AMHERST – Victoria, B.C.’s Cathy Miller sings at quilting events throughout the world, and the 'Singing Quilter' recently landed in Amherst where she performed for hundreds of quilters at the Trinity-St. Stephen United Church.
“I’ve been travelling the world for 14 years and having a marvellous time,” said Miller. “I tell stories, I show my quilts, and we sing songs that, mostly, I’ve written.”
She has been to Nova Scotia several times, but this was her first visit to Amherst.
“There are only a few places left in the world, and only a few, where they have an unbroken quilting tradition, and Nova Scotia is one of those places,” said Miller.
She said Nova Scotia has a strong tradition of hand quilting.
“It’s very unusual because everybody is going for the machine stuff. It’s very nice to see this hot bed of hand quilters.”
Miller says there are some differences between quilting designs in regions throughout the world, but says there are many similarities.
“We’re all influenced by magazines we read and the places we go,” she said. “For instance, Snowbirds go south for the winter and come back with something they saw down there, so it’s a hodgepodge. There’s room for everybody.”
She says different regions began to really influence each other in the 30s.
“Quilting magazines were very popular in the 30’s, that was the last golden-age of quilting,” said Miller.
The quilting event was organized by the Cumberland Quilters Guild, and a quick look at the large crowd in attendance proves quilting is as strong as ever in the Maritimes.
“I think they’ve done a extraordinary job in publicizing this,” she said. “There are people here from Charlottetown, Fredericton, Pictou, and throughout the region.”
While in Amherst Miller also visited the Deanne Fitzpatrick Rug Hooking Studio in Amherst.
“It was a very welcoming studio with a lot of beautiful stuff,” said Miller.
Miller arrived in Amherst only hours before the show after taking the ferry from Portland, Maine to Yarmouth. Amherst was the second last stop on her latest tour. She stopped in Guelph, Ont., before heading back to Victoria.
“We’ll drive five days to get home,” she said.
Amherst came towards the end of a three-and-a-half month tour that started in Arizona, and then went to Texas, Florida and up the Eastern Seaboard.