couple of vendors from Vegas, sewing machines and tables, and a sewing machine repair service. People can bring their knives and scissors to be sharpened, there will be a hand-quilting demonstration and more,” she added.

“The show honors the late Jo Greable, who passed away in 2011,” Kirby said. “She had a quilt shop here in Needles for years called Quilt Therapy, Cheaper Than a Shrink.”

“We’ll have a tribute booth to Jo,” Magrum said. “Her family found a bunch of the stuff she started and we decided to finish them, so those things will be in the quilt show. We’re putting some of them in a silent auction. Some items will be available for purchase.”

Some of these quilters have been club members for many years.

“The club started in the early ’80s,” said Wilma Baldwin, long-time member. “We met up at the recreation center and we took our sewing machines because it had plenty of outlets and we stored our stuff there.

“We made blankets to donate to the first baby and we donated quilts to the California Highway Patrol for children in crisis,” she added.

“People at the college asked us to come here, and when we moved here we had to have an instructor, so Jan Paget became our instructor. Jan brought in big patterns and different things and we enjoyed that exchange of ideas.”

One of the featured quilts to be raffled speaks to Needles heritage — “the train quilt.” Large locomotive photo panels take center stage, while train tracks make their way around more train-themed fabric. This particular work of art — created by quilters Chris Ferguson and Michelle Cropsey — is specifically for the quilt show.

“We have a glass cookie jar filled with 2½-inch squares,” Magrum said. “For a 25-cent guess or five guesses for a dollar, whoever is the closest with their number wins the jar and all the squares. They are nice squares, well cut.”

Raffle tickets are $1 each or six tickets for $5.

The Cup @ Roxy’s will have food and beverages available for purchase.

Vendors also include Dan Daniels Sculptures, Big Mat Rotary Cutting, Charlie Odegaards Sewing Machines, Pocket Change Fabrics, Roxy’s Quilts, Sew Yeah Quilting, The Quilted Dragon, I Sharpen Shears, Shelly Van Haur Hand quilting.

For more information about the show, contact Lois Kirby, 928-768-8027.