Quilting bug bites Carla Offenburger – see her quilts at upcoming show

Among the quilts Carla Offenburger will display are "Comfort" (left) and "Christmas" (right)
Among the quilts Carla Offenburger will display are “Comfort” (left) and  a Christmas quilt

~by Denise O’Brien Van

Carla Offenburger, Greene County Medical Center’s director of community relations, organized three quilt show fundraisers for the hospital before she caught the quilting bug.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would become a quilter,” Offenburger says.

But she has become a needlewoman, and will display four quilts at the Greene County Quilt Show, Aug. 5 – 7 at the Greene County Fairgrounds.

Offenburger organized and managed large shows for the hospital, in 2006, 2008 and 2010. This year, she’s one of nearly a hundred quilters who will exhibit their handiwork.

She says she’s excited about resurrecting a great community event, one that she’ll enjoy as a participant.

“I’m not an experienced quilter,” Offenburger says, recalling when the quilting bug bit her in 2013.

She was riding RAGBRAI (the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) with her husband Chuck Offenburger, an avid and well-known cyclist, when she decided she’d had it with the heat and the wind near Lake City, and decided to cool off in a quilt shop.

“I’m going to take up quilting,” she told her husband…”and get a ride home.”

Three years later, she’s completed six quilts, and every RAGBRAI week, she works on a quilt while her husband pedals across the state.

This year, she’s working on a quilt made of RAGBRAI T-shirts.

Quilting has become an all-consuming hobby for her, Offenburger says. “I’m an insecure quilter, but I’m finally learning mathematics. Quilting humbles me, and I need that.”

One of her four entries in the show is a Christmas quilt that she sewed at a retreat organized by Suzanne Sievers, owner of the Stitch in Jefferson and coordinator of the quilt show. Offenburger finished the lap quilt/wall hanging in fall 2015, when she was recovering from a recurrence of cancer.

“I thought it was so beautiful that I couldn’t have it only in my house, so it’s spending future holidays in my family’s homes, beginning with my mom Sue Burt’s house in Des Moines for Christmas 2016. From there, it will go to the next oldest family member…to my aunt, then to my sister and eventually to my youngest granddaughter.”

Offenburger’s Christmas quilt, and hundreds of others, will be displayed at the Aug. 5-7 show at the Greene County Quilt Show Greene County Fairgrounds in Jefferson. The show is sponsored by the Greene County Chamber of Commerce and the Greene County Fair Association in collaboration with the Stitch.

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