Thu, July 18

Quilters Showcase

Photo by Helga Freund

CHERYL BYFIELD, Quail Country Quilters president and co-chair of Memories Made for Then and Now, with Karen Crowder, co-chair and Mary Jardine, publicity chair, in front of Olive’s Tulip Garden raffle quilt. They’re holding the wall hanging, which is the raffle’s second prize.

There’s something about a quilt that holds a special attraction for all of us, evoking comfort, warmth and cherished memories.

Whether dramatically colorful or of subtle tones, traditional or contemporary, breathtakingly beautiful or whimsical, bed covering or wall decoration, a quilt becomes a cherished item in the home to be passed along to future generations.

Memories Made for Then and Now, presented by the Quail Country Quilters April 4-5 at the Clark Memorial Clubhouse, showcases two years of work by guild members.

This outstanding exhibit offers the public the opportunity to view a huge spectrum of quilts and other objects, from traditional large and small-bed quilts, to wall art, wearable items, table runners and dolls.

Whether the pieces are hand or machine stitched, hand or machine appliquéd, constructed of fabric scraps or specially hand-dyed fabrics, the sum total is a visual delight displaying the diverse talents of guild members.

The event’s co-chairs are Cheryl Byfield, also president of Quail Country Quilters, Karen Crowder and Mary Beth Groseta.

They are justifiably proud of the upcoming exhibit and of the organization, which has grown from a handful of founding members 14 years ago, to the largest member of the more than 30 affiliates in the Arizona Quilt Guild. Its current membership of 105 represents every community in the Verde Valley, Sedona, and even Scottsdale.

Their biennial show has grown from a dozen or so quilts back in the early ‘90s to this remarkable presentation, featuring about 150 quilts, two to be raffled off and sure to become treasured items to the lucky winners.

First prize is Olives Tulip Garden, a beautiful hand-sewn 110” x 90” queen-size quilt of soft peach and green on a muslin background. It was started in the 1990s by Olive Cordoza, an early guild member.

When she was unable to complete it, her daughter donated it to Quail Country Quilters, who finished it using hand appliqué and hand quilting. Equally to be coveted is the second prize, a 30” x 30” jewel, a hand-quilted and appliqued wall hanging with colorful entwined flowers on a neutral background.

Monies raised through the exhibit and raffle are used to provide the funds necessary to carry out the charitable work of the Quail Country Quilters, for this group is dedicated as much to community service as it is to its beloved quilting.

Each year, the group provides the Arizona Department of Public Safety with over 50 children’s “comfort” quilts, quilts for the House of Ruth and Northern Arizona Hospice, and every other year donates a quilt to Verde Valley non-profit organizations to be used as fund raisers.

To carry out this leviathan task, guild members have adopted the “Mile-A-Minute” method. Assembly groups of 8 to 10 are formed, which are then divided into piecers, sewers, cutters, ironers and go-fers. Starting with a single fabric scrap, additional color-coded scraps are sewn on until the piece is large enough to be given to the cutter who cuts it into 6-inch squares that are then turned over to the ironer. When enough squares have been sewn to make up the quilt, they’re assembled, pieced together and the actual quilting begins.

According to Mary Jardine, guild member, publicity chairman and art quilter, “Not only is it great fun, but it’s a wonderful way to get to know new people. Groups are formed by drawing numbers, so there’re always new faces in the groups. It’s also a way for everyone to get involved, no matter what their level of skill.”

“Yeah,” jokes Karen Crowder, “Mary’s group was dubbed the over-achievers.”

“Well, the House of Ruth wanted a quilt for every bed, and we just got carried away,” replies Mary.

Apparently it’s easy to get carried away with quilting. Each Quail Country Quilters member has also contributed at least two items for the show’s boutique that will feature a wide variety of hand-crafted goodies for sale. Add to that hourly drawings for exciting “surprise package” door prizes, which, according to Cheryl Byfield, “are so top-secret, the person in charge won’t even tell us, the chairs of the event, what they are.”

And there’s still more to Memories Made for Then and Now – several quilt supply vendors from near and far, including Sedona, Prescott Valley, Palm Springs, California and Nevada will be represented, offering their wares.

In brief, this is one of the biggest and best quilt shows in Arizona — a show not to be missed.

The Quail Country Quilters welcomes visitors and new members, from quilt novice to expert. The guild meets every 2nd and 4th Thursday morning of the month from 9 a.m. to noon at the VFW, 705 E. Aspen Street, Cottonwood.

If You Go…

What: Quilt Show & Sale, door prizes, quilt raffle

Who: Quail Country Quilters

Where: Clarkdale Clubhouse, 19 N. 9th St., Clarkdale

When: April 4-5, Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: Donation, $3 adult, $1 children; under 10 years and over 80 years, free.