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Weaving a tapestry of beauty

Quilters now have a store
Delores Ellsworth has been doing crafts for most of her life.
A voracious reader, Ellsworth came across a book one day that changed her life.
“It was a book on quilts and the art of quilting,” she said.
As a result of that book, Ellsworth not only took up the craft herself, it eventually led to her opening up her own business.
Her store, Quilter’s Haven, located on N.C. 16 in Denver, which opened this past January, is the culmination of a dream.
“I always wanted to go into business for myself and it just worked out that I could do this,” she said.
Her store is designed for people who quilt at home or in quilting circles, where they can come in and buy supplies or have them ordered by Ellsworth.
“I also hold classes here once per week,” said Ellsworth, who noted she held a class recently on hand-dying fabric.
Jean Funderburk taught that class and others offered at Ellsworth’s store.
“We don’t have a shop in Lincolnton that caters to quilters. We have to go to Mooresville or Charlotte,” said Funderburk. “She’s our source for getting what we need.”
Ellsworth recently won first-place at the Lincoln Quilters competition that was held Aug. 28 and 29 in the group category, creating a quilt along with Christine Schulz.
“It’s a wall hanging called Donna’s Block and it’s pieced on a paper foundation that’s put together. It’s mostly multi-colored with orange and black,” said Ellsworth.
The quilt is hanging in front of Quilter’s Haven.
When Ellsworth is making a quilt, something she can do at a customer’s request, time stands still.
“You don’t think about time because you work on the quilt when you can,” she said.
Prices are based on the work, fabric used and quilt size.
“Many people come to pick out the fabric and do the quilts themselves,” she said.
Ellsworth also sells handmade pillows, handbags and small crafts like coasters and baskets.

Want to learn more?
To sign up for a class or for more information on Quilter’s Haven, call Ellsworth at (704)-483-5999.

Directions
From Lincolnton, take N.C. 150 to N.C. 16. Turn right and Quilter’s Haven is located about a mile on the right. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; and 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday Quilter’s Haven is closed Mondays.

Club members share skills

Fourteen years ago, Lincoln County resident Jean Funderburk remembers seeing a sign for a quilting group that was put up by a now-retired county extension agent.
“It was put up by Janet DeGregory, and seven or eight of us met and decided there was enough interest to have a quilting guild,” she said.
And thus the Lincoln Quilters was born.
The guild is a networking system where members share skills, Funderburk said.
“We also nurture beginners and help them build their quilt-making skills,” she said.
The 40-member Lincoln Quilters guild also travels together, going throughout the United States to quilting shows.
The last one some of the members visited was in West Jefferson.
“Different areas of North Carolina make their quilts differently. In the mountains, you see more hand-made quilts that are used for warmth. Here in the Lincoln area, we’re going towards more machine-made quilts that are used as hanging art,” said Funderburk.
The youngest member of Lincoln Quilters is 20; the oldest member of the guild is 86.
The guild was the only one in Lincoln County for its first 11 years of existence. Then came a need for senior citizens who quilt to have a guild as well.
According to Chris Blankenship, many senior citizens did not want to go out at night.
“Since Lincoln Quilters was the evening guild, myself and two other people started Piecemakers three years ago,” she said.
That guild specializes in teaching, encouraging people who have never quilted to come join their guild.
“Quilting’s easy if a person knows how to sew,” said Blakenship, “but if you don’t know how to sew, a person is learning two skills at the same time.
“We tell new people that in quilting, you have to be very precise and then the pieces of the puzzle will fall together.”
Right now, there are about 40 seniors who are members of the guild.
The Piecemakers guild actually gets together twice per month. Once is for the monthly meeting while the other is to actually quilt.
“We make quilts for the RUOK program, where the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office checks on the elderly, as well as the kidney dialysis clinic, because some patients there get too cold during their treatment,” said Blankenship. She estimates they turn out three quilts per week.
Jean Funderburk believes there are hundreds more quilters in Lincoln County who have not joined one of the county’s two guilds.
“There are a group of ladies in Denver that get together to quilt and there’s also a group in western Lincoln County who quilt as well,” she said.

Want to go?
The Lincoln Quilters meet at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the James W. Warren Citizens Center in downtown Lincolnton.
The Piecemakers meet the first Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m. – noon at the Lincolnton Senior Center, located in the old Lincolnton High School on South Academy Street.
They also meet at the same location from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. the third Wednesday of the month for their monthly workday.

by Jon Mayhew

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