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Column #29

Anchorage Log Cabin Quilters

"Aura Dance" by Deb Hardman. Photo courtesy of Deb Hardman.


"Mountains and Anchorage" by Marie Fujimura. Photo courtesy of Deb Hardman.


Anchorage Log Cabin Quilters member Kay Fiero displays her quilt, "Up a Creek Without a Paddle.” Photo courtesy of Deb Hardman.

People who live in places that do not have long, dark winters or lots of gloomy, overcast days may not realize that there is a recognized health disorder that can negatively influence those who do not get enough sunshine.

It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder—or SAD for short. Many refer to it simply as “the winter blues.” In older times, hospitals included a sunroom or solarium so that folks could alleviate their depression with a “light bath.” In this more mobile day and age, those from Northern climes often flee to sunny areas during cold months for a dose of heliotherapy (Helios was what the Greeks called their sun god).

A group of quilters in Anchorage, Alaska, however, have found their own brand of healing. “We don’t suffer from SAD,” says Pat Schroder, spokeswoman for the Anchorage Log Cabin Quilters. “We quilt. That’s our light!”

The Anchorage Log Cabin Quilters formed in 1979. Its original membership of 42 has grown to almost 200, drawing not only from the city of Anchorage proper, but also from surrounding communities. The group has both daytime and evening meetings, invites outside speakers for lectures and workshops, sponsors a quilt retreat for members, and holds an annual quilt show.

As is true for many quilt guilds, the Anchorage group participates in a number of community service projects. For the past seven years, they’ve held a Teddy Bear Tea, at which doll-sized quilts are paired with donated teddy bears (and “teddy bear wannabes” i.e., other plush animals) and given to various children’s service agencies.

One of the Anchorage Log Cabin Quilters’ most popular projects is called “Comfort Quilts.” These are bed-sized quilts that are given to a variety of community agencies. They can be tied or quilted by hand or longarm, as some of the group’s longarming members use the quilts to perfect their skills with the machines. Some of the quilts are made from recycled projects, donated fabrics, or unwanted tops. Nothing goes to waste. To raise money for supplies for the Comfort Quilt project, a silent auction of 2’ x 2’ quilts made especially for the purpose is held each year during the group’s quilt show.

As befits the U.S.’s largest and northernmost state, certain “Alaskana” themes are especially popular with the guild’s quilters. “Moose,” laughs Pat. “We see a lot of moose in our quilts. And also fish, mountains, and fireweed!” Designers have responded to state pride and tourist demand by producing a series of Alaska-specific fabric designs, which can be purchased at three local quilt shops: Seams Like Home Quilt Shoppe, Quilt Tree, and The Quilted Raven.

“Being from Alaska sort of makes you an instant celebrity when you travel to the Lower 48,” says Pat. “But we’re no different from quilters any place else. Any place you go that there are quilters, you have an instant family. It’s like we all have a secret handshake.”


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Archived blogs:

Column 149: Rosie’s Redwork
Column 148: The Quilt of Belonging
Column 147: Kanthas—The Quilts of Bangladesh
Column 146: Patterns
Column 145: Suzy on Carolyn Mazloomi's Groundbreaking Quilt Exhibit
Column 144: Texas Community Marks Juneteenth Sesquicentennial with History Quilts
Column 143: Maya Embroidered Patchwork
Column 142: Huipil Patchwork Quilts
Column 141: Tom Korn’s Military Medal Quilts
Column 140: The Return of Double Knits!
Column 139: Passage Quilts
Column 138: Home of the Brave Quilts
Column 137: The Story of Fabric Yo-Yos
Column 136: Christmas in July
Column 135: Trifles
Column 134: Deaf Initiatives—Communicating Through Quilts
Column 133: My Betty Boop Quilt
Column 132: Maura Grace Ambrose
Column 131: All You Need Is Love
Column 130: Chicken Linens
Column 129: The Quilted Chuppah
Column 128: Patchwork Around the World: Yoruba Dance Costumes
Column 127: The Bowers Co-Op Quilts
Column 126: Fon Appliqué and Haitian Voodoo Flags
Column 125: The Quilt Garden at The North Carolina Arboretum
Column 124: Harriet Powers and Handful’s Mauma
Column 123: Quilters de Mexico
Column 122: An Appliquéd Surprise
Column 121: Matisse’s Fabric Stash
Column 120: Soogan—The Cowboy’s Quilt
Column 119: The Ron Swanson Quilt
Column 118: HClarkdale, Georgia—A Thread of History
Column 117: How WWI Changed the Color of Quilts in the United States
Column 116: Wagga—The Bushman’s Quilt
Column 115: All in the Family
Column 114: The Alabama State Quilt
Column 113: Balloon Quilts of Albuquerque
Column 112: The Family That Quilts Together, Stays Together
Column 111: Two Rivers, Three Sisters
Column 110: Quilters Helping Quilters
Column 109: Community Cookbooks and Fundraiser Quilts—Parallel Histories
Column 108: Quilting to Freedom
Column 107: National Quilting Day
Column 106: The Airing of the Quilts
Column 105: A Call for a National Juneteenth Commemorative Quilt
Column 104: Dominoes
Column 103: 1936 Texas Centennial Bluebonnet Quilt
Column 102: Helen Blackstone, A Texas Quilter
Column 101: Montana CattleWomen Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 100: 100th Suzy's Fancy Column!
Column 99: Montana Stockgrowers Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 98: The Tobacco Sack Connection
Column 97: Meet the Sisters Who Are State Fair Quilting Queens
Column 96: The connection between fairs and quilts.
Column 95: Her Mother Pieced Quilts
Column 94: Rebecca Barker’s Quiltscapes
Column 93: The Thread and Thimble Club Mystery

See other archived columns here


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