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Inks Lake State Park Hosts Quilting by the Campfire Program for All Levels

Inks Lake State Park host Margie White does a little quilting by the campfire on Thursday, Jan. 18. White hosts the Quilting by the Campfire program for the state park. The next one is 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, at the park, 3630 Park Road 4 West in Hoover’s Valley. You don’t need quilting experience or supplies, just a willingness to try. The program is free to attend with a park entrance fee of $6 for ages 13 and older. Call (512) 793-4689 for more information. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

HOOVER’S VALLEY — Last summer, Margie White was leading one of her Quilting by the Campfire programs at Inks Lake State Park when a man and his two daughters joined the group.

It struck White — not as odd — that a man would sit down and pick up a needle, thread, and material. She learned he was the single father and his daughters wanted to learn to quilt.

“He wanted to learn how to do it so he could help his girls if they had questions or problems back home,” White said.

Quilting stitches together more than pieces of cloth.

White is offering another Quilting by the Campfire program from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, at the state park, 3630 Park Road 4 West. The program is free with a park entrance fee of $6 for ages 13 and older. Those 12 and younger get in free.

You don’t need to supply your own materials or have any experience, but if you already quilt and have a project on which you’re working, feel free to bring it with you.

Inks Lake State Park interpreter Lindsay Pannell explained that while quilting might not sound very “park-like,” it falls within the facility’s cultural programming.

“You’re learning a skill, but you’re also doing something that’s a part of our history,” Pannell said. “Quilting connects us with our history.”

If you’re attending the program, gather at Park Host 1 site (check at the front office for directions) where you’ll find a nice campfire going and White ready with materials and instructions (for those who need it).

White is providing each participant with a gallon bag full of supplies, including scrap materials. From that little bit, they’ll be able to fashion a small pillow, which they can take with them.

“And they’ll have a good indication when they leave if they enjoy quilting,” White added. “It can be expensive to get started (in quilting), but it doesn’t have to be. I just have a bunch of scraps and things.”

Quilting dates to the 16th century when people fashioned tapestries that were hung in castles to reduce the chill as well as for art. The craft continued as people stitched together scraps of materials to create blankets, clothing, and other items of cloth.

The pillow that people will make during the next Quilting by the Campfire is an easy introduction to the craft. White recommends novices start small.

Quilting and sewing are experiencing a resurgence. White has even noticed women in their 20s taking up the art.

Pannell pointed out that quilting teaches youth a skill and allows them to give heartfelt and homemade presents to family and friends. A small handquilted pillow shared as a gift can become an heirloom.

“It’s a keepsake,” Pannell added.

And, as White explained, it doesn’t take a lot of money to quilt, just some scraps of fabric and a few others things. The rest is left to the person’s imagination.

“Quilting is peaceful. It relaxes your mind,” White added. “And, you can do it in a group or by yourself. You can sit around, visit, and share stories as you quilt.”

Or, as the single father last summer discovered: It’s a great way to just spend time with your children.

Go to tpwd.texas.gov or search for Inks Lake State Park on Facebook for program updates and a schedule.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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