Unlike many who wonder what they will do with their time after retirement from a lifetime career, Judy Hasch of Ruskin planned all that early.
“I started learning to quilt about five years before I retired from Verizon,” Hasch said July 15. Prior to working at Verizon, she said she had also worked for GTE.
As retirement time approached, Hasch looked into many things she had been curious about but never had time to pursue.
“I really liked the idea of creating something beautiful and lasting,” she said.
After exploring many things, she chose to learn to quilt.
Now, ten years later, she shares her knowledge with quilting groups as an instructor and sometimes friend-to-friend, and one of her works was recently accepted into an international competition.
“When I made my bucket list awhile back, one of the things on it was to enter an international competition,” she said. “I began competitively two years ago. The first time I entered, I was rejected. But I was accepted later that same year.”
Earlier this year she entered her quilt, “Sailing with Mary,” in an international competition to be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan Aug. 14-17.
The day after she was interviewed for this story, she put the quilt in the mail. “The quilts all have to be there early so they can prepare the displays,” she explained.
Coincidentally, Hasch is originally from Michigan and is looking forward to revisiting her childhood home.
She and her husband Robert moved to Ruskin from Michigan in 1982.
When they first arrived, she continued to work full time.
“After I retired though, most of my friends were still working so I had to find new friends,” she said. Since she had already read the book Make a Quilt in a Weekend, and started quilting, she said it was natural to form her new friendships around quilting groups.
According to Bonnie Browning, executive director of the American Quilters Show and competition that is being hosted by the American Quilters Society, 328 entries from around the country have been chosen based on photographs sent in and judged earlier this year. “There are also entries from six other countries,” Browning said.
There are five categories, with five overall awards. Winners will be announced Aug. 14 during the show.
Cash awards totaling more than $44,000 will be earned, with prizes including $10,000 for Best of Show and $5,000 each in three categories: handmade; made by machine; and a technique called Longarm/Midarm workmanship, Browning added.
The show is expected to draw more than 2,000 people.
Quilt artists employ a wide range of techniques and design methods ranging from traditional designs to original painted and embellished motifs.
Hasch has sewed for as long as she can remember, which has helped her have a steady hand in designing and placing hand-made appliqués. Each panel of her entry quilt is hand-sewed.
She calls this quilt “Sailing with Mary” for two reasons: the style of the quilt is called a “Baltimore Album” and at the time of the Revolutionary War there were ships around the Baltimore area that looked like the sailing ship in her quilt. The “Mary” part of the name comes from the fact that the other blocks in the quilt are copies of a quilt made by Mary Simon that hangs in the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum in Washington, DC.
She entered the quilt into the Quilter’s Choice category because of size requirements and the fact that she had made the entire quilt, including the appliqués and sashing, by hand.
Her home is filled with other quilts and wall hangings she has made.
At this time she belongs to a neighborhood group of about 50 women who meet at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 1239 Del Webb Blvd. W., Sun City Center, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Friday of each month.
“People may come and go any time during those hours,” she explained. Men are welcome at any of the association’s groups, and she says she has seen men at other sewing and quilting groups, but not the one she currently attends.
To find out more about the quilters, visit www.americanquilter.com or drop in at St. Andrew’s on a Friday during sewing and quilting hours.