Lov­ing tra­di­tion

North­ern Lights Quilt Guild: A Quilt­ing Ret­ro­spec­tive fea­tured at Eptek Cen­tre

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ANCELENE MACKIN­NON

Quilt­ing ret­ro­spec­tive fea­tured at Eptek Cen­tre in Sum­mer­side.

For Verna Banks, quilt­ing has be­come more than a hobby.

In 1993, it even brought her to Ja­pan.

Banks had a six-month con­tract to demon­strate how quilt­ing was done in the 1890s at the Cana­dian World Theme Park.

“It was mostly about Anne of Green Gables. They built the house, and you would see girls in their 20s and 30s dressed as Anne with the braids.”

Banks said she would have peo­ple come in by the bus­load or there could be a hand­ful of peo­ple there to watch her quilt.

Four years later, Banks, along with other women, founded the North­ern Lights Quilt Guild.

They thought mem­bers could ex­change ideas and en­joy the so­cial as­pect of quilt­ing.

“Quil­ters like to get to­gether, we help each other and learn dif­fer­ent meth­ods.”

Twelve women were in­volved the in­au­gu­ral year, and she stayed with the guild un­til 2010.

Banks is proud of what she helped cre­ate, and she at­tended the of­fi­cial open­ing of North­ern Lights Quilt Guild: A Quilt­ing Ret­ro­spec­tive at Eptek Cen­tre on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

“The quilts here are beau­ti­ful,” she said. “It’s the same thing but dif­fer­ent pat­terns. It’s great.”

Banks said quilt­ing takes a lot of ded­i­ca­tion. This was the first time the group had an ex­hi­bi­tion out­side of O’Leary where it’s based.

“I’m im­pressed with the show. I’m glad to see the guild is still go­ing. It’s won­der­ful, and grow­ing all of the time.”

Mem­ber Lil­lian Ma­cLean had a num­ber of her pieces on dis­play.

“This is such a beau­ti­ful venue, and the ex­hi­bi­tion will be up for about a month,” she said.

“It’s a re­flec­tion of our cre­ativ­ity so it’s great when peo­ple come to ap­pre­ci­ate and en­joy it.”

Her mother and pa­ter­nal grand­mother were nee­dle work­ers.

“It was some­thing that was al­ways go­ing on at our house­hold.”

Ma­cLean re­called a favourite child­hood mem­ory when the women in her fam­ily had a quilt­ing bee.

“We would some­times be un­der the quilts, and that wasn’t a pop­u­lar place for three lit­tle girls to be,” she laughed.

Ma­cLean has a stu­dio that was built onto her house in West Point about 25 years ago.

“My hus­band calls it my happy room.”

She teaches quilt­ing, as well as op­er­ates her busi­ness, Lil­lian’s Lim­ited Edi­tions.

“It’s a pas­sion I have ev­ery day. I have made so many friends for life around the Is­land.”

Pres­i­dent Elaine Bur­rows said 16 of the 36 mem­bers have items in the show.

The guild uses a com­bi­na­tion of printed pat­terns and some cre­ate their own, which are ma­chine-made, but a few of the women do hand quilt­ing, she said.

“It’s a cre­ative out­let,” said Bur­rows.

“It’s an art and a sci­ence be­cause you also have to be ac­cu­rate with the cut­ting and stitch­ing in or­der to get things to work out prop­erly.”

The guild has a busi­ness meet­ing once a month dur­ing the school year; they have work­shops and sewing days, as well as an­nual trips and re­treats.

“It’s in­di­vid­ual work but it’s also very so­cial.”


Verna Banks, one of the founders of North­ern Lights Quilt Guild, looks at one of the items on dis­play for the guild’s ex­hibit at the Eptek Cen­tre.


Lil­lian Ma­cLean stands next to her Storm at Sea quilt, which took her about a month to com­plete. Ma­cLean and 15 other mem­bers of the North­ern Lights Quilt Guild have their work on dis­play at Eptek Cen­tre.

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