Stitching the nation

August 04, 2001 12:00 am
Julia Samples and her Polynesian nights pattern quilt. (The Observer/ALICE PERRY LINKER).
Julia Samples and her Polynesian nights pattern quilt. (The Observer/ALICE PERRY LINKER).

By The Observer

Julia Samples has taken an old craft to a new high-tech level.

Shes exhibiting a quilt with the Polynesian nights pattern done by quilters all over the United States. The quilt is on display in the Textile Building at the Union County Fair.

Samples recruited quilters using the Internet and e-mail. Twenty-eight quilters from as far away as Virginia and Alabama responded to her e-mail request.

Once she received the blocks, she sewed them together and bound and backed them with hand-dyed fabric.

It took about four months to do it, Samples said.

Each quilter submitted between 12 and 20 blocks with the Polynesian nights pattern and each received blocks quilted by others in exchange. Samples added blocks she quilted and the works of two other La Grande quilters, Colleen Carrol and Phyllis Blackman.

This was very enjoyable, she said. They used so many different techniques.

Samples learned about the quilting swap from a friend, and she said she plans to try it again.

The La Grande resident, who said shes fortunate to be a homemaker, entered five additional quilts and a quilted pillow that earned several ribbons in this years fair.

Among her exhibits is a flannel quilt she sewed as her husbands get-well gift when he was recuperating from cancer in the hospital.

She sews five or six quilts a year, but finds it hard to sell them.

I give them away. We have a lot of nieces and nephews and they get them, she said.

In addition to quilting, Samples enjoys hand-dying materials. Shes found a market for her dyed fabric at Quilt Therapy in La Grande.

The fairs textiles exhibit includes a variety of handwork in addition to quilts. The best-in-show winner is Rose Marie Miller of La Grande, who submitted a wedding-ring pillow done in hardinger, a type of embroidery.