For the love of the arts

Raissa Tetanish
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AMHERST - The hum of sewing machines filled the quietness of the small community room in the basement of the First Baptist Church.

It was there that many participants, all of whom were women at the time, were getting a lesson from quilt designer Karen Neary.

Mary Farrow Sinclair, although originally from Amherst, traveled from Quebec for the Fibre Arts Festival, which included Neary's Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend workshop.

"I'm here for two classes in the festival, but I'm also here to promote Victoria's Quilts Canada," Farrow Sinclair said. "We make comfort quilts for people with cancer and we're looking for some ladies to do some work here."

Organizers are hoping for anywhere around 1,000 people to be in town for the festival, which began Tuesday and ends Saturday.

"I think the festival is quite amazing. I was here last year and I've gotten the sense that it's grown this year from last," Sinclair said, adding she can see from the number of participants that it's going to continue to grow.

Neary walked around the inside of the group of women who were there to learn about 60 degree diamonds.

Neary was also teaching rotary cutting, strip piecing, and the three ways to sew a Y seam.

"The Y seam scares everyone to death," Neary said with a smile.

Celebrating all things fibre, the festival kicked off Tuesday with hooked handbags, a basic rug hooking workshop, quilted landscapes workshop and welcome reception.

Other events Wednesday included an impressionistic style workshop for hooking with Doris Eaton and Deanne Fitzpatrick, a primitive rug hooking workshop and fibre collage scarves workshop.

Those on the agenda for today include the impressionistic style workshop again, a sew in with an unfinished quilt, a crazy quilt demo and display and the Fibre Arts Festival Dinner and Show.

Friday and Saturday are both full days to wind down the festival, and events can be found on the festival's website,

The Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association and the Downtown Amherst Revitalization Society were sponsoring the festival, with other organizations, such as the Town of Amherst, sponsoring events within the festival.

Organizations: First Baptist Church, Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association, Downtown Amherst Revitalization Society

Geographic location: AMHERST, Quebec, Victoria

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