Woodworker finds marital bliss in a quilt stitch


MOLSON – The Sixth Annual Molson Quilt Show and Sale, held last Saturday at the Molson Grange Hall, featured 64 quilts made over the year by the Highland Stitchers, and eight vendors selling everything from fabric to finished quilts and handmade baskets, cards and books.

Fifty-eight local vendors generously donated items for the silent auction, grouped into baskets valuing around $100 each. A random drawing done as a thank-you for sponsors picked Oroville’s Hometown Pizza and Rustic Roots Salon of Tonasket as winners of quilts made by the Highland Stitchers.

Judy Bunch and friends with the Lutheran Church of Havillah were present, inviting others to join in their efforts of making quilts for Care Net and others donated to local auctions.

“You don’t need to know how to sew,” said Bunch, “there are other tasks like ironing, cutting fabric, pinning and tying quilts.”

The group meets from January through the end of March at the Havillah Church on Wednesdays from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

A dozen members of the Osoyoos Quilt Guild were also in attendance, including Joyce Callison of Oroville modeling a jacket she made from fabric scraps accumulated by the quilters. Callison attended school in Molson.

Tedi Fletcher was back with her latest books about her handmade dolls.

“The ideas just come out of nowhere,” said Fletcher, adding, “The dolls are meant to be played with, not sitting on a shelf somewhere.”

Fletcher’s dolls not only deliver joy to little ones, but bring peace of mind to their creator.

“If I get upset with politics or stuff I read on the Internet, I can sit down to work on my dolls and just be in LaLa land,” said Fletcher. “Life is too short. We need to fill our lives with color and fun.”

Filling his life with color and fun came as a surprise to Curt Erickson of Dry Gulch. Erickson retired a year ago from Tonasket School District’s maintenance department, expecting to fill his days with woodworking projects. When his wife Judy purchased a 12’ x 3’ quilting table and discovered it to be too large for the house, she put it in her husband’s woodshop, and Curt soon found himself sitting down at the sewing machine.

“I did it out of self-defense,” said Curt. “It costs a lot to have someone do this, and my wife does a lot of quilting, so now I stitch them together.”

Photos by Katie Teachout Intricate patterns are  hand-drawn by Curt Ericson, then used to stitch together quilts created by his wife, Judy.
Photos by Katie Teachout
Intricate patterns are
hand-drawn by Curt Ericson, then used to stitch together quilts created by his wife, Judy.

Curt does far more than stitch the quilt together with a simple stitch. First he hand-draws a pattern or variety of patterns, then transfers them to tracing paper so the patterns can be machine-stitched onto the quilt. The couple are left with exquisite quilts that have beautiful tops pieced together by Judy, with intricate patterns of stitching by Curt visible on the back sides of the quilts. Some of the quilts feature the stitching on the fronts, including the “Fishing Quilt” with Eagles soaring in the sky and peering into waters abundant with fish.

“I used a wandering foot for that stitching, to represent fishing line,” said Curt, who included a few fish patterns stitched in as well.

“I’m especially proud of my wife on that one,” said Curt. “She came up with the pattern on her own.”

Reflecting back on the past year, Curt said, “I had intended to build another woodshop, but between retirement and the cost of wood, and discovering how much I enjoy this, the woodshop is not happening. I gave all my tools to my son, so I know where they are and can borrow them free of charge. This turned out to be a hobby I really enjoy. I used to be a cabinet maker and woodworker, so I guess the creativity just pulled through. If you had asked me a year or two ago if I would be selling or quilting, I would have said ‘no.’ But this is something my wife and I enjoy doing together.”

The Fishing Quilt, created by Judy and Curt Erickson
The Fishing Quilt, created by Judy and Curt Erickson

Several people inquired about purchasing the Fishing Quilt, but it already belongs to Curt and Judy’s grandson.

“We are about quilted out, giving to family, so maybe we can start selling some,” said Curt, laughing as he pointed to an intricately stitched quilt with horses on it. “We gave the horse quilt to our oldest daughter on the Fourth of July, but we told her, ‘You can’t keep it yet, it’s going with us to the Molson Quilt Show.’”

The Fishing Quilt, created by Judy and Curt Erickson