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July 29, 2014
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Honoring traditions, fabricating new; Meet the divas of quilting


That’s what Katharina Litchman of Jeffersonville, NY specializes in. She calls herself a contemporary art quilter. Katharina was a New York City banker, when she caught the quilting bug. But after making many bed quilts, she felt she wanted to branch out and stretch her creative side. Katharina now designs and makes art quilts, which are in demand. She started experimenting with dying her own fabrics, using all natural dyes and material to make the designs. “It’s a lot of work,” says Katharina, “and I always make a mistake or two. My quilts are not perfect, and no two will ever be alike.” She is the first art quilter to be inducted into the Catskill Mountain Quilters Hall of Fame.

Despite the difference in the styles and motivation for quilting, all have one special quality in common: they have huge hearts. Each group or individual participates continually in charity aspects. Quilt raffles are common in the Delaware River area—but did you realize each one raffled off has to be made by someone? In many cases, each member of the quilt circle makes a block or square, and they take turns finishing it. Local agencies are the beneficiaries of the money raised.

The divas in Youngsville save all their quilting scraps in what they call a “cat bag.” Once enough scraps are accumulated, they’re sewn together to make a cat bed, which the divas then donate to the Sullivan County Humane Society, at a rate of about one a month.

Amy Dunn from “The Mountain Quiltworks” participates in “Conkerr Cancer,” a program where crafters make pillowcases for children with cancer. So far, Amy and customers at her shop have donated 2,240 cases and counting. She also participates in quilt raffles for charity.

At “A Stitch in Time” in Honesdale, Jackie Murphy is challenging quilters and customers to “Fill the Cradle” with 150 baby quilts between now and March. It’s for “Project Linus,” a charity that provides comforting quilts to kids in the hospital with serious illnesses. Her shop also saves scraps and accepts donations of fabric in a project called “Shreds for Beds”. They make dog beds for Dessin Animal Shelter.

As busy as the hands of all our local quilters are, their hearts are just as full, giving back to those who need help the most. And whatever drives them, whether a quilter is making a specimen for a bed or the wall, for a child or a bride, whether they’re meeting for the social aspect or the sheer creativity of art of quilting, this is one craft that won’t fade away any time soon.