Friends & Neighbors: Marshall citizen makes quilt for Bob James Jazz Fest
Norma Jeane Ferguson, a retired teacher who taught in Sweet Springs, keeps herself busy engaging in two activities she still enjoys: music and quilting.
Ferguson is a member of the Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra with her husband, Charles, and a member of the Country Patchwork Quilt Guild that meets for the second Tuesday of each month (except June) at Cumberland Church.
Ferguson said her quilt guild makes a quilt every year as a fundraiser for their annual quilt show held in September. She said she decided to do the same for this year's fourth annual Bob James Jazz Festival.
"It combines the two things I really enjoy which is music and quilting. I thought, well, I can make it as a fundraiser and sell raffle tickets," Ferguson said. "... That was the idea that started it. So I just made the quilt myself. I got the pattern out of a book. I actually called the publishers to let them know I was doing it and got the okay, no problem there."
The quilt is 79 by 98 inches, a queen size, and uses an Eleanor Burns pattern from her "Quilt in a Day" books, specifically "Irish Chain in a Day." Ferguson's friend, Beth Chase, collaborated by doing the quilting and they both used music motifs such as eighth notes, quarter notes and a treble clef. Ferguson said there are three layers in quilting: the top, back and the layer in between. The quilting, or stitching, is what holds the quilt together, which Chase completed.
Ferguson also called Henry Somero, Bob James' personal and professional manager, to get approval for turning the quilt into a fundraiser.
"She sent pictures of it and it was absolutely, incredibly beautiful," Somero said. "Of course, Mr. James is willing to do anything to help out his hometown Marshall, Mo. He is thrilled with the way it turned out and he's very excited also for the 2014 Bob James Jazz Festival."
To give the quilt a little something extra, Ferguson decided to put a nice finishing touch to it.
"I sent the label to Bob James and he autographed it and then I put that on the back of the quilt," Ferguson said. "So I can actually advertise it as a autographed Bob James quilt."
Ferguson said she has been involved with the festival since its inception about four years ago. Her husband Charles was asked to serve on the board of the Marshall Cultural Council because he's a music teacher and also conducts for the Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra.
"He was always busy and couldn't go to the meetings so he would send me as his proxy," Ferguson said. "So I was always going to the meetings and finally I said, 'I might as well be involved if I'm going to always be at the meetings and I really enjoyed it."
This year's Bob James Jazz Festival is on Friday, May 16, and Saturday, May 17. Ferguson said she'd like to raise a $1,000 with the quilt, but has only managed to raise about $400 so far.
"With the bad weather, some of the concerts around recently have been canceled," Ferguson said, about events where she would try to sell raffle tickets. "I'm going to be taking it to Kansas City to the Gem Theater, I guess, in April."
A raffle ticket can be purchased for $1 or six raffle tickets for $5. Bob James himself will announce the winner at the Saturday, May 17, concert at Bueker Middle School. Participants don't need to be present to win the quilt.
Contact Jesse Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org