By Patricia Belyea
MOLSON WA One mile south of Canada, in the Okanogan Highlands, sits Molson — a town of 35 residents with no stores, gas stations, or other consumer ventures. But, if you come on the last Saturday of August, you can buy a quilt at the Molson Quilt Show!
A full-production quilt show in such a remote place is amazing. Even more astonishing is the quilt group, Highland Stitchers — with only TWELVE members— who put on the event.
For the 2023 Show, the Molson Grange was packed with over 100 quilts by members (many for sale) plus over 70 donation quilts waiting to be given away.
When I entered, I met Connie. At her table, raffle tickets for two quilts were offered. The drawing was at 3pm — the close of the one-day show.
The first quilt I saw was by Joanie— an embellished Dresden Plate — that won the 2023 Washington State Grange “Best of Show.” The centers were made from worn-out embroidered pillowcases. Joanie tatted the lace rings in the center of each set of 20 colorful blades.
Vicky related that she joined Highland Stitchers 13 years ago. The following year the group put on its first Molson Quilt Show. Now the Show is a mark-your-calendar event for the region.
George, a retired firefighter, only makes quilts out of red, white, and blue fabric. All of his quilts are donated to veterans through the Quilts of Valor program.
One of Judy’s many quilts was made with a stallion panel — a fitting motif for the range land all around.
Lisa talked with me about her free-motion long-arm stitching on this quilt she made. (Four other Highland Stitchers also own long-arm stitching machines!)
Renee joined the group a year and a half ago. She drives 55 minutes from Tonasket every Wednesday to participate in the weekly sew-in at the Grange, where members work on charity quilts.
Kay showed me the huge collection of charity quilts that Highland Stitchers produced this year.
Nothing was missing at this show!
The Flea Market at the end of the hall, with notions and fabrics for pennies, lured me with a set of darning eggs. Sharon donated the eggs which originally belonged to her grandmother.
For the hourly door prize drawing, everyone stepped on a number and waited to see if their number was pulled.
There were grab bags of fabric and a silent auction with baskets of goodies.
Of course, there was food at the Show. In the morning, three Highland Stitchers — Lynda, Nancy, and Willie, doled out muffins and brownies, under a display of Nancy’s vintage aprons. Starting at 11am, lunch was served.
Vendors—inside and out—plyed their wares. Sheryl Cook (R), the owner of BrewStitched in nearby Oroville, brought fabrics from her online shop. Lynda Hagy of Euphrata sold her sweet homemade baskets.
At one table sat two members of the Havillah Relief Quilt Sowers. This group of FOUR has made 164 charity quilts in the last year. Their good works have been sent to people in needy places around the globe via Lutheran World Relief!
I finished visiting with the phenomenally generous and talented Highland Stitchers, and headed for home. During my one-hour drive, I was still in awe of what I’d just experienced — a wonderful quilt show in such an unexpected place.
A Perfect Plan for SAT August 31, 2024
Morning — Attend the Molson Quilt Show at the Grange and stay for lunch.
Early Afternoon — Tootle around the Molson Museum in the old schoolhouse across the street, with three floors of historic exhibits.
Mid-Afternoon — Wander through Old Molson Ghost Town with its pioneer buildings and antique equipment.
See you there!
Donate to Havillah Relief Quilt Sowers
If you have some fabric that you want to move along, please mail it to:
Havillah Relief Quilt Sowers
1608 Havillah Road
Tonasket WA 98855
A Final Delight
In the Women’s bathroom at the Molson Grange, Joanie put up a display of her thimble and tatting shuttle collection.
# # # # #
ABOUT US: Okan Arts, a petite family business, is co-owned by mother-daughter duo Patricia Belyea and Victoria Stone. Patricia and Victoria sell Japanese textiles online, host creative quilting experiences, and lead quilting & textile tours to Japan.
FOLLOW OKAN ARTS ON INSTAGRAM @okanarts