Norton Resident Shows at Traditions and Treasures Quilt Show

Diana Reinhardt Annis and "The Last Supper" creator Don Locke talk about their works.

The Traditions and Treasures Quilt Show was held this past weekend at Blue Hills Regional Technical School and featured contemporary and traditional quilts from local crafters, such as Norton’s own Diana Reinhardt Annis, as well as The Supper Quilt, which has traveled the world.


What got you interested in quilting? A 1979 issue of McCall's magazine. This was in the days of cardboard templates and sewing one piece at a time. Nothing like the time saving techniques we have today.

What does being a member of the Rhododendron Needlers Guild entail? A quilt guild is really a civic organization, I believe, and the scope is to educate its members and the community. As well as giving to the community in the way of charity quilts to breast cancer patients, scholarships for members communities public High Schools and town libraries, and educational opportunities in the way of workshops, usually on a monthly basis. We meet the third Wednesday of each month, September through June, except December. We have an agenda consisting of guild business and announcements, and a program for the evening. Followed by show and tell of quilts by members. We encourage volunteerism and making and donating quilts for charity.

What quilts did you display for the show? I had two personal quilts in the show this year. I am a professional longarmer, so I had several customer quilts in the show also. We had a professional judging component to our show this year, for just the second time. This took place a week before the show took place. My quilts were not a part of this, but some of my customers' quilts were. And during the show itself we have what is referred to as a 'Viewers Choice' ballot. This is where attendees can vote for their favorites in each category. 

How did people respond to them? I heard so many wonderful things from attendees to our show! So many people said it was the best show they had ever attended! We were truly exhausted from our efforts and these fantastic statements gave us such energy. Everyone likes to walk by their own quilt(s) and listen to someone say something nice about it. Which is why one always wants to say something nice and not critical! Really, though, this show drew from the non-quilting community as well due to the exhibition of the 'Supper' quilt by Dr Donald Locke, of Texas. It was a wonderful opportunity to show the public at large, that quilts are more now than what our ancestors made. Quilts are now considered works of art and should be shared as in shows like ours. People seemed to be very impressed by the vast array of color and design.

What other groups are you involved in? I'm a member of two quilt guilds, Rhododendron Needlers Quilt Guild (RNQG), of Walpole, and Silver City Quilt Guild (SCQG), of Taunton, whose show will take place Sept. 17 and 18, at the Friedman Middle School, Norton Avenue in Taunton. I also have organized a Longarm group which has been named LANE, for LongArmers of New England, though that is a misnomer. We invite anyone interested in machine quilting to come to our four times a year meetings. They are all about machine quilting, sharing, learning and troubleshooting. I'm also one of the core people that put on the MQX show in Providence each year, which is putting on a second show in Portland, OR in October and I will be there too!

What awards have you won? It's always so hard to toot my own horn. Ok, I have won some guild ribbons over the years. I have won judged show ribbons, at Images in Lowell, Machine Quilters Exposition in Providence and previously in Manchester in NH, AQS in Columbus, OH, and have had the privilege of being involved in a group quilt that hung at Houston last year. This year one of my customer's quilts will hang at the Paducah show. It' funny how once a ribbon is won, the urge to win more becomes very strong.

Tell me about your quilting business: I am what is called a longarmer. What that means is that I have a large industrial machine that allows me to put the three layers of a quilt, the top, batting and backing, together on a roller system and use my machine more like a drawing tool, a pencil, to stitch the layers together in a design of my own concoction or to follow a plan, or a paper design. My work is all hand guided. It's truly the best job I have ever had. And I have always loved the jobs I've done. This one gives me such creative freedom, and it makes people so happy. My business name is 'In Stitches'. But, in the tight world of the quilting industry, people know me by my given name. Most of my customers come to me by referral or picking up a brochure at a show or store. Some find me on the internet. I bought my quilting machine in May of 2002 and was doing customer quilts about 2 months later. There is a definite learning curve to these machines but I had been quilting on my home sewing machine for a few years so I got the grasp of it pretty quickly.

What do you teach? Teaching is as much fun for me as quilting is. I love to share what I know. I teach longarm quilting techniques to other longarmers, and I also teach piecing classes at Emma's Quilt Cupboard in Franklin. I've also taught workshops at my own and other quilt guilds.

When you are not quilting, what do you enjoy doing? There are so many things I enjoy, my dog, my gardens, my family, we have three grandsons and another grandbaby on the way. I love to paint and cook for a crowd. I am taking on a new adventure this summer. I am having a chicken house built and having chickens! I raise vegetables and grapes, making jelly. You know, a person can't be all about one thing!



“We have about 165 quilts that our guild members have made,” Canton resident and Show Chair Jane McClennan said of the event sponsored by the Rhododendron Needlers’ Quilt Guild. “The Guild’s goal is to advance the education and appreciation of quilts. We give scholarships and donate to the local library, but mostly we’re about educating our members with guest speakers…teaching us knew things.”

“We also have the Supper Quilt which came from Texas and has traveled the United States and the world," she said. "This is the 32nd state that it’s been to and the only time it will be in Massachusetts; it’s very epic, it has over 51,000 pieces.”

Don Locke, a retired dentist from the outskirts of Dallas, Texas, created the project over 1,200 hours in 2 ½ years, and finished in 1999 when he was 67 years old. According to the website, the Supper Quilt measures 15.25 feet wide and 5.6 feet high, and is made from 51,816 half-inch squares and 350 different fabrics.

This is Locke’s second quilt; the first followed a similar creative process from a photo of him and his wife Marilyn. When the first quilt was finished (at the age of 64), he knew immediately he wanted to quilt ‘The Last Supper’ (1495-1497) by Leonardo da Vinci.

“I didn’t know it would leave the house so this just blows my mind,” said Locke of the reaction he has received worldwide, as several people milled about the quilt and sat nearby gazing at the 15 by 5 foot creation.

There were 165 quilts on display at the show representing many towns from Braintree to Cumberland, Rhode Island, including Easton, Mansfield, Norton, Norwood, Stoughton and Westwood.

For more information on the quilt, visit http://www.thesupper.net/.


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