Show in Port Townsend to feature quilter who lost all fingers on right hand

PORT TOWNSEND — In an accident in her family’s grocery store, Charlie Petersen lost all five fingers of her right hand.

This was devastating for the woman who was a painter, who sewed her husband’s suits and her children’s clothes, taught sewing and worked at a magazine in Winter Park, Colo.

But Petersen, the featured artist at a show this weekend at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, found another outlet for her fierce creativity.

She’s a quilter, who in the past 15 years has made so many quilts that she’s lost count.

“I’ve given a lot away; my sister must have 20 of them at her house,” said Petersen, who now lives in Port Townsend.

About two dozen other Petersen works are part of the Cabin Fever Quilt Show, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the fairgrounds, 4907 Landes St.

Admission is $4 to the showcase of more than 100 quilts — which also has a country store, vendors, food and free neck and shoulder massages by therapists from Kingston Crossing Wellness Center.

The event is both an art exhibition and a place to shop for goods ranging from used quilt books and patterns to pot holders and “UFOs” — or unfinished objects.

Sometime a quilter starts something — such as a quilt, pillow or tablecloth — and then realizes it’s just not going to be finished, so it’s better going off to a good home where it will be completed, said Cabin Fever Quilt Show organizer Maureen Huff.

Petersen too will be at the show, answering questions, discussing how her quilts came to be and how she dreamed up their unusual names.

The artist also “rescues” vintage quilts, in addition to giving quilting lessons.

“Let’s say you have something that was your mother’s, that’s tattered and torn. I might be able to get it fixed up — or help you make something out of it,” she said.

Petersen, who started sewing at age 11 — taught by a mother who didn’t hover — now opens her studio to visitors. To make an appointment, phone 360-379-8617.

The Cabin Fever Quilters guild, which began with a handful of women in 1977, is now a registered nonprofit that last year made and donated 166 quilts to Hospice of East Jefferson County and to the Port Townsend Children’s Protective Service, Huff noted.

The group welcomes newcomers at its meetings, held at 10 a.m. each Monday at the Tri-Area Community Center, 10 West Valley Road in Chimacum.

The first Monday of every month is devoted to a business meeting; second Mondays are skills-builder sessions, the third Monday is a class to improve and learn skills, and the last meeting of the month is a “sit’n’sew” time to work on projects and share ideas.

For information about the guild, phone 360-385-0441.


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at

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