November 26, 2021

Tompkins County Quilters Guild show at TC3

Katie Keyser/living and leisure editor

Joyce Morgenroth, of Dryden, looks at a favorite quilt she made.

DRYDEN — Joyce Morgenroth likes to figure out how shapes fit.

The quilter has a wall-sized board that she can apply shapes to — and they stick — that helps her plan her designs.

“I used t o be a choreographer,” said the Dryden woman, a retired dance professor at Cornell University. “I have a desire to mess around, to play with whatever is there, to do something different.”

The member of the Tompkins County Quilters Guild will display five quilts in the group’s show next month, as well as teaching Quilting 101, a workshop for people who have never made a quilt before.

Traditions & Beyond 2019 Quilt Show will take place 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 5 and 6 at Tompkins Cortland Community College field house in Dryden. Fee: $6. Under 12 are free.

“The amazing thing about the show: People will be able to see every technique — piecing, appliqué, paper piecing — whether machine made quilts , hand sewn quilts, traditional, antique or modern quilts,” said Casey Carr of Ithaca, co-chair of the event. “We will host workshops and demos all day.”

“There will be a workshop for kids on how to decorate a tote-bag, in appliqué quilting,” Morgenroth said. “People should know, you want to leave a couple of hours for the show.”

Katie Keyser/living and leisure editor

Casey Carr of Ithaca irons a quilt square. The longtime member of the Tompkins County Quilters Guild will be showing off several quilts at the guild’s show at Tompkins Cortland Community College.

More than 250 quilts will be displayed by the guild and public. Another 100 small quilts will be available in silent auction. Even more quilts will be on display in special exhibits, among displays of wearable art quilts and soft sculpture quilts.

“Altogether, there may be 500 quilts,” Carr said.

There will be a quilt turning: Where 30 quilts are on a bed and each is lifted one at a time as its history and features are explained.

Morgenroth’s “Quilting 101” will give newcomers an opportunity to get oriented, ask questions , see the tools and the methods of a step-by-step instructions on the making of a block, she said.
“We also have vendors, close to 20 vendors who will be selling everything: machines, fabric, patterns, tools,” Carr said.

The guild has more than 100 members from Cortland, Groton, Newark Valley, Alpine, Elmira, Newfield, Enfield and Ithaca. About 50 gather twice a month to learn new techniques and see what other members are working on. They have a quilt retreat twice a year, taking their sewing machines and quilting for four days.

“We are active,” Morgenroth said. “The show takes an enormous amount of preparation and work.”

The group also has a raffle quilt designed by one of the members. Forty members each made a block and in this case, appliquéd a flower on it.

Any person can join, regardless of experience, Carr said. For details on how to join, go to

Mary Hicks of Groton, a founding member of the Ps and Qs Quilting Group at United Presbyterian Church of Cortland, has been to a Tompkins County Quilters Guild show.

“It was diverse. That was a big thing, a great diversity of ways of using quilts creatively, as an art form,” she said.

She has slowed down on her quilting, after 39 years of it.

“I saturated the family with quilts,” she said.

A quilting group does a lot for a sewer, she said.

“It encourages you to keep on working on things. When you come together, you want to show what you’ve
done,” Hicks said. “It challenges you creatively to go beyond what you normally would — learning new techniques — ways to use your machine.”

Nancy Hansen of Cortland has been quilting for 20 years. She went to a quilting guild show years ago. While not in a guild per se, she is part of a small group of quilters who meet at the Homer Senior Center.

“You pick up ideas from other people,” she said. “’Oh I like that pattern.’ You kind of bounce ideas off each other.”

She quilts because it is therapeutic, creative and relaxing. “Just being with others of like mind is fun.”

Morgenroth has been in the guild f or four years. “It’s been an amazing community for someone new to it. I feel very connected,” she said.

“There are so many techniques and so many tools,” she added. “I am awed by the number of types of (cutting tools), only in certain cases do you use scissors. You use rotocutters. It’s fun. It’s fascinating. It’s daunting.”

Carr is a traditional quilter.

“I like the old patterns. I like some of the old fabric. For a while, I was making quilts made during the Civil War. I bought fabric recreated at that time and (used) quilt patterns of that time.”

Now she is making a miniature quilt for the show.

“Every block is only two inches big. The entire quilt is only 18 inches,” Carr said. “It would be tedious if I didn’t love it. I love it. I love how exact it is, seeing how the colors sort of play with each other.”

Carr machine sews her top layer and will quilt the final product if it is small. She sends large pieces to a long arm quilter to put the quilted design on.

“When I began, I was very interested in doing a variety of geometric shapes,” Morgenroth said. “I love the mathematic aspect of quilting. A lot of figuring out how things fit.”