WESTERLY — Ellie Coffey is standing in the middle of the enormous drill shed at the Westerly Armory, holding on tightly to one end of a long tape measure. Tina Craig, holding firmly to the other end of the tape, is walking backward and calling out numbers having to do with inches and feet. Coffey, president of the Ninigret Quilters Guild of Westerly, and Craig, coordinator of the Guild’s quilt show, are preparing for the “Stitching Stars Quilt Show,” the organization’s biannual exhibit of quilts made by its members.
It’s set-up day and the two women are focused on getting the Armory ready for the hundreds of people expected to pour through the building over the weekend to see the colorful, award-winning quilts.
“Tina won 10 ribbons,” Coffey called out as she moved about the room, still measuring, “including the best of show.”
Craig’s masterpiece, “Chris and Jamie’s Wedding Ring,” will be among the more than 150 quilts on display throughout the weekend.
The quilts were judged by Beverly Fine, of Lancaster, Mass., a certified judge with the National Quilters Association.
In addition to the quilt display, there will be a quilt raffle, a miniature quilt silent auction, a book sale, demonstrations, vendors, and a scavenger hunt for children.
On Thursday morning, the quilters — along with dozens of other volunteer workers — were buzzing around the room; some propping up ladders, some carrying lumber, and others organizing bags full of quilts.
Julia Fuller, wearing a pink quilted name tag with a pin bearing the Ninigret Quilters feathered symbol, was folding programs with Margaret Sheehan, of South Kingstown. Although Westerly-based, the Guild draws members from as far away as Norwich and Portsmouth. Pawcatuck resident Cheryl Kittrick is participating in the show for the first time with her “One Block Wonder,” a piece she calls a “mosaic of brilliant peach tones.”
“I’ve always had a love of sewing,” said Kittrick, who owned a sewing shop in Westerly for many years, “but quilting has bloomed in the last 20 years.”
Nancy Lewis, a retired Westerly school teacher has eight quilts in the show including her hand-quilted hexagonal “Ms. Figaro’s Flower Garden.” Ralph Dykstra, of Richmond, is also a retired teacher and has the distinction of being the Guild’s only male member.
“There’s a lot of talent in this group,” said Dykstra, who once served as president.
“The show is a very good thing for the community,” said Carol Lundgren, of Westerly, a longtime Guild member who has five pieces in the show. “It’s expressive of our interests and talents.”
Erin Call, a seventh-grade teacher at the Pine Point School, has three quilts on display; two bed-sized and one wall hanging. Her scrap quilt was awarded a second place and another earned a “Member’s Choice.”
Call, who’s been a member for about 15 years, said the Guild is a great place for quilters to learn from one another.
“Everybody has her own thing,” she said. “I like to take scraps and make beautiful things out of them.”
“Stitching Stars Quilt Show,” will be open today until 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A $7 donation is requested for adults. The armory is located at 41 Railroad Ave., Westerly.