“Happy Trails” by Catherine DuCharme, received $1,500 from Sponsor, Fiberworks Inc.
What do you do if you’re a quilter who has attended Road to California many, many times and have always admired seeing the winning quilts on display? Well, if you’re Catherine DuCharme, you set out to make your own winning quilt!!! Not only did she achieve her goal, she tripled her expectations as she was recognized for three winning quilts at Road 2019!!!
Ever since her late 20’s, Catherine has admired quilts. She went on a trip to Canada and came upon a quilt shop where she commissioned two quilts that were hand quilted by a Canadian woman who was in her 90s. As the years went by, Catherine said that she “yearned for a time in my life when I could try my hand at making a quilt.”
That time didn’t come until she was 54 years old when she found that she “had a little extra time and I decided to make a quilt for my Mom’s 75th birthday. I bought a book and some fabric and dove in! I had no idea what I was doing and I was so frustrated at first. My Mom had made a log cabin quilt, so she had some experience. She was sure that we could make the quilt, so we worked on it together and voila! It came together! After that, I had a little more confidence so I made a log cabin all by myself. That began my journey into quilting and I’ve been quilting almost every day since 2011.”
Catherine says that she “absolutely” loves quilting. Why does she love it so much? “The craft is so varied with the multitude of techniques and approaches to the art that I find myself continually engaged. I’ve made embroidery designs, crazy quilt blocks, pieced quilts, and appliqué. I think my favorite is appliqué and I love the Baltimore style quilts.”
The first of her winning designs was for Best Applique at Road 2019, Happy Trails. What inspired this winning design? “When I first saw Happy Trails designed by Pearl P. Pereira of P3 Designs, I fell in love. It is so different than anything I’d seen before. Years ago, when I was a novice quilter, I had tried to make one of Pearl’s quilts and it was just too difficult for me; it was beyond my skill level. But, I was determined to make Happy Trails. So I took my time, I gathered my tools, and I worked patiently. I also attended a retreat in Carlsbad, CA to learn Pearl’s Off the Block technique for appliqué. That really helped me to practice the technique for preparing turned edges on very small pieces. After I completed the quilt top, Diane Beauchamp quilted it. She is truly an artist and I love the quilting designs she used. For both of us, Happy Trails has been a labor of love.”
It took Catherine 6 months to collect all the fabrics for Happy Trails. She said that it was “a lot of fun” to choose her fabrics. She began stitching the quilt in February 2018 and it took another six months to finish it. She used a Silhouette cutting machine to cut all the freezer paper templates which “really helped a lot!”
What does Catherine plane to do with her prize money for Best Applique at Road 2019? It will “go towards my quilting passion! I have at least 15 quilt tops hanging in my closet that need to be quilted, so I will use the prize money to pay for some of them to be quilted.”