“[Quilting] is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always admired the quilts — I have family that live in Lancaster, Pa., and I would go up there and just drool over the quilts that the Amish ladies would make,” said Marshall, a resident of Cartersville. “And when we moved to Georgia in ’99, I had the opportunity to take a class and that was it. I was hooked.
“[Overall], I think [I enjoy] the designing of the quilts, finding the colors,” she said, adding she joined the Cartersville-based Etowah Valley Quilt Guild in 2001. “I may start with a pattern and maybe use two or three patterns in a quilt. ... It’s very rewarding. I finished [a quilt] last night and put the binding on it and brought it upstairs and had my husband hold it for me at a distance. And it was like, ‘Oh wow, this one’s even nicer than I thought.’ It’s a feeling of accomplishment and I wonder which kid is going to want it. My kids come over and they say, ‘Oh mom, I have to have that one.’”
Serving as Etowah Valley Quilt Guild’s Quilt Show chairman, Marshall currently is busy helping her fellow members organize their upcoming biennial offering. To be held at the Cartersville Civic Center — 435 W. Main St. — the nearly 50-member group’s Quilt Show, titled “Love of Quilts,” will be open to the public Sept. 21 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sept. 23, noon to 5 p.m.
“I think it’s just the camaraderie and the teamwork that we have [that I enjoy],” said Marshall, about the Etowah Valley Quilt Guild. “We have such a wonderful group of ladies here. They’re here for you for inspiration. I have made a lot of personal friends from the guild. It’s just a very warm cozy feeling when you are around them. We try to do a lot for the community. We make quilts for the homeless shelter, the women’s battered shelter. One year we did stockings. So we love to do stuff for the community too. It just warms your heart when you can do something.
“I’m in a position now where I can share some of my fabric and donate quilts for several different things. I donate quilts for Relay for Life, for my church, for The Hope Center. It just gives me a warm fuzzy [feeling] — I don’t know how else to put it. [Through the Quilt Show], we try to introduce people to quilting. We range from beginners to girls that have had quilts in the show in Paducah, [Ky., so] there is all kinds of quilting [displayed]. We just want people to enjoy it. We’re not out for prizes.”
Bonded by their love of quilting, the Etowah Valley Quilt Guild will showcase more than 160 of their creations at the Quilt Show. Along with their design and size, the displayed works will vary in skill level, with guild membership ranging from beginners to more advanced quilters.
Among those to be exhibited this year will be the works of Beverley Raptis and Karolyn Reker that were displayed at the 2012 American Quilter’s Society’s Quilt Show & Contest in Paducah, Ky., April 25 to 28. Selected as semifinalists, the Etowah Valley Quilt Guild members were among 377 entrants — 11 of whom were from Georgia — competing for $120,000 in cash awards.
Reker’s entry “Behind Closed Doors” features houses around its border, with animals and people looking out the windows and doors. Titled “Return Home,” Raptis’ machine-sewed quilt was inspired by a trip to Canada that she and her husband took for their 40th wedding anniversary. The 49-inch-wide-by-73-inch-long art quilt showcases a bear emerging from the brush to view salmon swimming upstream.
“It was really wonderful. We really enjoyed it,” Raptis said, referring to her experience at the Paducah show. “It was fun just going up and seeing it there, and it was definitely an honor. There [were] a lot of amazing quilts. So it was really good and we’re excited about having it shown again.
“It’s actually a lot of fun just seeing the reactions of the different people as they look at it. I enjoy it. [At the Cartersville show, I enjoy] just seeing all the different quilts hanging and then realizing all the different talents. Every one of them has different abilities and [the quilts] are all just beautiful.”
For more information on the upcoming Quilt Show, visit www.etowahvalleyquiltguild.com. Admission will be $2 per adult. Along with the group’s website, further details about joining the Etowah Valley Quilt Guild can be obtained by contacting Kelly Nagel at Kellykkn@gmail.com or 678-535-8256. The group meets on the third Tuesday of every month at the Cartersville Civic Center.