HERMON – Anne Freeman of Hermon and Sherrill Libby of Levant have a good thing going. The sisters get together once a week to quilt. The fruits of their labor this spring resulted in a king-size quilt in shades of rose that will be raffled to benefit Ecotat Gardens in Hermon.
“We have a lot of fun and I really enjoy quilting with my sister,” Libby said. “We learn a lot and we produce a lot.”
“I’m continually surprised at what we produce,” Freeman said.
The women quilt in Freeman’s workroom, which is dominated by a free-arm machine used to stitch a pattern through the three layers.
A cutting table takes up one corner of the daylight basement room. An ironing station is conveniently set near Freeman’s Viking Designer II sewing machine. A large glass jar of buttons sits on a shelf. Another sewing machine, a Kenmore, occupies a table beside a large cabinet that holds part of what Freeman is passionate about – batik print fabrics.
“I started quilting because I had grandchildren,” Libby said. “Everyone seems to appreciate my quilts. When I gave my great-grandson the quilt I made for him, he spread it on the floor and lay down on it.”
Freeman, who spent much of her life in the company of horses, made costumes for horse shows, outfits that often included beaded designs. She recalled a log cabin quilt she cut out 25 years ago and never finished.
“I finished it,” her sister Libby said, laughing. Laughter appears to be one of the ingredients that make quilting a pleasant event for the sisters.
Freeman has been making quilts about four years.
“I love fabric,” she said. “I buy it where I can get it.” She pulled out a stack of iridescent squares she purchased at an online auction company, silk pieces she’s thinking about using in a Victorian crazy quilt. But her favorite place to buy fabric is Marden’s in Brewer.
Last year the sisters made a quilt that was raffled to benefit the Levant Heritage Library. More than $2,000 was realized from the raffle.
“We were very pleased with the results,” said Libby, who also has a sewing room in her home. Her favorite place to buy fabric is the Quilted Cabin in Orland.
“This year we wanted to do something for the town [of Hermon],” Freeman said. She chose Ecotat Gardens to benefit from their quilting.
The sisters shared the tasks of cutting and assembling the quilt for Ecotat Gardens. Freeman did most of the cutting on a special device that will cut as many as six layers of fabric.
They both stitched pieces together. Libby finished the quilt edges with hand sewing, and the body of the quilt was stitched with the long-arm quilting machine. The sisters worked on the quilt one day a week, March through May.
“I never thought I’d be doing this,” Freeman said of making quilts.
Libby is a longtime member of the Bangor Area Sewing Guild’s Brewer Stitchers. She has worked on many quilting-for-charity projects, including the Linus Project, which provides handmade blankets for children undergoing a life crisis. Each month she works with friends on a variety of sewing projects, such as mending or quilting small items.
Freeman is a member of the newly formed Maine Machine Quilters, for those using sewing machines as a home business. She also belongs to a private group, Quilting Divas.
The sisters are quick to offer advice to those who sew, or aspire to:
“Have a good seam ripper handy,” Libby said, a broad smile on her face.
“Never buy less than 3 yards of any fabric,” Freeman said jokingly – but not really joking.
Their current project is a memory quilt they are making for their brother. In shades of blue, turquoise, white and black, the quilt features old family photographs that have been scanned and printed on some of the quilt pieces.
“We never run out of ideas,” Libby said.
Raffle tickets for the quilt for Ecotat Gardens are available at United Kingfield Bank in Hermon, where the quilt is on display. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5. Tickets will be mailed to all Hermon residents in October in hopes they will purchase tickets. The drawing will take place on Nov. 9 at United Kingfield Bank. For information about the raffle, call Gaynor Reynolds at 848-5946 or Wendy Hurlburt, 848-5753.