Flo Payeur arranges quilts at the Senior Bees morning meetup. (Photos by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times)

Flo Payeur arranges quilts at the Senior Bees morning meetup. (Photos by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times)

Skilled sewing to be on display at Senior Bees quilt show

Oak Harbor Senior Center artists create quilts for the community

A love of quilting is not without peril.

Making “too many” quilts can be an occasional hazard for those most passionate about the art, but the Senior Bees of the Oak Harbor Senior Center have it handled. They donate hundreds of quilts to the community each year.

“People love to get quilts,” member Ruth Hopkins said. And people like looking at them, too.

The Quilt Show by the Senior Bees of the Oak Harbor Senior Center is 10 a.m-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 and 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Sunday Sept. 22 at the senior center on Jerome Street.

The star of the free event is a large quilt with over a thousand colorful hexagons sewn together in a “Grandmother’s Flower Garden” pattern. The quilt will be given to the winner of a raffle, with tickets for $1 and serving as a fundraiser for the senior center.

The Senior Bees have been busy bees in the weeks leading up to this year’s quilt show, which will have about 40 full-size quilts and many more wall-size and smaller works. But they’re always working on projects during their bi-weekly morning meetings at the center.

Their quilts can be spotted in the community, though people may not realize the origin the artwork. The Senior Bees make blankets for babies, quilts for fundraisers and donate their colorful work to nonprofits such as Meals On Wheels, Ryan’s House, Boys and Girls Club and CADA.

The handmade quilts go to the hospital on the Navy base and are offered to families of the newborns.

All types of patterns can be found, from the chaos of “crazy stitching,” the interlacing “log cabin style,” the intricate patterns of folk artist Sue Spargo, eye-popping Hawaiian-style quilts and many more.

“When you do a quilt, it is your personal taste,”said quilter Flo Payeur, who has a fondness for Hawaiian style. “What I like, you may not.”

The Senior Bees have between 20 and 25 regular members and meet every Monday and Friday for a few hours to work on community quilts, personal projects and to enjoy the company of other quilting-enthusiasts.

The group enjoys some good-nurtured ribbing and the time to swap stories and share quilting techniques.

They welcome new members, though they do have to be a paying member of the senior center. Several Senior Bees describe the meetings as a good setting for someone still in the learning process.

Membership has doubled within the last 18 months, according to the group, outgrowing their original meeting room at the senior center. They moved to a larger room where they now have amble storage space to tuck away piles of fabric and bookshelves of handy quilting reference books.

“There’s so much talent in this group,” Lisa House said at the gathering Monday morning.

Some members recently traveled to a quilt show in Sisters, Oregon. Not impressed, these skilled quilters said. Their own work rivals those at well-known Oregon show, members said, and they will be displaying it for the community to check out this weekend.

This quilt will be raffled off at the weekend show.

This quilt will be raffled off at the weekend show.

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