Fabric stash, Yukimura’s presence

Nine months of work. At least 100 volunteers. Thousands of stitches.

The hours poured into 40 quilts currently hanging at Lihu‘e Christian Church are hidden in the details, waiting to be noticed.

But in and among the fabrics, colors, patterns and designs, there’s a bigger story.

Saturday’s quilt sale honors the memory of Julie Yukimura, the event’s longtime organizer who died last November.

In her absence, numerous quilters and quilt clubs have come together to keep Yukimura’s labor of love alive. The response was so overwhelming — dozens from the North Shore Quilters, Kalaheo Missionary Sewing Group and Kaua‘i Quilt Guild lent their skills — that the number of quilts created for the sale doubled this year over last.

And all were made using Yukimura’s “personal stash” of fabrics, said Diana Oyakawa, co-chair of the church’s quilt and crafts committee.

Yukimura was the owner of fabric store Kapaia Stitchery, which celebrated 35 years on April 1. Between work at the shop and volunteering for the church, there was never enough time to sew for her own enjoyment.

“She was acquiring fabrics to make quilts for when she retired,” said brother Paul Yukimura, who now runs the Stitchery with sister Lisa Jeffery. “She never got a chance to retire.”

That’s where the quilting community comes in.

More than 300 yards of her favorite materials have taken shape and now adorn the walls of the church sanctuary.

One of the largest quilts on display features purple- and blue-hued tiles — a kind of fabric mosaic — begun by Yukimura and finished by friends.

Lauren Brennan said her classmate would be amazed and appreciative to see the completed work, recalling how Yukimura would stay up all night preparing for the bazaar.

“It was another avenue to reach people, another way to give to the community,” Brennan said of Yukimura’s passion for fabric, sewing and needlework.

Also a quilter, Brennan’s love of fabrics and the camaraderie of sewing with others draws her to the craft.

“We’re all fabric addicts,” she said.

Asked why quilts have such sentimental value, Brennan said it’s about knowing who made them and the effort expended.

A reception tonight at the church will bring together the quilters and the Yukimura family prior to the sale.

Stopping in to see the display in its entirety for the first time yesterday, Paul Yukimura was taken aback by the beauty and the talent showcased at the church.

“She would be so happy and proud; she wouldn’t know what to say,” he said.

Want to go?

• What: Bazaar featuring handmade quilts, rugs, bags and pot holders; there will also be plant and bake sales.

• Where: Lihu‘e Christian Church, 2943 Kress St.

• When: Saturday, from 9 a.m.

• More info: Call 245-2348.

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