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JOIN THE CLUB: Bluebonnet Quilt Club; Airing of the Quilts April 27

Micki Douglas (left), Janet Anderson, and Julie Griser

Micki Douglas (left), Janet Anderson, and Julie Griser in Douglas and Griser’s quilting room in Burnet. The three are in the Bluebonnet Quilt Club of Kingsland, which is looking for new members. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

A pioneer tradition makes its debut in April with the Airing of the Quilts, an outdoor quilt show hosted by the Bluebonnet Quilt Club of Kingsland — new members welcome! 

The show is April 27 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in a tent outside of Kingsland House of Arts and Crafts, 112 W. Chamberlain St. Vendors include a scissor and knife sharpener and booths with gifts, fabrics, and quilts for sale. 

The Airing of the Quilts is a modern take on a 200-year-old practice of displaying and freshening quilts in the open air after a winter wrapped around bodies in wood fire-warmed homes.

“Those old quilt fabrics were not as strong as the fabrics we use now, so they couldn’t wash them over and over,” said Janet Anderson, a quilt club member who lives on Park Road 4 between Marble Falls and Burnet. “A soft spring breeze was a good way to air them. A lot more gentle.” 

The Airing of the Quilts is the club’s first quilt show since the 2020 pandemic and its first outdoor biennial show. Hanging members’ handiwork on clotheslines and fences is an old-fashioned rite of spring.

Everyone is welcome to the free event, especially those who might be interested in joining the club, whether man or woman, traditional or modern quilter, or someone who just wants to sew with friends. 

“For a lot of people, when you say ‘quilt,’ they think of something you put on a bed,” said David Griser, who runs a long arm, or quilting machine, for wife Julie Griser and her sister, Micki Douglas, all of Burnet. “They do a lot more crafty-type things, too, like table runners and bags. Quilting is more than just making things for the bed.” 

Tote bags, potholders, and lap quilts are favorites among the group of about 25 members, many of whom also belong to the much bigger Highland Lakes Quilt Guild. They also make Quilts of Valor to donate to veterans. 

The act and art of quilting brings them together and builds community. 

“It’s socialization, it’s very social,” Douglas said. “Especially on our Sew Chatty fabric buying trips.” 

Club members get together to visit one of the many quilting stores that are about an hour’s drive from Burnet County. They have lunch and then shop, helping each other pick out and match fabrics for a variety of projects. 

“It’s fun,” Douglas continued. “It’s helping us spend each other’s money.” 

Although they call themselves quilters, they are actually “piecers.” Quilting is defined as stitching together three or more layers of fabric to make a practical household item. Modern quilting is mostly done on long-arm machines like the one David Griser operates in his wife’s large, colorful sewing room. 

“Men and their power tools,” Julie Griser joked. “Just tell them it’s a bigger power tool.” 

Piecing is sewing together the cutout shapes to form the design of a quilt. The back is usually one piece of fabric that complements the piecework front. All of that is done by machine. Only appliqué pieces are still sewn by hand, except for those quilts made by true traditionalists. Quilt shows usually put hand-stitched quilts in a special category. 

Fabrics are another new twist. Pioneer women meeting for a quilting bee all worked together on one quilt at a time, usually made with fabric remnants and pieces of old clothes. Today’s quilters, or piecers, have a variety of sturdy fabrics to choose from, including batiks with bold, modern colors and patterns and reproduction fabrics from the Civil War and the 1930s. You can even find fabrics based on the flour sack designs used in the 1800s when women would make hand towels and clothes from the emptied bags. 

Quilt club members tote their sewing machines to retreats along with bags of fabrics and sewing notions. They work in one room together on their individual projects, exchanging best practices and fabrics, sharing ironing boards and threads, and talking.

“It gets you out of your room and chatting with other people,” Douglas said. “You get a lot of work done together and it’s fun.” 

“And you don’t just talk about quilting,” Anderson said. 

“We solve world problems,” Julie Griser piped in. “ALL the world’s problems.” 


Meets at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month at the Kingsland Branch Library, 125 W. Polk St. During most months, workshops are scheduled for the following Saturday, also in the library, where members learn new techniques and participate in quilt block exchanges and sewing circles. 

HOW TO JOIN: Anyone interested in joining should just come to a meeting. The first two meetings are free. Membership fees are $20 a year, a low price that includes all the workshops. 


Meets at 9:30 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at First Methodist Church, 1101 Bluebonnet Drive in Marble Falls. Membership application forms can be found online at Annual dues are $30 a year. Workshops usually cost an additional fee.