Friday, May 6, 2011

Quilters make geometry beautiful

‘Circle of Nine’ is a new quilt book by valley quilter

Express Staff Writer

Karen Hand, left, and members of the Tuesday quilting gatherings work on new quilts in the back room of the Sun Valley Granary. Photo by Sabina Dana Plasse

On Tuesday afternoons, the back room of the Sun Valley Granary in Hailey has a hum. It's not the hum of gossip or singing, it's the hum of sewing machines. This group of stitchers is making quilts. Among the busy sewers is Janet Houts, a quilt book author and pattern designer.

Houts started making quilts 12 years ago mainly to help her sister Jean Ann Wright, the former editor of Quilt magazine. Today, Houts and her sister create quilt patterns and designs for national textile companies.

"I started illustrating and then began to design quilts," Houts said. "If I have to learn about quilting, I was going to quilt."

Houts lives in Bellevue with her husband, Steven, a fiber artist. Her book, "Circle of Nine" is a quilting book she co-wrote with her sister. The book demonstrates a unique new system for arranging any nine quilt blocks into a creative quilt setting. "Circle of Nine" includes 24 quilts in the book to see and make with fully illustrated, easy-to-follow instructions.

"It's easy for beginners," she said. "They can use their favorite fabrics to make a quilt design."

She said quilts have many designs and looks. The Tuesday group of sewers constantly share ideas about quilting. Under their long sewing table are boxes of donated fabrics, which the group will create into quilts for donations to valley nonprofit groups, including Sun Valley Adaptive Sports and The Advocates.

For the women at the Sun Valley Fabric Granary, creating quilts is a hobby and passion. They do not sell their quilts, they give them away.

"We're always thinking forward," said quilter Karen Hand. "It's hard to finish one quilt before you start thinking of another quilt to do."

The quilters who meet on Tuesday are from all over the Wood River Valley, including an occasional lady from Picabo.

"In my little world, I'm getting some attention," Houts said.

A book signing with Houts and Wright will take place at the Sun Valley Granary in Hailey on Wednesday, May 11, at noon.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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