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Best Hand Quilting at Road 2020

Elsie Campbell won $2,500 for Best Hand Quilting, from Sponsor, World of Quilts Travel, for Summertime

Best Hand Quilting 2020

Elsie Campbell’s Quilting Journey

Elsie Campbell has been sewing all her life. Growing up as a member of a Mennonite community, sewing and quilting was part of the culture. Elsie’s mother recalled giving Elsie a needle and thread and a scrap of cloth in her hands when Elsie was about 1 1/2 years old. Her mother did that to stop Elsie from sitting at her feet and screaming while she did her sewing. Elsie made her first doll quilt at age 7 and started quilting for and by herself in 1989.

A Winning Quilter

The first quilt shows Elsie entered were at County and State Fairs beginning in 1990. She spent 35 years progressing to that so-called ‘next level’ of quilt competition. Elsie feels that she made “a gradual progression” in her quilting skills; skills that took a lot of “dedication, practice, and time spent learning and doing.”

Elsie won quilt awards from the beginning of her career. She attended the AQS Show in Paducah, Kentucky in 1992. For Elsie, “That was an amazing experience as I’d never seen quilts made or used as wall art before. I’d only experienced quilts used as bed coverings and as objects to keep the body warm. I then entered that show in 1993 and the quilt I’d entered was chosen for publication in a pattern book. I was thrilled.”

At Road to California, Elsie has been recognized numerous times for her quilting. In 2014, she won Outstanding Traditional Quilt for Aunt Mimi’s Flower Garden

And in 2016, she won Excellence in Hand Quilting for Elegance.

Regarding her awards from Road, Elsie commented, “It is a blessing to receive multiple top awards at Road to California quilt show. This is a very prestigious show with very competitive entries so I feel I am privileged to be counted among the winners more than once.”

Making Summertime

Inspiration for Elsie’s Best Hand Quilting entry, Summertime, came from the flowers in her flower gardens. Elsie started with one idea of how the blocks would be set, but when it wasn’t working the way she anticipated, the blocks were put away until she came up with a better idea for the setting six years later.

Best Hand Quilting 2020

The blocks originally took about 6 weeks to hand appliqué before she put them away. After the six years, she decided that the blocks needed more detail, so she added the hand embroidery.  It then took several more months to develop her setting idea and accomplish the hand appliqué process to complete the entire quilt top. The trapunto, hand quilting and bead work took a little over a year. Because her original plan for her hand quilting entry took a different turn, Elsie said she learned the importance of “flexibility” and “listening to the quilt” in this design process.

Future Quilting Plans

There are two projects Elsie is in the process of working on. One will be machine quilted and is partially finished. The other is a whole cloth project that is currently being hand embroidered. When that is done, the next steps will be trapunto and hand quilting.

Congratulations Elsie Campbell for being Road to California 2020’s Best Hand Quilting Winner!!

3 Responses to “Best Hand Quilting at Road 2020”

  1. Tammy R says:

    Congrats, Elsie! Your work is stunning, and I am always in awe of your amazing talents.

  2. Peggy J T. says:

    It is an honor to be acquainted with you Elsie, and I love it that you have the name of my wise grandmother. Your dedication & hard yet loved work I can appreciate and admire. I’ve spent countless hours at handwork but only to have to give it up & resort to two surgeries for carpal tunnel. So do give your hands /wrists a good break, as I assume you do. Thanks for setting a good example too.

  3. Thank you! Peggy, I’ve had double carpal tunnel releases, two broken fingers, surgery for trigger thumb and surgery to remove the arthritic trapezium in my wrist, plus right elbow surgery for tennis elbow and surgery for right torn rotator cuff. Plus recent diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. That hasn’t stopped me from doing what I love. You will get back to it after you rehab from surgery.

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