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Women quilters to piece together new ideas at 4-day retreat near Bryce

They call it a "quilt retreat," but perhaps it could just as aptly be called "quilt advance."

Utah women, who have always been renowned for their expertise in quiltmaking, are joining women from Nevada, Arizona and Idaho Wednesday at Ruby's Inn near the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park for four days of workshops.Quiltmaking is becoming increasingly popular and is no longer considered just a pastime for elderly women, according to Bonnie Miles, organizer of the event.

She said it is capturing the imagination of women of all ages. "Younger women are finding quiltmaking to be an exciting and satisfying new skill to learn. They are learning to work with interesting new fabrics, designs and techniques."

Traditional quiltmaking has been expanded to include multifaceted patterns, methods and fabrics that are constantly becoming more creative and unique. Amish quilts will be displayed as a highlight to the Quilt Retreat to be presented by Katie Stoltzfus and Emma Fisher of Lancaster County, Pa.

A $15 fee will be charged for three-hour workshops Thursday and Friday. A "Meet the Teacher" presentation will be open to the public Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

Marva Dalebout of St. George will be a featured speaker Friday evening. The well-known quilter has taught nationwide and has displayed her quilts in international shows and in art galleries at Park City and Phoenix.

Miles said a group called Bryce Country Quilters is active in Garfield County and has about 30 members. She may be contacted for more information about the Quilt Retreat and other quilting activities by calling 1-435-679-8716.