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Peace retires from quilting

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Magnolia woman learned process as 8 year old

By Angela Rutledge

Ever wish you could get paid to fish or to shop? There’s just something special about getting paid to do things you love.

Although now retiring as a quilt maker, 84-year-old Geneva Peace of Magnolia has been familiar with that feeling for the last 76 years.

It all started when she was only 8. Peace tells the story like this: “Back then, there was a lady in Hodgenville, Mrs. McGill, who was known to be very particular about how a quilt should be. A group of us was at her house one day. She went to the outhouse and I picked up some material and started piecing it. When she got back, she complimented me on my work and said I could come back tomorrow to do some more. That really encouraged me at such a young age. So, I’ve been quilting ever since.”

Peace has been designing and making quilts to order as a pastime and a career.

“I enjoy quilting because it’s relaxing and it’s good therapy,” she said. “If something’s on my mind, I sit and quilt and I feel better.”

Peace said quilting is not only therapy for the soul but for the body too.

“I don’t quilt on Sunday and by Monday morning, my hands are really stiff until I get to quilting again.”

Peace set her charges depending on the amount of time it took to complete the project. She charged about $650 for a queen-sized quilt; a quilt with a flower garden design which has smaller pieces is about $1,200. A full size quilt takes about six weeks to complete, and if it’s a complicated design like the flower garden – 12 weeks.

Peace said she could make a pillow or a place mat in about a day’s time. The highest profit Peace received from a single quilt was $1,400 for a queen double wedding ring quilt sold at St. James Art Fair in 1996. In addition to traditional quilts, Peace has made table spreads, doilies, Christmas tree skirts, dresser spreads, purses and even skirts.

“I’m most proud of the enjoyment that my quilts bring to other people,” she said.

Peace’s quilts have been sold and displayed in New York, Washington, D.C., Tennessee, Indiana, Switzerland and Brazil. One red and blue quilt was featured in Today’s Women as an artistic addition to Sue Rosen’s house in New York. In 2004, one of Peace’s quilts was displayed in the office of the Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao, in Washington, D.C.

In 1984, Geneva Peace and her sisters formed a quilting group called The Piece Makers. The group originally had seven sisters and now the last three have decided to retire.

Peace said she decided to retire “because my eyes are getting bad and I can’t quite make those short stitches like I used to.”

“Quilting will continue to be enjoyed because they’ll be young people taking classes and learning about it,” she said.

Peace has passed her passion of quilting to her granddaughter, Angela Thompson of Munfordville.

As far as her future in quilting, Peace still will be doing some quilts for herself and her family but she’ll no longer take orders for quilting projects. She still has some of her quilts for sale at surrounding businesses in Shakertown, Berea and The Lincoln Museum.