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Norwood - Local Town Pages

Local Quilters Take Home Ribbons

Mistral was jointly made by Carol Meglan and Nancy St. Laurent and won Second Place in the Appliqué Wall Quilts category and Vendors Choice Award Essence of London: Third Place winner for Nancy Pond in the Hand Stitched Quilts category.


By Betsy Millane
While quilting is a solo art, it can be a group endeavor, which is exactly how the Rhododendron Needlers Quilt Guild treat this creative outlet. They meet once a month at the Westwood Library to talk about quilting, bring their quilts and tools to work on, and consult with each other about materials, patterns, and challenges. Many of its 68 members (nine from Norwood) enjoy collaborating and often showcase their quilts at competitions, such as the Blue Hills Vocational School’s “A Community of Quilters” show last month. 
Norwood resident Nancy St. Laurent is a dedicated quilter, has been a member of the club since 1989, and has been quilting ever since.
How does one get started in quilting? Well, St. Laurent has always been a sewist. She said it is in her DNA, she imagines, as her father was a tailor. She made her own clothes. Then a friend showed her how to quilt and introduced her to the tools of the craft. She also read the book: Quilts, Quilts, Quilts, a book she still refers to today.
What attracted her to quilting? The intricacies and patterns fascinated St. Laurent.
She primarily uses cotton; sometimes using a cotton/poly mix in the batting.
She purchases her material either online or in a store, but right now she has what she calls a “Stash” of material she is using. (Translation of ‘stash’ is a supply of something, typically one that is hidden or secret…..a term for crafters can also mean ‘of value!)
Patterns are available for quilters, but St. Laurent often makes her own.
For materials and inspiration, she crosses the Norwood border to All About Quilts, in Walpole. They have workshops and classes where she meets other quilters. They also have a specialized piece of equipment, a long arm machine, that does the quilting via computer. She has also done the actual quilting herself, by hand.
There are many challenges in quilting. St. Laurent said a bedspread is not the easiest square to make. You take a square and add another. It’s a solitary pursuit, but Westwood Quilters can make it a group effort meeting once a month in the Westwood Library for ideas, camaraderie, support, and friendship.
When asked about the process of quilting, St. Laurent said it begins when you pick a pattern. From there, you find fabrics, choosing the colors you like. You put the design on a wall, and begin to sew the squares together. You make a square, then add another, using cutting and measuring tools, and a quilt is born!
Those creations do not, however, stay around for long; most are given away to family members to enjoy!
Carol Meglan of Norwood started quilting 40 years ago. The last four to five years have been spent making “comfort” quilts. Comfort quilts are smaller and are made for children, featuring children’s themes. For example, she will incorporate bunnies and teddy bears, for girls and super heroes and trucks for boys. Making quilts makes her feel useful, it gives her a creative outlet. How impressive she had made at least 100 quilts!
While a non-quilter may think it would take months to finish a quilt, for seasoned quilter Meglan, one to two weeks, start to finish, is all she needs. She works alone, focused and engrossed in the process.
Through the Quilters Guild, Meglan donates her finished projects to foster children and new single mothers. What a gift!
Right now, Meglan is working on a “Scrappy” quilt. A quilt made of the scraps of material she had collected over the years (here’s that word ‘stash’ again). There’s no rhyme or reason to the design; she quilts with the 2 ½ inch strips and adds them all up into the quilt.
Sometimes, collaboration can be a fun distraction from solo quilting. Meglan and Nancy combined their talents and skills and created a quilt together that was on display at the Westwood Library.