Patchworks of Art

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Carrie Schulstad shows off one of the many intricate quilts currently filling the back room of her store, The Uncommon Gift.

Quilters, knitters and crocheters from all over the area and as far away as New York will be bursting into Camas Friday to show off their artistic works.

The first Camas Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival will take place Friday, from 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., in downtown Camas.

The festival began as a First Friday idea, but the Downtown Camas Association quickly decided to extend the event for an extra day because of the interest it was generating.

“It’s about celebrating the art and talent and getting people connected that way,” Schulstad said.

Quilts will be hung up all through downtown, indoors and outdoors, she said.

At least a dozen downtown businesses have volunteered to open their doors to the festival and hang the pieces inside their shops.

Not only completed quilts and pieces will be shown. Works in progress and unfinished pieces will also be on display.

“It’s more of a showcase of the craft and the art,” Schulstad said. “It’s not just the finished project.”

River Quilts and Craft Warehouse are sponsoring the event.

Craft Warehouse will have a booth set up offering activities for kids and selling yarn and other products. The company has agreed to donate 20 percent of its profits on those two days back to downtown Camas.

Workshops and various charity projects incorporating fiber arts will be available to the public.

Master knitters, crocheters, quilters and others will set up at Journey Community Church, located on Fourth Avenue and Birch Street, for a “Yarn-In.” People will be able to knit together, get advice from experts and watch demonstrations.

River Quilts, 337 N.E. Fourth Ave., will display a “trunk show” by Elinor Peace Bailey, a doll-maker, which will showcase her work and process. Some of her patterns will be available for sale.

The Vancouver/Portland chapter of Project Linus, an organization that makes blankets for ill or traumatized children, will have a station at the festival where people can design a quilt square. Different fabrics will be available for anyone to arrange, then volunteers will sew the pieces together.

Organizers are hoping to have enough squares for several quilts by the end of the festival.

The squares will be made into quilts that will be donated to local children in hospitals or foster homes, said Chapter Coordinator Jodene Cook.

“I get to see firsthand the difference a blanket can make to a child,” she said.

The Linus Project will be set up from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, inside River Quilts.

Kids and adults alike will have the opportunity to practice their stitching on cat beds at the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society’s booth.

And in case the day gets cold, don’t worry, Wooly Wooly Wag Tails Yarn will be operating a circular sock machine. Visitors can buy a skein of locally-made yarn and order socks to be made by volunteers.

The Washougal yarn shop will also have weavers, knitters and spinners on hand to conduct demonstrations and answer questions.

The organizers hope the festival will become an annual event that grows in size each year. Already, many reports of distant visitors are rolling in.

One 91-year-old woman, who heard about the festival from her daughter, is traveling from New York to see the display of quilts and fiber arts.

“It’s bringing people together,” Schulstad said.