Quilters teach craft to next generation

By Jennifer Maier/Community columnist

Master quilter Agnes Pool is working hard to make certain that future generations of women learn a craft that she has enjoyed for the past 50 years.

For the past six weeks, Pool, along with apprentice quilters Beth Glasgow and Barbara Williams, have met with 10 homeschooled girls ranging in age from 9 to 15 years old.  The classes are part of the 4H Program and have taken place at the Shelby County Extension Center in Columbiana.

“We started off by learning how to tie a quilter’s knot and that was really and truly an experience because some of these kids have never held a needle,” said Pool.

Next, the students moved onto a more challenging floral wall hanging.

“They had a great time making the flowers for the little wall hanging,” Pool said.  “You take a circle of fabric, fold it in half, then fold it in half again and then when you open it up and when you fold half of the circle into the middle, you wind up with a hexie.  We put six of the hexies in a circle and one in the middle.  That made a flower, and then we used rickrack for the stem.”

The flowers were then appliquéd onto a quilted background with a binding around it.

For non-quilters, terms such as “hexie” and “rickrack” may be seem alien, but for Pool, these are just everyday words she uses when she talks about what she loves.  For those that don’t know, rickrack is a flat woven trim that is in a zig-zag pattern and has been used for ages on items such as clothing or curtains.

About a year ago Agnes received a grant through the state Alabama State Council on the Arts to teach five apprentices quilters.  Glasgow and Williams, who assisted Pool over the past six weeks are two of those apprentices.  Together, the ladies are passing on the art of quilting to a new generation.

And it seems that many of the participants have taken to quilting and show promise of carrying on what they have learned in the class.

“This has been a wonderful thing for these kids, and also for me and Barbara and Beth,” Pool explained.

The final project will be a Summer Salsa patterned quilt measuring 48 inches by 60 inches

Several of the mothers of the homeschooled children have been following along as well.  They took turns providing refreshments for each class.

 

For Pool, there is a great satisfaction that comes from quilting.

 

“It is taking a piece of fabric, sewing it to another one, and making something where there is instant gratification.”

 

 

Jennifer Maier is a community columnist for the city of Columbiana and can be reached at jmaier483@gmail.com.