Quilting - Is it a hobby or a business? Members of the Cabin Fever Quilt Guild know that it means much more than either of these. Not only are their quilts made for family and home, but they are also meant to be a means of giving back to the community.

Quilting - Is it a hobby or a business? Members of the Cabin Fever Quilt Guild know that it means much more than either of these. Not only are their quilts made for family and home, but they are also meant to be a means of giving back to the community. 

Over the years more than 300 quilts have been given to organizations and individuals in the Lake of the Ozarks area and beyond. But, this is much more than a number. What goes into making one quilt donations? Most quilters agree that, besides the cost of materials, it is their time that is most important. By working together as a group, members are able to accomplish every element of the process and are able to present a beautiful quilt to the community. 

Home sewing machines have long been the staple of quilt making; today’s modern domestic machines are often computerized and capable of many functions not available in the past. Members create the pieced or appliquéd quilt tops in sections, and then sew it all together. 

The guild is fortunate to have longarm quilters as willing members who will finish the quilting process on their machines. These machines can cost between $10,000 to $50,000 dollars. This investment is often offset by this becoming a serious business as well as a hobby. 

According to Linda O’Connor, a quilter and member of the guild,  “for a queen size quilt, a simple custom design might take 25-35 hours; but a complex pattern can take well over 100 hours.”  

Every longarmer has their own technique. Some hand guide the machine for free motion work, while others may use computerized designs; or they may use a combination of both, said Mary Jo Streeter. 

Quilts are not only time consuming but the costs can quickly add up.  Commercially, adding up the cost of materials - $200 and up for fabric and notions, and labor - 70 hours, figuring $10 an hour costing $700, would easily total $900 or more for a bed sized quilt. 

By pooling their resources and time, members of the guild raise money through boutique sales at their biennial quilt show, and a small guild membership fee. Labor is always donated for the quilt projects. 

Some of the quilts have gone to military veterans via the organization, “Quilts of Valor.” This national foundation states as its mission, “... to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.” 

Longarm quilter, Gail Compton, says,” ‘Quilts of Valor’ is very special to me because I am a veteran. In addition to creating and supplying the quilting work, I enjoy meeting the veteran recipients and conducting the presentation ceremony for them.” 

Guild members meet twice a month on the first and third Thursdays to learn new techniques, to share personal quilts, and to work on charity quilts and other projects.

 “I couldn’t wait to retire and join this wonderful group of creative, giving quilters. The combined knowledge will keep me learning for years,” guild member Karen Cleary said.  

In addition to the Quilts of Valor program, donations have been made to Share the Harvest, LAMB House, Windsor Estates, Child Advocacy Council, CADV, Breast Cancer Survivors, Burn-out victims, Linn Creek Baptist Church, Veterans Hospital Skilled Nursing, Hurricane Sandy victims, Joplin tornado victims and Central Missouri Foster Care Adoption Association. The Guild keeps extra quilts on hand to give to organizations (like for a raffle) or to needy persons in the community. 

For more information, please contact Sandy Triplett, 573-345-0103, or by email : striplett3@yahoo.com. Quilts made by members of the Guild as well as the charity quilts on hand can also be seen at this year’s Quilt Show, Saturday, October 12, at the Camdenton Community Christian Church.