When the last of her six children went off to college nearly 25 years ago, Stasia Hubert of Alpena felt the need for a new outlet to fill her time.
Her proficiency at sewing took her in a seemingly natural direction she began taking instructions on how to quilt and quickly became addicted.
Now, despite having made and given away more than 50 quilts to her extended family over the last two dozen years, Hubert still has an array of at least 65 in her possession. These quilts of every hue, pattern and size are currently on display in a new exhibit at the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan.
News Photos by Diane Speer
This is just a small portion of the many quilts created by Stasia Hubert of Alpena over the last 24 years. An exhibit of her work is on display at the Besser Museum through October.
""I've always been good with a needle. It's a gift from God," Hubert said. "I always made all my kids' clothes. When there was no longer a need for that anymore, I had all this time and I needed an outlet."
At the time, she and her husband lived on a farm in Hillman, and so she got involved with a quilting group in Atlanta called the Thunder Bay Quilters. The group's founder, Jane Duvall, became her quilting tutor. She offered a series of six classes for $30 that covered the basics such as hand-piecing and hand-quilting.
For many years, Hubert stuck with the hand-piecing technique though eventually she branched out to machine-piecing.
"I stuck to hand-quilting though," Hubert said. "It is very therapeutic. If you have any problems, you can just pick up a needle and you can usually work them out."
Now 82 years of age and residing in Alpena, Hubert opted not to get involved in the local Alpena area quilt guild because the group meets at night. However, she has started her own small guild that meets every Monday during the day at her home. The group of six is affectionately known as the Tightly Woven Material Girls.
She has tried her hand at many different quilting techniques and has taught a number of classes, including at the Besser Museum, Art in the Loft and Alpena Community College.
Nearly all of her quilts on display have a story attached to them, Hubert said. There is one she made almost in its entirety while her husband was hospitalized. Another she remembers as her "depression" quilt that was done at a low point in her life.
Another brightly colored quilt was put on halt when Hubert fell and broke three fingers. She wondered at the time if she would ever be able to quilt again. That quilt did eventually get finished and she has since made many more.
Hubert's family has expanded over time. Her six children have produced 16 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. For each child born, she has made a baby quilt.
"They all have quilts," Hubert said. "In some instances, I've been doing this long enough that some of them also have graduation quilts."
She also has created a "Christmas tree" quilt for each of her six kids. She said she told them that way, wherever they go in life they will always have a Christmas tree to hang.
One of Hubert's fondest memories is the three weeks she spent quilting on the Caribbean islands of Saba and Statia (called Statia by the locals but officially known as St. Eustatius). She had always wanted to travel there because the one island's name is pronounced the same as her first name.
""I felt very blessed by God to have been able to go there," Hubert said. "I went totally alone for three weeks and did quilting there."
This marks Hubert's first solo exhibit, though her work has previously been included in other quilting exhibits. The exhibit will remain on display at the museum through October.
A reception to honor Hubert and other current exhibitors is planned for Aug. 20.