BEAUTIFUL TREASURES: Quilter Ann Finlay in front of a display of her work at the quilt show.
BEAUTIFUL TREASURES: Quilter Ann Finlay in front of a display of her work at the quilt show. John Sercombe

Seniors' needles dazzle at quilt show

FABRIC is transformed by talented quilters and those who were lucky enough to catch the quilt show held at Upper Orara Hall over the June long weekend were treated to a glowing and dramatic display.

With just eight members, all of them seniors, the tiny country group put on a magnificent display with about 50 colourful quilts as well as other examples of sewing and knitting.

Visitors were particularly drawn to the work of Coffs Harbour needlewoman Ann Finlay, whose handwork turned fabric into flowers with a huge quilt made from 26,500 half-inch hexagons as the centrepiece of her display.

The middle of the quilt featured a bouquet of roses.

Ann, who has been quilting for almost 30 years, says she loves her craft.

"It is very addictive, you can't stop," Ann said.

"Most of my work is hand work. I love sewing and I do a lot of embroidery.

"I'm blowed if I know what makes it so addictive.

"I don't go to clubs, I don't smoke; my shoulders and back don't allow me to garden and I don't cook any more.

"I used to read, but this is more rewarding, because you have something to show for it."

Ann said roses, baskets and swans were among her favourite motifs.

Current group co-ordinator Val Ellem said for her, the group acted as therapy.

"I'm not terribly good, I go for the chatter," Val said.

"It's not all quilts, a lot of people just do knitting or hand sewing.

" You come with troubles and go home laughing.

"It's a small, informal group.

"Some people come out from town because they love the Orara Valley so much."

The faces may have changed but the group has been meeting weekly for 21 years, with the late Janice Hunter credited as the original inspiration for a 'Monday fun day' at the hall.

Ann said as well as individual projects, the women worked as a group on quilts to donate to charities for fund-raising raffles, with three new quilts now ready to be donated.

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