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.”
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.
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!!