Teve Williams, left, and Cindi Huss unfold a quilt titled 'Trip Around the World,' pieced by Tillie Richardson of Rogersville and quilted by Lisa Johnson of Surgoinsville.
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Cindi Huss says she learned to quilt when she was only 22. Today, this 42-year-old mother of two is one of the younger members of the First Frontier Quilters of Kingsport, which strives to preserve and promote the art of quilt making.
“A lot of people in the guild are retirement age or older because now is when they can dedicate the time to quilting without the guilt,” she said.
The First Frontier Quilters hosts a Challenge every year with a specific theme and set of rules that quilters must adhere to. This year’s theme, “Snuggle Up with a Good Book,” uses book titles as inspiration for the quilts.
“The quilts do not necessarily interpret the books themselves, but take a title and create a quilt around the title,” said Huss, who was a member of this year’s Challenge committee and will serve as the chairperson for next year’s Challenge.
Each year, Challenge quilts are displayed as part of an annual quilt show held in the second-floor gallery at the Kingsport Renaissance Center. More than two dozen quilts are expected to be entered in this year’s Challenge and will be on display until Oct. 21. Admission is free.
With about 85 members in the group, Huss says these Challenges always offer a lot of div e r s i t y.
And, she adds, the Challenges are designed to do just what the name implies — challenge the members.
“There are people who are more confident or less confident in their design skills and some people might be able to whip out a design and some people really have to struggle. But that’s one of the reasons we have the Challenge — to push people a little bit beyond their comfort zone to try something new and different. It’s a way to prove to yourself you can do something you didn’t know before that you could do,” Huss said.
Quilting has seen a resurgence in recent decades, with more and more people becoming interested in learning the art form, Huss said.
“According to a survey called ‘Quilting in America,’ conducted by Quilts Inc., the quilting industry is worth $3.6 billion annually. That is a 9 percent increase between 2006 and 2010. It is definitely growing. One reason that quilting is both more popular and people are spending more money on it is there are so many gizmos now. There’s just everything under the sun to make quilting easier. That has made it a lot more accessible to everyone. It’s no longer something that only an expert can do,” Huss said.
The First Frontier Quilters of Kingsport meets at 9:30 a.m., the third Tuesday of each month at Bethel Presbyterian Church, 1593 Warpath Drive, Kingsport. Monthly meetings include programs for all skill levels, exchanges, a show and tell, and workshops with regional teachers. The group also participates in ongoing community service projects.
New members are always welcome.
“There are a lot of people who are real happy to help you learn new things because a lot of them were in the same boat. A lot of them came to the guild not knowing anything and they’ve just blossomed since they joined,” Huss said.
For more information, visit www.First- FrontierQuilters.org .
Ned Jilton II —firstname.lastname@example.org