The winning Best Group Quilt, Broken Shell Beach, won $1,000 from sponsor, Yazzii International Pty Ltd.
Working on a quilt by yourself can be challenging; working on a quilt with ten friends can be even more taxing—but also a lot of fun!!!
Who is Sew Eclectic?
Sew Eclectic is an “Art Quilt Group.” They have been members of various local guilds and often congregated together outside of their respective guild meetings. Several years ago, they saw a need for a smaller group focused on art quilting and critique. At the time, “we were a rare breed,” but today, “there are many more art quilters creating beautiful art in both Tulare and Kings Counties.”
All of the members of Sew Eclectic have been regular participants in their regional, Best of the Valley Quilt Show, for several years. Some of the group have entered quilts in national shows. But for many of Sew Eclectic, Road to California 2020 was the first time to have their work hang at the show.
Members of Sew Eclectic that worked on Broken Shell Beach included Alice Chitwood, Barbara Daniel, Kristin Eilers, DeAnn Farris, Suzanne Kistler, Charlotte Rogers, Barbara Sawyer, Beth Shaffer, Sharon Scholta, Debbie Van Fossen. While most of the group made one block for the finished project, Suzanne and Debbie each contributed two squares.
Inspiration for Broken Shell Beach
Each year, Sew Eclectic, issues a challenge to its members. For 2018, they chose a picture Suzanne had taken in Oceanside, California a few years before. Suzanne is a habitual shell seeker and on this particular trip, she took many walks along the beach. Unfortunately, the only shells she found were all broken shells. Despite their brokenness, the colors and textures were still enough to cause Suzanne to collect a bowl full. She took a photo of the shells, enlarged it, and thought that the image would make a great quilt.
The instructions were wide open: “using your favorite techniques, recreate your portion of the image in fabric.” Each member of the group had one year to complete their block. Many of the quilters waited until the last month or two to finish their contribution because they were “intimidated” by the project. It ended up being “the most difficult piece they have ever tackled.”
It was a challenge to assemble the quilt as it was discovered that the finished blocks were different sizes. The original idea had been to just whipstitch them together, but everyone thought “that would have just looked tacky.” A friend suggested using the fishing net, “which was genius.” The group recalled that it was “not easy to get the quilts to hang well in position – a fish net has a mind of its own! – but eventually everything hung to our satisfaction.” Everyone was surprised by how successful the project ended up being.
Suzanne was the first to learn their quilt had won Best Group Quilt. A friend was at Preview Night and sent a text to Suzanne accompanied by a photo of the quilt “wearing its beautiful rosette.” The news and photo were quickly shared with the other members of the group.
Their prize money was used to cover the cost of entry fees and shipping to quilt shows around the country. Sew Eclectic wanted to make sure and thank the sponsor of their winning design, Yazzii International Pty Ltd, for the generous award, and the judges, for selecting our quilt as its recipient.