Catherine’s Quilting offers modern finish for age-old art form

Date Published: 
Jan. 20, 2017

Coastal Point photos • Tyler Valliant: Catherine Peterson grins at her family's new Selbyville quilt shop, where she helps finish new quilts and restore old ones.Coastal Point photos • Tyler Valliant: Catherine Peterson grins at her family's new Selbyville quilt shop, where she helps finish new quilts and restore old ones.Quilting may be an old art, but Catherine’s Quilting uses technology to transform the basic craft into a finished heirloom piece. Catherine and Tim Peterson just recently opened their quilt shop on Church Street in downtown Selbyville.

Quilting can be a very personal craft, whether it’s a long-term labor of love by a group of friends, or maybe one woman, perhaps given for a wedding or baby gift. Whether hand-stitched in centuries past, or by a machine today, each scrap is carefully pieced together for a grander masterpiece.

Catherine’s Quilting helps with the final steps, attaching the thick batting, which transforms a decorative sheet into a cozy blanket for the home.

“I make it easy for you. Not only is it efficient to do, my turnaround is usually less than a month,” Catherine Peterson said. “I know, some places, it’s a six-month turnaround. I wouldn’t want my quilt gone for that long. I try really hard to do it really fast.”

Standard sewing machines can’t easily handle much more than a lap blanket or baby quilt, but Catherine’s Quilting can handle large-scale projects.

“Doing that at home is really hard on a home machine. There’s not enough space. Trying to fit all that fabric under there is hard,” Peterson said. “Usually people bring in twin, king, queen… because those are the larger ones that you can’t do at home.”

Customers can choose from about 100 styles of stitching, from simple swirls to complex feathers and flowers.

“Most people want a fairly simplified but elegant pattern” based on their quilt design, Peterson said. “We talk about what they want to show off, what they want to bring out. You want it to complement it and show the strengths of the piece. … I’m there to complement them.”

The professional finishing touch lets customers enjoy more detail, so they can put “a little more heart into it,” she said.

Catherine’s Quilting uses an Innova longarm quilting system.

“It’s a computerized machine that runs with robotics,” but Peterson still threads the needle and bobbin herself. The machine automatically sews a complete row before Peterson positions it at the next block. It automatically knows when a thread breaks or stitch skips.

She stitches the final binding by hand.

Peterson said she always enjoyed sewing but was inspired by her own mother (a quilting guild founder) and quilting shows with hands-on demonstrations.

Peterson has quilted for more than 20 years, including professionally for the past six years from her home, as Cladagh Quilting. This is her first freestanding storefront.

After decades as an electronics shop, the Church Street property re-opened as the Petersons’ quilt shop in December.

“It’s been a fantastic experience,” Peterson said. “Everybody that comes — people just come in to say hello — they’ve just been so friendly. The town has been so wonderful. It’s been a really, really good experience. I’m glad I jumped into it.”

On a Clarksville farm, the Petersons are raising their own boys, some chickens, donkeys and a herd of Shetland sheep (a heritage breed whose wool Catherine Peterson hopes to someday use for yarn). The Selbyville shop opened with help from the whole family.

Of why she loves quilting, Peterson said, “It’s my therapy. … I’m also a nurse. I’ve been in critical care, ICU, for over 26 years now … and I find myself coming back to this, as I need to slow down and re-focus.”

Her goal is to retire from nursing to do quilting full-time.

Prices begin around 1.5 cents per square inch, or higher, based on complexity. People can bring their own backing or buy some there.

She also creates T-shirt quilts with the special-event shirts people collect, from local high school athletes to Harley Davidson bikers.

For the “do-it-yourself” crowd, people can rent a second longarm quilting machine — a freehand machine, allowing people to make their own designs.

“Some people want to do it themselves. They say ‘I want to say I made this quilt completely,’ but they don’t have room at home,” Peterson said. “They come in and rent it.”

Other services include repair and restoration of vintage/antique quilts.

“It stabilizes them and makes them usable again,” Peterson said.

She’s also an Innova machine retailer, for Delmarva’s diehard quilters.

The shop is open Sunday through Tuesday by appointment; Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Customers can use the municipal parking at Selbyville Town Hall.

Catherine’s Quilting is located at 64 W. Church Street, Selbyville. For more information, call (302) 524-8378 or email CathsQuilting@gmail.com. The business is online at Facebook and www.CathsQuilting.com.