August 20, 2003 | By: Aimee D. Heald

What do friendship stars, snail’s tails and Dutchman’s puzzles have in common? They are all names of popular quilt block styles used at a recent quilt camp in Kenton County.

Katie and Austin Page have been sewing for about a year. Both recently decided to take their skills a step further and learn how to quilt at the weeklong day camp.

Katie, 15 and Austin, 9 are both home schooled in Independence, Ky. and active in 4-H. If there is any sibling rivalry it was not apparent as they both created quilt blocks of the same design, just using different fabric.

“The learning experience is fun and so is meeting new friends,” Katie said. “When you make something yourself, you just feel good when it turns out right.”

Kenton County Cooperative Extension Agent for 4-H/Youth Development Mary S. Averbeck organized the second annual quilt camp. She said it’s been a hit and they’ll probably offer one each August.

“Many of the youth have never quilted before and some have never even sewn,” she said. “One of the things children need in growing up is to learn mastery of different kinds of skills.”

Averbeck said sewing particularly is good to master since it teaches hand-eye coordination, machine technology, following directions and spatial aptitude. It is a very good practical skill to have, she added.

At camp, each participant made either a four-block or six-block quilt. Each one also crafted one block for a group 4-H quilt to be used in raising funds for 4-H volunteers.

“The group quilt is a community service project that we will donate to the Kentucky Volunteer Forum,” Averbeck said. “4-H is a volunteer-driven program and it costs a lot to bring 750 volunteers together. The quilt will be auctioned at the forum to help raise those funds.”

Two volunteers helped with the quilt camp. They put together the designs and examples prior to camp and then stayed to help the campers in any way possible. Former schoolteacher Sue Hutchison and avid quilter Kitty Nagy were resident volunteers at quilt camp.

“When they first come in the sewing machines go 90 miles an hour and seams go from a half-inch to 6 inches,” Hutchison said. “But then you see them progress to something they can enter in a style show. It’s very gratifying. I taught school for a long time and I do miss the children; this is a way I can give back to them.”

All the fabric and supplies were provided for the participants and they attended free of charge. Averbeck said Extension is very supportive of these kinds of activities that teach 4-Hers skills they can use for life.

“Quilting is something that can develop into a life-long hobby and a very enjoyable activity,” she said. “Many people say it’s a great stress reliever. For these kids I think it creates a great sense of pride and accomplishment when they finish a quilt.” 

Quilts from the camp are on display at the Kentucky State Fair in Cloverville, the 4-H “village” in the West Wing.


Writer: Aimee D. Heald 859-257-4736, ext. 267
Source: Mary S. Averback 859-356-3155