“You need to quilt! You need to quilt!

“You need to quilt! You need to quilt!

Carolyn McCafferty remembers that challenge from her niece, Marilyn Francis, an excellent quilter and co-owner of a fabric store in Lathrop, Mo.

With “You need to quilt” resounding in her ears, the Blue Springs resident decided to put down her embroidery and crochet needles and take up quilting – on one condition: That Marilyn teach her how to quilt and how to use her long-arm quilting machine.

Marilyn taught her well. So well, in fact, that Carolyn will be in the spotlight as the featured quilter at the 22nd annual Calico Cut-Ups Quilt Show, Feb. 12 and 13, at The Salvation Army Independence Corps Center, 14700 E. Truman Road. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

A member of the Calico Cut-Ups since 2004, Carolyn was “quite honored” her peers bestowed the coveted honor upon her.

“I felt very fortunate that they thought that much of my quilting (to select me) because I’ve only been quilting approximately 10 years at the most.”

Carolyn can only guess why she was selected.

“I guess they liked my quilting,” she quips with a hearty laugh. Her guess was correct.

“She is an excellent quilter for no longer than she has been quilting and she does beautiful work,” says Millie Hohimer, a longtime Calico quilter and spokesperson for the Independence quilting club. “Her color coordinations are excellent and she is just an all-around good-quality quilter.”

Every quilter remembers that “first quilt,” and Carolyn is no exception. Because of its simplicity, she  selected a Log Cabin pattern, which she completed, she believes,  “probably in three months, if that long.”

Was she pleased with her first attempt at quilting?

“Yes, I was pleased when I finished it,” Carolyn says  of the quilt, which she says is “presentable, useable and doesn’t look that bad.”

However, its workmanship doesn’t stand up today to Carolyn’s quilts.

“I do more handwork today. I like to do a lot of appliqué and embroidery work,” Carolyn says, explaining she likes to keep her hands busy when  sitting, other than when she’s at the sewing machine.

During the past 10 years, Carolyn has kept busy making approximately 50 machine-made quilts as gifts for family members.

Her favorite time to quilt is  before daybreak when most of her neighbors are asleep.

“I get up early and quilt,” she says,  because quilting gives her something to do when she can’t sleep at night. “I have lots of sleepless nights and it keeps my mind occupied.”

Unlike many quilters who work on two or more quilts at a time, Carolyn just can’t do that. As a rule, she works on one quilt at a time. Seldom does she tackle two projects at a time.

“I like to start something, but I like to finish the project before I go onto another (one).  I want to complete what I started. I’ve got to get it done,” she laughingly explains.

Perhaps that’s why she spends hours and hours each day quilting in her sewing room. Sometimes she’s there all day. Other times she quilts way into the night.

But if possible, “I try to get a little quilting in every day,” she says, explaining she takes her portable sewing machine with her when she goes to Lathrop to visit her niece.

Carolyn is anxiously awaiting the upcoming quilt show because  she’ll be displaying her first-ever hand-sewn quilt, Greater Gifts.

Completed last year, the 72-by-72-inch appliquéd twin-size quilt has a large green border. Inside the border, such critters as a frog, bumble bee, dragonfly, butterfly, grasshopper, lady bug and snail are attracted to a variety of beautiful flowers in earth tone colors.

Of the eight quilts in Carolyn’s exhibit, California Nights is her favorite. A  large pastel-colored star is the focal point on the king-size quilt. Around the star are appliquéd flowers and birds that give the appearance they are flying around the star.

This year’s quilt show, featuring some 100 various-size quilts, wallhangings and tablerunners, is being presented free of charge at The Salvation Army Corps Center on Truman Road. Ample parking is available.

The weekend show offers 10 vendors selling quilting-related articles, as well as the following demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days:

Hand piecing and hints, waxing thread, Crazy quilt sweatshirts, half-square triangles from fabric grid, English paper piecing, color theory, disappearing 9-patch and  Crayola painting.

The show also features a display of baby blankets  club members have made for distribution to three Independence organizations – The Salvation Army, Sunshine Center and Hope House.

Attendees are eligible to purchase tickets for an Opportunity Quilt and for numerous baskets filled with quilting-related items. Tickets are available at the door.

For more information about the quilt show or the Calico Cut-Ups, call Millie Hohimer, 816-461-1778.

The Cut-Ups meet Wednesdays  at Independence Towers, U.S. 24 and Jennings Road, in eastern Independence.