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Jonesborough quilters stitch for charity

Nathan Baker • Sep 23, 2018 at 9:40 PM

Members of a local quilting guild hope the hours and money they invested in lovingly crafting household items will bring a windfall for an area food pantry.

The Jonesborough-based Old Town Quilters decided to celebrate the group’s 25 anniversary of its founding by making not one quilt for charity, like they’ve done in years past, but 100 various items to sell during October’s National Storytelling Festival.

“This has been an effort that has included almost everyone in the guild,” President Nancy Wagner said Thursday. “I’m so proud of the ladies in our guild and their dedication and passion for supporting the food pantry.”

The quilted table runners, table toppers, Christmas tree skirts and other items made in a mad dash by nearly all of the guild’s 51 members will be sold to visitors for between $20 and $40, with the proceeds going to the Jonesborough Area Ministerial Association’s food pantry.

During last year’s festival, the guild sold a large quilt named “Stars Over Jonesborough” for $950. Added with the donations received during the fundraising period, the group was able to donate $1,303 to the food pantry.

This year, Wagner said the quilters plan to raise at least $1,500 through the sale of the 100 crafted items. She said people during last year’s fundraiser said they loved the large quilt, but couldn’t afford it. By making many smaller items, Wagner said the group can offer less expensive pieces and got nearly all of the members involved in making them.

Still, the prices the group is asking for them are well below the value of the time, effort and money put into them, she said.

“We told the ladies not to get their feelings hurt when they saw the prices on them,” Wagner said. “It takes a lot of work, and the fabric’s not cheap.”

Because it’s the Old Town Quilters’ 25th anniversary, the silver anniversary, the guild bought some silver fabric to distribute to members to include in some of their pieces. Other fabric came from members’ stashes left over from previous quilts.

The guild is also honoring an institution that helped it get its start 25 years ago with this round of charity work. In 1993, the Jonesborough United Methodist Church allowed the first 30 charter members to meet at its church at no cost.

Money collected this year will be donated to the food pantry in honor of that church, which works with other area churches to organize the pantry.

Wagner isn’t a charter member from the 90s, she joined the guild four years ago after moving back to the area from Fairbanks, Alaska, but she said the Jonesborough UMC has been very good to the group through the last two-and-a-half decades. Any leftover items will be donated to the church for it to sell during its crafts bazaar.

The items will be sold at the Jonesborough Visitors Center, 117 Boone St., during the Storytelling Festival, Oct. 5-7 when thousands of people will travel to and through the state’s oldest town, giving the quilters a huge potential customer base.

Some of the guild members’ projects made during the year as “challenge quilts,” quilts made based on a single theme, will also be on display at the visitors center for the throngs to see.

The Old Town Quilters offers a social and creative outlet for like-minded people, Wagner said. After living in Alaska for seven years, Wagner joined the guild upon her family’s return to Tennessee without attending a single meeting.

Since then, she said she’s enjoyed great companions and admired the work of her fellow members.

The guild is always open to new members. Meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month from September through June. Meeting locations vary.

Interested quilters, or novices interested in quilting, can contact Wagner at 788-3606 or by emailing [email protected].

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