Crazy Quilters sew with charitable, social purposes

The origin of the Crazy Quilters is somewhat of a mystery, even to members of the group.

Evelyn Blair, Doris Northcutt and Jenny Mayer were not sure of the story behind the name of the group or even when the quilting group was first created — they guessed about 40 years ago. The original creators of the group have long since passed away.

But, what matters to them is that their tradition of quilting every Wednesday at the South Whidbey Senior Center carries on, and that their charitable givings also continue. The group makes quilts that are donated to cancer patients at Whidbey General, the Neo-Nadal Intensive Care Unit at the University of Washington and veterans on Whidbey Island.

“We get thank you letters all the time,” said Blair, a Clinton resident. “It makes you feel good when you do something like that.”

Blair, Northcutt and Mayer attended a four-hour quilting session on July 19 at the senior center. The trio said they enjoy returning every Wednesday so they can chat while also getting some quilting done. The group used to have about a dozen people attended the gathering, but they said people died or moved away. There are about eight or nine members in the group currently.

All three have extensive experience in quilting. Mayer said her mother introduced her and her sisters to quilting when she crafted them using fabrics from dresses. Now, Mayer has daughters and granddaughters of her own and she collects fabrics that are used in collaborative quilts with her children. Mayer prefers her quilts to be brightly colored.

Northcutt said she draws inspiration from books, magazines and other quilts in her creations; she doesn’t usually have a plan for what she wants to make when she arrives to quilt.

The trio said age doesn’t matter when it comes to quilting, though arthritis can create some roadblocks. Mayer said there was once a woman in the group who was 100.

The quilting sessions are pretty simple, according to the three women. They said they typically just show up and start working on whatever is on their docket for the day.

Members usually join because they heard about it from a friend, Mayer said, but they haven’t had any new members in a “long time.” Northcutt said they don’t teach quilting in the group, but are “glad” to make suggestions with a project.

Mayer believes that people sometimes think that quilts can be very difficult, but sewing quilts is much more preferable than sewing a garment, for example.

“It’s far easier,” Mayer said.

Mayer typically uses a four-patch quilt technique, which is perfect for her preference of having bright colors.

The group said they are open to new members joining. For those interested, call 360-321-1600.