Quilting Craze Hits the Hudson Valley, Plus: Local Quilting and Sewing Centers and Events

High-quality fabrics — and the joy of coming together for a common purpose — have helped quilting’s popularity to soar



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man sewing quilt

It’s a Guy Thing

Noel Montgomery says he’s never been teased about quilting. “In fact, most people are fascinated with the fact that I do this,” says the Hyde Park resident who’s been quilting for 12 years.

“My mom passed away and I found the quilt she had done, and the block and a pattern. I wondered if I could do it,” he says. Additional stress from a relative’s health scare was the catalyst he needed to actually buy the fabric and give it a shot. “I needed to keep my mind busy,” says Montgomery. “It’s become the activity for this retired man to do while watching hockey games.”

Montgomery’s first quilt had a six-pointed star that incorporated fabric from dresses his sisters wore when they were little girls. “I didn’t know what I was doing but I just started.” Today he quilts both by hand and machine, making approximately seven quilts a year, many of which have won awards. “People have an appreciation for what I’ve done,” he says. “In the last 30 years, there’s been a great revival of quilters because the quality of the fabrics got better. I just wish more men would quilt.”

Bob Silverman and his partner Jim Helmes are co-owners, with Susan Pettengill, of Joyful Quilter in Glenville. After buying a home in Woodstock, they shopped for a quilt to fill an empty wall. It was this excursion that ultimately lead to the life-altering decision to open their store several years later. “We decided we wanted to make our own quilts and it just took over,” says Silverman, who previously worked as a bead buyer in the fashion industry.

Silverman admits that their first quilt, a nine-patch, was filled with mistakes, so the pair started taking workshops and buying books on quilting. Since then their quilts have been in traveling exhibits and they also teach quilting classes and have led retreats — some for men only. “The first one that we held at our old shop in Woodstock was fantastic,” he remembers. “People stayed at local B&Bs and we made all the food for them. We’d quilt until midnight each night.”

 

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