By Janet Van Camp

Sagebrush Quilters Guild

“Life without the possibility of parole”, this is how many women respond when asked about their love of quilting. Instead of prison walls, they are happily surrounded by mounds of fabric. Many started this life at a young age and have turned their quilting habit into a life sentence.

Each January a member of the Sage Brush Quilters devises a complex challenge to test the quilter’s imagination and design skills. This year the challenge was based on the “CLUE” board game.

Every member was given a suspect, (Professor Plum, Nurse White, Miss Scarlett, etc.) which set the color for the suspects quilt. Each suspect had a rap sheet that gave additional information on the life events that influenced their criminal behavior. This extra information could also be incorporated into the design of the quilt.

Then each member was provided a location of where the crime took place, such as the patio, kitchen or garage. Finally, the quilter was assigned the murder weapon, which could be a knife, poison, bomb or any of the 23 murder weapons picked at random.

It was up to the individual quilter to create a quilt based on these three clues- suspect, location and weapon. Any quilt pattern could be used. The design was only limited by the quilter’s imagination as to how the murder evidence was used in the quilt.

The Sagebrush Quilters would like to invite the public to come to the WP Middle School gym, and view these stunning quilts. The evidence will be on display at the annual quilt show to be held during Arts in the Park weekend. The show opens 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, July 31st and Saturday, August 1st it continues until 4 p.m., August 2.

It will be at this location that the members of the jury (public viewers) will decide who is guilty of the crime. The jury will have the opportunity to pick their favorite murder quilt, their duty  will be to weight the evidence, decide if the quilt was designed with premeditation (characterized by fully conscious willful intent and a measure of forethought and planning) and if meeting the stipulations, point the finger of justice at the accused (the quilter).

Most quilters know that quilting is truly a crime of passion. The endless purchasing of fabric and patterns has cause many women to take the fifth when asked by their husbands, “don’t you have enough fabric?” There is always a “Gag Order” in place when questions arise as to cost.

The Sagebrush Quilters meet every Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. and every second weekend for “Quilt til You Wilt “at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church. We would like to encourage any youthful offenders and returning culprits to come and join us. For more information, contact Kathy Holthus at 775-296-1876.