What would you do if you were asked to be the featured quilter at the Independence Piece Makers 34th annual  Labor Day weekend quilt show and discovered you were plumb out of quilts?

What would you do if you were asked to be the featured quilter at the Independence Piece Makers 34th annual  Labor Day weekend quilt show and discovered you were plumb out of quilts?

That was Nancy Kluth’s recent dilemma.

With the exception of a king-size Deer quilt she made 17 years ago for Earnest –  her husband of 58 years – Nancy’s  blanket supply was depleted.

 “ I don’t have anymore,” the 75-year-old Independence quilter remembers responding when she was nominated for the prestigious honor. “I have given them all away.”

 Was this reason enough for the ecstatic nominee to throw in the proverbial towel and miss out on the accolades that come with the Piece Maker’s highest tribute?

Not on your life!

Knowing that most of her quilts were in the hands of  many family members, Nancy contacted a number of relatives asking if they would loan her the quilt she had made for them to be displayed at the three-day quilt show – Sept. 3 through 5 – at the Roger T. Sermon Community Center, Truman and Noland roads, Independence.

“So, I had a recall,” Nancy chuckles. “Some from Utah, some from California and some from Colorado.”

The successful recall netted “12 to 14” quilts of various sizes, she recalls. More than enough to show off her quilting skills. More than enough to put her in the spotlight – a light she thought would never be shining on her or her quilts.

Nancy, who is recovering from an illness that has affected her memory, says being selected as the featured quilter was an “astounding” experience.

“It never entered my mind that I would get it,” she says, her quiet voice filled with emotion. “The girls that get that nomination are wonderful quilters, and I didn’t consider myself that good.”

But her peers did.

“They say I am a gifted quilter. It was very humbling.”

Nancy’s passion for quilting may never have surfaced had it not been for her great-grandchildren. When the first of her 23 grandbabies came along, she wanted to give them something by which to remember her and Earnest.

“I don’t remember my grandparents, let alone my great-grandparents,” she quips. “I never met them.”

So as not to let that happen to her great- grandchildren, she decided in 2000 to make baby blankets for them.

“The grandbabies started coming left and right,” she recalls laughing, “so I had to learn (quilting techniques) more quickly.

Up until the time she started quilting for her great- grandbabies, Nancy ‘s only attempt at quilting was the Deer quilt she made seven years earlier for her husband.

The inspiration for making the Deer quilt, she says, came from a “Double Wedding Ring” quilt that her crippled mother-in-law had hand-sewed  years earlier.

Though Nancy was an excellent seamstress, she had never tried quilting. She admired “Mom Kluth’s” quilt, she says,  because “every single stitch” was done by hand.

“She had (the quilt) right before her (to examine). She could look at it. She could study it. She could talk about it,” Earnest interjects, adding he believes it was his mother’s quilt that inspired Nancy.

“That’s what kind of gave her the idea that if (my) mother could (make a quilt), she could do it, too,” he says of his wife, who retired from the Jackson County Mapping Department in 2000.

Yearning to learn more about quilting following her retirement, Nancy took quilt-making lessons  from two separate teachers and became infatuated with her new-found love. Nancy recalls the first project that one of her classes worked on was a Log Cabin quilt, which she says is her very favorite quilt design. It was in this class that Nancy became excited about quilting and convinced herself that she could quilt and could complete the Log Cabin project.

 She proved herself right.

 Wanting to know how experienced people quilted, Nancy was introduced to the Piece Makers in 2002 by one of her instructors, who informed her the club was comprised of all kinds of quilters  – all in different stages of quilt-making – who could assist her.

“And, if you have any questions, you can come back to me,” her quilting instructor advised her.

But she never did. The Piece Makers seemed to have all the answers.

Nancy, who has five children and 20 grandchildren, will be in the gymnasium during all three days of the show to greet visitors and answer their questions.

All quilters are invited  participate in the popular show by bringing their quilts and other quilted apparel to the gym from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, says Alta Short, the club’s spokesperson. There is no entry fee.

Without the support of the community, the Piece Makers could not put on a show of this magnitude without the support of the community, she says, explaining club members don’t have enough quilts available to display.

If past years are an indicator, “We’ll probably have about 200 items on display, including small quilts,” Alta says.

Participating in the show is easy. Quilters will receive a form to fill out including the number of their quilt, name of the quilt, owner of the quilt and when it was made. Quilts can be picked up after 4 p.m. Labor Day. Quilts not claimed Monday will be locked in the Sermon Center office and can be claimed the next day.

The show is free to the public; however, a bowl will placed in the foyer for donations to help defray expenses. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.

Visitors are invited to patronize the 10 vendors at the show selling quilting-related products, quilted jackets and homemade jewelry.

 The Piece Makers meets from 9:30 a.m. to around noon on Tuesdays on the third floor of the Sermon Center. All quilters or would-be quilters are invited to attend. There are no dues.

Call Alta at 816-257-5588 for more information.