Patterns of patriotism

On the most patriotic day of Newton’s year, Patricia Gabriel and members of the Catawba County Republican Women’s Club were proudly showing their colors.

“We need to revive and instill patriotism locally and for our country,” Gabriel said at the group’s Court Square tent during Reunion Day on Thursday.

And she hopes her contributions to the club’s fund-raising efforts will do just that, as well as support other worthy causes.

A professional quilter, Gabriel designed and produced a red, white and blue quilt that features a colorful star pattern and a centerpiece spotlighting “Old Glory” and the nation’s founding fathers. On the reverse, the quilt features a pattern with writing declaring club’s the political philosophy — Republican.

“In addition to other activities with quilting — teaching, competing, designing — I like to donate quilts to organizations for fund-raising,” she said. “I designed this patriotic quilt for the Republican Women’s Club.”

Throughout Reunion Day and on several other occasions during coming months, the club sold raffle tickets to hopeful quilt winners.

“Proceeds from the raffle go to the USO, the Catawba County Food Bank and the Catawba County Christmas Bureau,” she said.

The club’s fund-raising chair, Kay Hoffman said that as the organization supports the Christmas Bureau, it targets its support for boys ages 13-16.

“That is the group that gets the least amount contributed every year,” Hoffman said. “We encourage all employed people in Catawba County to help the Christmas Bureau.”

In downtown Newton, the club sold several hundred tickets, Hoffman said, and plans to sell tickets at other upcoming events, such as Murray’s Mill Harvest Folk Festival, Hickory Oktoberfest and the Apple Festival in Taylorsville. Tickets are $2 and a book of sic is $5, she said. Raffle tickets will also be available at the state Republican Convention.

The quilt will be given away in November 2012, just before the next presidential election, Gabriel said.

“I enjoy every aspect of quilting, from the selecting the fabric, the cutting and the sewing,” she said, adding she has been quilting since 1988. “I got started when my son found a quilt top at a local landfill, and I promised him that when he got married I would make him a wedding quilt. That was in 1983.”

She has been quilting ever since, she said, adding it is hard to estimate how long she spent working on the Republican Woman’s Club’s patriotic quilt.

“I work on so many things at the same time, I go back and forth from one to another,” she said, adding she also selects and buys her own fabric, so much that her “studio looks like a fabric store.”

Some of the most patriotic swatches from that studio have been crafted into a beautiful symbol, ,perfect for display on Newton;s own unique celebration of soldiers.

“It is a very heartfelt experience to be at the center of Newton, by the old courthouse, joined by thousands of Americans who are celebrating freedom and giving heartfelt thanks to the men and women of our Armed Forces who have sacrificed so much to preserve our freedom.”