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2013 Quilter of the Year

Press Release: 2013 Quilter of the Year
March 2013

The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail announces the selection of Mrs. Verla Warther as the 2013 Oconee County Quilter of the Year. This award recognizes a local quilter who provides leadership and community service through their quilting.

Mrs. Warther grew up and went to school in San Jose, California. She became a teacher of children with special needs and met her husband, William, there through a computer dating service. This was long before the Internet!

They spent 31 years in California, raised a son and then moved to Silverton, Oregon, a small farming community. She taught math for 27 years there. In 1998, upon retiring from teaching, they moved to Tamassee, SC. Between Verla and William, they have four children, nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren living in Ohio and Oregon. Verla is overjoyed that several of the women in the family are becoming quilters.

She was always a seamstress, having learned from her mother, making everything from children’s clothing to Civil War uniforms and dresses, even toys. When her mother-in-law died in 2002, she inherited many hand pieced quilt blocks that had been made by Mary Elizabeth Muelhoffer, her husband’s great-grandmother. She visited Heirlooms and Comfort, a local quilt shop in Central, for advice on how to clean, assemble then eventually create 3 different quilts from the pieces. She was hooked!

A quilting neighbor invited her to join the Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild here in Seneca and that’s where she learned her quilting techniques. Her interest in the history of quilting has led her to doing presentations in local schools and at Guild meetings. She’s served on the Guild’s Comfort Quilt Committee and their Program Committee, as well as taught classes for the Guild at their annual Retreat.

Verla’s twin sister, Laura, is also an accomplished quilter. “In 2005, we took a self-guided tour of New Zealand with our husbands. Laura and I visited many quilt shops and found it to be a wonderful way of getting to know the people of the country - a fellow quilter is never a stranger. Laura comes every fall and joins me in attending the Retreat offered by the State Guild. It gives us quality quilting time together.”

When asked what kinds of quilts she likes to make, Verla told us, “I’m a traditionalist. I prefer doing piecing and appliqué by hand – it’s where I find peace, a form of therapy. I do have an appreciation for those who have made quilting a fiber art form, but that’s not where my talent lies. One must enjoy the type of quilting they get involved in. Someday, I would like to become as accomplished a quilter as my fellow guild members, especially people like Marge Edie and Dixie Haywood.”

“Quilting can lead you up many paths. Through an announcement at a Guild meeting, I heard about the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. I decided to check it out and now I’m an active member of the production team. I help with the drawing and painting of quilt patterns on specially prepared boards, which are then mounted on both public and private buildings. It’s a nice art form for our community, a reason to bring tourists as well as other quilters to the area.”

Verla has made many contributions to Oconee County through her volunteer efforts with Keep Oconee Beautiful School Program; Tamassee DAR School special programs; Lake and Mountain Quilters Guild making charity quilts for donation through the Guild programs and the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail production team and school program. She is always willing to help in way she can.

The public is invited to a reception for Verla to be held at the Historic Ballenger House 212 E.S. 3rd St. Seneca on April 14, 2013 from 2:00 pm till 4:00 pm. Verla's one-woman show, opening at the reception through April 21. Viewings by appointment call Arlene Manley, Seneca Woman's Club President at 864-882-2825.

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