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Kings River Quilt Festival in Reedley

Aug 25, 2015 10:38PM ● Published by Brandi Barnett

In Stitches

September 2015
By Jordan Venema

According to Pat Robertson, there are two avenues into quilting: down the artist’s path, or following the stitch of a seamstress or seamster. But however people get into quilting, there’s no denying: “You’d be very surprised by the artistic ability that people put into their quilts.”
   
Robertson began quilting in 1989, and once she moved up the ranks to become president of the Kings River Quilt Guild, she and her fellow quilters decided the valley needed a local festival to showcase their talents. They held the first Kings River Quilt Festival in 1999 in the Reedley Community Center, but says Robertson, each year it’s improved and gotten larger and larger. Now, two large gyms at Emmanuel High School are filled with between 300 and 350 quilts.
   
With that much fabric, the Kings River Quilt Festival is not an inch short of the larger quilt shows in the area. “Well,” Robertson assures, “this is the largest guild festival in the valley.”
   
The festival isn’t a competition. “We are not judged and we’re not juried. This is just a show,” she says. But that doesn’t take away from the artistic talents of its guild members. Zigzagging throughout the gyms and hanging on racks, quilts can range in sizes from “mini” to quite large.
   
Basically, says Robertson, a guild member can submit “anything that has three layers and a stitch together.” The only condition is that they can’t have submitted the same quilt in a previous Kings River Quilt Festival. While only guild members can submit quilts (people can become members for the remainder of 2015 for a $10 fee), anybody is welcome. The guild's 110 members hail from all over the valley.
   
And for those who aren’t quilters themselves, it’s a great opportunity to learn about quilts and see vendors' booths. There will be raffles for themed baskets “full of all sorts of quilting goodies,” as well as a sewing machine.
   
The festival will also feature quilters Sandy Clark of Fresno and Linda Blasingame of Kingsburg. “They’re kind of like quilting all-stars,” says Robertson.
   
All money raised at the festival goes directly back into the guild treasury, funds workshops and speakers for guild members and pays for fabrics to make quilts, which they’ve donated to Relay for Life, the Marjaree Mason Center and the Sierra Nursing Home.
   
Fortunately, their guild meetings are the one place where it’s acceptable to knit or stitch during a presentation. “Yeah, sometimes we’ll get together and sew at our meetings,” Robertson says with a laugh.
   
She invites people to join the fun at the festival. “We’re very friendly, very nice people and we try to get people to like us.” In fact, to prove her point, if you paid admission the first day but also want to come on the second, she might just sneak you in. Though price of admission is per day, Robertson admits on the sly, “Well, they can say I paid yesterday and we’d let them in.”

Kings River Quilt Festival • Immanuel High School
1128 S. Reed Ave., Reedley • $6 admission
Saturday, Sept. 19, 10am – 6pm Sunday, Sept. 20, 10am – 3pm


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