Mother Pearl Laycraft and daughter Catherine quilt as a team more often than not. Catherine actually began quilting first while staying with her grandmother, Pearl’s mother, on summer holidays. Holidays with Grandma were spent helping out and doing whatever was already scheduled for the day. So Tuesdays were Red Cross Quilting day. Those Red Cross quilts were hand quilted, completed and sent to Red Cross as raffle items to help fund the cause. Catherine’s first quilt was done at age 10 when Grandma had a few left over one patch squares from one of her quilts and decided Catherine should just make her own pattern and sew a quilt.
Pearl stayed with her paternal grandparents for grades one and two and recalls her grandmother hosting quilting bees in her home. Quilts were produced to help aid people in need in the community and church. Pearl still has a couple of quilts that graced her bed as a girl. Many of the patches in those quilts she can remember being fabric that came from house dresses of her grandmother’s.
In 1989 when there was interest in starting up a quilt group in the Millarville area both became founding members with the Country Lane Quilters’ Guild. Catherine had been making quilts for several years by then – gifts for family and friends and Pearl took up the craft as a growing obsession upon joining.
Both have been active in the guild ever since; Catherine as a teacher and on the executive periodically; Pearl with the charity initiatives and guild gathering functions. Early on, the guild started making quilts for charitable purposes – something near and dear to the Laycrafts’ hearts, just as it was to the generations in their family before them.
As a team, Pearl and Catherine work together to sew tops and quilt them, Pearl is great with colour and pairing fabrics, Catherine plans the patterns, cuts, pins and presses, Pearl sews and sometimes helps with the pressing. Then Catherine quilts and Pearl does the binding. It works best if they can work on about four quilts at the same time – keeps the iron hot and the sewing machine humming! Quilts are still made as gifts for family and friends and lots go to the Children’s Hospital and comfort quilts projects the guild supports.
Throughout the years in the guild there have been many classes, retreats, project challenges, gift exchanges and group projects that both have participated in. One thing about quilting there is always something new to learn, more fabric to buy and someone new to meet. The friendship of quilters is a special bond.
It is the fellowship of the guild and the creativity of the craft that keeps both ladies quilting and enjoying the Country Lane Quilters Guild.
Pearl and Catherine will be honoured at the 30th Anniversary Tea and Quilt Show hosted by the Country Lane Quilters. This event will take place at the Priddis-Millarville Racetrack Hall on Saturday, April 27th from 2 to 4pm. $5 entry gets you refreshments and a chance at a door prize.