Originally Published: May 31, 2018 5:55 a.m.
The jackpot of the Mountain Top Quilter Guild’s “Quilts of the High Desert” quilt show this weekend, June 1 and 2, is a hand appliqued, wall-sized quilt, “Fiesta Mexico” that appraises for almost $3,000.
The brilliant colored piece of fabric art that incorporates flowers, a sun, even a greenish lizard, will go home with a lucky show guest for the price of a $1 raffle ticket; 6 tickets for $5. The winner need not be present to win. The raffle ticket will, though, be picked at 3 p.m. on Saturday, one hour before the show at the Prescott Valley Event Center on Main Street closes.
“I wouldn’t mind winning it,” said guild member Joan Carrell, one of 14 guild members who crafted the blocks for the raffle quilt that will be on display throughout the show at that runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $5.
Four local mayors will arrive Friday at 8 a.m. to award the Mayor’s Choice to their favorites from about 300 quilts to be on display throughout the event.
Guild member Sharon Heilman, another of the select quilters on that giveaway project that raises funds the guild uses to promote quilting within the community and guild, said she considers this year’s Opportunity Raffle quilt to be one of the most difficult she has volunteered to do over the years.
“Definitely not for beginners,” said Heilman, the guild’s webmaster, who was taught the love of designing and stitching quilts from her great-grandmother, grandmother and mother when she was six “on an old treadle Singer sewing machine.”
A special touch on this year’s raffle quilt is a back label signed by the pattern designer Karen Kay Buckley who won a Houston International quilt show honor last year for her version of the quilt, Heilman said.
“It makes it just that much more valuable,” Heilman said.
In between buying raffle tickets, show visitors are expected to be enthralled with a number of other exhibits and activities that members assure will be worth the price of admission.
One of Carrrell’s particular favorites – she made one but said its identity must remain a “surprise” until the show – is the Community Quilts Challenge. She and 30 other guild members were given a stack of all the same “cheerful, happy” Mary Engelbreit fabrics for this year’s theme: “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary.” The finished challenge incorporates quilts that range from a traditional Log Cabin version to fanciful, one-of-a-kind designs that Carrell said are certain to put a smile on the faces of the children and adults who receive them. All of these quilts are donated to local community charities.
For those with a competitive edge who might not want to wait for the raffle prize, Heilman and fellow guild members recommend ticket holders check out the 1 p.m. Saturday auction of 50 small quilts donated by members. Friday ticket purchasers can come to the auction at no extra cost.
“It’s fast, and fun, and people really get into that, vigorously,” Heilman said of the auction that can generate from $20 to upwards of a few hundred dollars for some of the offerings. The auctioneers will accept cash, checks and credit cards.
Quilts With a Story is also a favorite as quilters share the stories behind some their treasures– with with unique histories and amusing antecdotes behind these creations, Heilman said.
Guild member Diana Ramsey said this year’s show will include a special exhibit of eight quilts from the Hopi tribe and six nationally honored quilts, including some that have appeared in quilt magazines. Ramsey also teachers a youth quilting program, and participants who never before picked up a needle have some of their artistry on display.
The show will have a boutique of quilted and other handmade crafts as well as at least 19 different vendors. Food will also be available in the lobby.
Guild members assure this show will be a treat for all comers.
“I tell a lot of people I know that even if you’re not a quilter, you should come,” Carrell said, noting the artistry in the exhibit speaks to the “heart and soul” of each and every quilter. “The variety of quilts is amazing. It’s like looking at any artwork. You don’t have to be an artist to go to a museum and appreciate a painting.”