Silver Queen Quilters bring their art to the farm
A walk around the McPolin Farm can evoke memories of the past, images of a Park City that made its living from the hills and fields surrounding the town.
The farm is a reminder Park City’s early-century tradition as a small rural town shipping minerals and milk down the canyon to Salt Lake City. And while the memories of those times are always present in the farm’s fields and buildings, next weekend, they may ring even truer with an added dash of color. Saturday, May 20, from 2-4 p.m., Park City’s local quilting guild, the Silver Queen Quilters, will join with the Friends of the Farm to present a quilt show at the farm, filling the machine shed and, weather permitting, the farm yard with nearly 100 multi-hued creations.
The show will run in conjunction with the Friends of the Farm’s annual membership meeting. Silver Queen Quilter Linda Thomas said she approached the friends to see about using the venue. Lola Beatlebrox, president of the Friends of the Farm board of trustees, said the quilt show could add another dimension to the organization’s meeting.
"We like to combine lots of fun and lots of history with our membership meeting," she noted.
"We are so thrilled about doing it at the farm in conjunction with The Friends’ annual meeting, because it’s just a choice location," Thomas said.
The quilters were happy to have the venue, which seemed to match their creations so well, she added.
"The board felt that this synergy between the two groups presented a unique opportunity," she said.
The quilts on display are the creations of the Silver Queen Quilters’ members.
"We have a very small guild of 12 or 15 people in Park City," said the group’s president, Melba Willard, "but they make a lot of quilts."
A local nonprofit associated with the Utah Quilt Guild, the Silver Queen Quilters is a group dedicated to helping quilters and those interested in quilting in the Park City area.
The organization holds meetings, which are open to the public, on the third Tuesday of each month. The meetings feature educational seminars and chances for networking, along with opportunities for new members to get together with other quilters. At the meetings, the group also organizes its charitable efforts. In addition to facilitating its members in their quilting, the organization also makes quilts to donate to other nonprofits, like the Peace House and the Children’s Justice Center.
Most recently, the group created a quilt to donate to the Friends of the Farm. A "log cabin quilt," the piece features a traditional design dating back to pioneer times, when a group of women would gather to sew the quilt while the men raised a barn.
Beatlebrox said that while the friends haven’t decided what to do with the quilt yet, the group is considering displaying the piece in the newly restored house at the farm.
The quilt featuring a series of concentric squares with red hearts composed of beiges and greens forming still larger squares framed by swirling patterns represents one design in the range of those created by the Silver Queen Quilters.
"What’s going to be in the show is a wide, wide variety," Thomas said. "You will not see any two quilts that are too much alike."
Among the quilts will be traditional designs, like the log cabin, along with more modern patterns, and art quilts, free-form creations featuring a particular scene or graphic.
"It’s fun, because every quilter has their own style and their own things they like to do," said Barbara Brauer, the vice president of the Silver Queen Quilters.
"It’s an outlet for creativity," said Peggy Stuart, the secretary and a past president of the group. "And besides being an outlet for creativity, it’s useful."
While quilting might call to mind the image of a woman sewing together fabric scraps by hand, most quilts are now pieced together with machines and are often made of new fabrics. Afterward, the designs are quilted attached to a quilt’s insulation and backing sometimes by hand, but often, because of the lengthiness of the process, by machine.
When asked why they enjoy quilting, the quilters responded with a range of answers. Many talked about how they liked working with the patterns and the fabrics, while others talked about how they like the work.
"It’s kind of fun working out and seeing what the blocks look like and the different fabrics and techniques," Willard said.
Almost all the quilters talked about starting out slowly, making one quilt of a few, but then something clicks.
"You learn the basics, and you’re hooked," Thomas said.
The ladies said that learning to quilt was also easier than it looked. Anyone interested can go to the guild.
Many of the women suggested finding a quilting shop, because they frequently offer classes for beginners. The guild also offers
"They should come to one of our meetings," said Stuart, "and if they’ve never quilted before, we have a lot of people with a lot of experience."
"We have a lot of ladies in there that are good teachers and very good quilters," Willard added. "You can get a lot of stuff just from getting acquainted with the folks in the guild."
The Silver Queen Quilters are working with the Friends of the Farm in part to let people in Park City know about the group.
"We’re definitely looking for new members," Willard said.
And while the quilters will gain some exposure with their show, the Friends of the Farm get an added element for their membership meeting.
"We wanted to offer much more than just a lecture," Beatlebrox said.
The Silver Queen Quilters quilt show and the Friends of the Farm’s annual membership meeting will take place Saturday, May 20 from 2-4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Visitors cannot park along S.R. 224 and are encouraged to carpool. For more information, call 649-5368.
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