Gadsden County is known for many things, not the least of which is the quality of its citizens.
There is a plethora of those willing to work for the betterment of their community without a lot of attention.
One such person is Wendy Adams, a modest local quilter who likes to remain in the background, but donates 30 or more quilts to the annual Havana Quilt Festival each year.
Nesta Cumbie, chairperson of the design committee for the event, says, “Wendy is the major influence and donor for the show, which is a very successful fundraiser for Main Street Havana.”
Wendy and her husband Nick have lived in Shady Rest since1992 on a beautifully landscaped 13-acre plot with its own quilting building. They are presently downsizing and building a new home at Lake Tallavanna, but there will still be plenty of space for quilting.
Wendy has one stepdaughter and best friend, Leslie, and two grandchildren.
QUESTION: How did you get interested in quilting?
ANSWER: “I actually was working with stained glass. I was a member of the Havana Garden Club and there were eight or nine members who were sewing and making things. This got me excited. I became interested in making quilts I took it up in 2012 and quickly realized I had to choose the stained glass or the quilting. I couldn’t do both. I chose quilting.”
QUESTION: How did you learn the art of quilting?
ANSWER: “I bought a basic quilting book and a sewing machine. I began collecting fabric. For the first 2 years, I stitched quilt tops on that machine and then had to hire someone else to do the quilting on a longarm quilting machine, which is a giant sewing machine. This was costly and I decided to purchase my own longarm machine. I am not an old-fashioned quilter, who does intricate hand stitching. I am a modern quilter whose machine has a computer which can quilt all by itself when set up. Once quilted, a binder has to be put on the quilt. I have a friend who does binding so we barter. I do her quilting on my machine and she does my bindings. I love working with her.”
QUESTION: How did you get hooked up with Havana Main Street and the Quilt show?
ANSWER: “Actually, I’d donated 15 -20 quilts as a fundraiser for the Garden Club. I talked to Tony Lombardo, then executive director of Havana Mainstreet, and to Nesta Cumbie. I’ve long been interested in having a quilt shop in Havana. As we talked, we came up with the idea of a quilt show as a fundraiser. I donated 52 quilts that first year and I think we netted about $4,500. We raffle off one quilt every year. We have quilts for sale on the railing outside of Wanderings and more than 20 PVC quilt frames showcasing quilts around the town. We also display quilts in the shops. Quilts that aren’t for sale are also displayed aren’t for sale, which can give additional ideas to quilters for designs and techniques. These quilts can be turned in at Wanderings the day before the show.”
QUESTION: How long does it take to make a quilt? Mathematically it seems you would have to make 2 ½ quilts a month to have 30 each year,
ANSWER: “Sometimes I make two-quilts in one week. It depends on the size. I also subscribe to a service where you get a block a month. When that comes, you do that part of the quilt and then put it away until the next block comes. Big complicated quilts may take three months. This year I’m doing a lot of large quilts so there may be fewer but bigger quilts on display.”
QUESTION: Do you have time for any other activities with all this quilting?
ANSWER: “Not so much this year, with building a new home and moving but I do keep busy. I love gardening, working with stained glass, cooking, traveling, and fishing with my husband. I also play cards with three friends once a week. We have so much fun.”
QUESTION: Do you become attached to your quilts so it’s hard to let them go?
ANSWER: “No, not at all. I love when I know where they end up. It feels good to price them so anyone can afford a handmade quilt. I take no money at all for doing this and that feels really good. I also make quilts of valor for veterans through Big Bend Hospice and that is a special service that I feel honored to be able to do. Quilting offers so much. It can be done by every ethnic or socioeconomic group not just here but all over the world. For some people, it can be a business. For me, I like to call it therapy. I’m lucky to have it as part of my life.”
Story by Judy Conlin – firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Ashley Hunter – email@example.com