Columbia quilters donate time and money to give back

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COLUMBIA – Just like a handcrafted quilt, there are many threads tying together members of a Columbia quilting group. They include a commitment to the community and a devotion to the industry.

The Heart of Missouri Quilters Guild (HOMQ) meets monthly to share quilting ideas and to plan projects to donate whatever creations they may have to greater causes.

“We just like to help the community and it’s a social thing for everybody to get together and support each other,” said guild member Christy Gray.

Gray said the group participates in a variety of projects. In one instance, members donated blankets to the Rainbow House Emergency shelter. Another project, called Quilts of Valor, awarded quilts to veterans.

Guild members include business owners in the quilting industry, including Gray, who fashions quilts for other people.

To help other business owners in quilting industry enhance their business, HOMQ held its first quilt and vendor show in late April.

Marilyn Wine, owner of Quilts 4 U in Columbia, was one of the 16 vendors.

“They say it takes about three years to really make a profit in the business,” Wine said. “And every year, for the three years, my sales have increased. So I feel more confident now that I can continue on.”

Wine is looking to expand her business.

“We’re trying to attract new people, young quilters to get started and continue the tradition of quilting,” she said.

Even if some businesses do not make a large profit, there is plenty of room for buyers to support the industry.

“It can be an expensive hobby,” said HOMQ member Sharon Lawler.

Buying threads, sewing machines and different types of fabrics can all add up. One of the top-of-the-line machines at the quilt show was priced at about $7,000 - and that was a discounted price for the show. Special tools to help cut and measure fabric pieces ran around $25.

Even though a lot of money can be spent on making quilts, the HOMQ members said they value sharing their creations with the community.

Lawler said says she hopes HOMQ will be able to put on another quilt show to share the new quilt members will  create next year.