Needle and thread

Raissa Tetanish
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Quilts key component of Fibre Arts Festival

Needle and thread

Amherst -

For more than 10 years, Joyce Babcock has enjoyed the art of quilting.

"I find it very relaxing," she said during the Quilt Expressions quilt display Friday afternoon during the second Fibre Arts Festival in Amherst.
"Some days you'll only get to spend an hour on your quilt, but other days you can be working for three or four hours at a time. But then there are days when you don't get to it at all."
Born in Alberta, Babcock finally settled in Amherst and started quilting with some senior citizens almost 12 years ago when she saw an advertisement.
"I had just finished working so I decided to try. All I needed was a needle and some thread."
Babcock met Pauline Atkinson and Buela Gload, who has since passed away, and learned many techniques from the two women.
She said she's quilted roughly 20 pieces over the last decade, giving the majority of them away to family members.
She said quilting is done one block at a time, to make sure the quilter likes how it turns out.
"Sometimes I hang my pieces on the fridge to look at them," she said.
First, it's all about selecting a pattern. Babcock says she likes the older patterns the most, as well as star patterns.
Then it's about choosing what 100 per cent cotton fabric will be used.
"A lot of people can look at colours and fabrics and see how the quilt will turn out, but I have to lay my pieces out to see.
"I'm always quite happy with the way the quilt turns out. Every one is different and unique."
While she's given her quilts away, Babcock said she hasn't sold any because she doesn't know how to come up with a price for the pieces.
"You can't sell your time. It's like an artist or a photographer - how do you put a price on your time?"
Each quilt takes hours upon hours of work, sometimes even a year to complete just one quilt. Each has a backing, batting and top, and placed into a frame - such as a three-roller or standard wooden frame - then quilted by hand.
"I love to just sit and quilt," said Babcock.
The Fibre Arts Festival, held Tuesday to Saturday last week, saw people from all over North America come to Amherst for five days of workshops and shows.

Geographic location: Amherst, Alberta, North America

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