From traditional to art quilts at PieceMaking show in Chilliwack

The biannual show put on by the Chilliwack PieceMakers Quilting Guild will feature 200 quilts of all sizes and colours

Janet Skulsky (left) and Karlie McChesney are gearing up for this weekend's PieceMaking in the Valley quilt show.

Janet Skulsky (left) and Karlie McChesney are gearing up for this weekend's PieceMaking in the Valley quilt show.

The Chilliwack PieceMakers Quilting Guild is putting the final touches on its biannual show for this weekend.

PieceMaking in the Valley will see 200 quilts on display at the Chilliwack Alliance Church, all of which have been lovingly sewn by its 70 members. It is an unjuried show — most quilters will have one or two items on display, though some will have upwards of five.

Of those quilts, about 15 of them will be pieces from the guild’s ‘mystery challenge’ project. The idea came from guild member and former high school art teacher, Judi Campbell. Over the course of 10 months, she gave her fellow quilters one instruction per month on how to construct their mystery quilt.

The mystery challenge started with a circle of fabric cut into nine sections. As each month went by Campbell gave them one instruction for each section. Some were fairly straight-forward like “add three triangles, make them as large or as small as you want.” Others were downright weird, confusing the quilters: “It’s round, it’s not. It’s solid, or not. Full up or partially empty, lacy, slinky, metal, wooden, transparent, 3D or not.”

“I wanted them to branch out into doing something totally abstract,” says Campbell. “Many people hadn’t done that, so I gave them small units to work on that were cohesive. They had no idea what they were working on, and for many of them that was a big stretch.”

The end results?

“I was blown away. The results are outstanding,” she says.

“I think it’s fascinating how we all followed the same instruction and everyone has interpreted it so differently,” says guild member Janet Skulsky, who made a mystery quilt. “It was such a fun project and it’s so different.”

In addition to the mystery challenge, other unique quilted projects include a table of quilted baskets on display, quilts from the guild’s quilt show challenge (where all quilts are based on the member’s initials), and themed projects from two of the guild’s cohort groups.

“The quilts are really inspirational,” says show organizer Karlie McChesney. “There’s lots of variety of skill levels and different types of quilting.”

Another new attraction this year will be the Quilters’ Boutique with brand-new quilted items for sale all made and donated by the members. Everything has been made-to-sell, such as tote bags, pouches, needle cases, pin cushions, and table runners. There will also be bigger quilts for sale on consignment, of which the guild will receive part proceeds.

This year’s Merchants Mall features ten different vendors with quilt and sewing related goods.

Fifty of the guild’s We Care quilts will be on display, too. About 100-150 We Care quilts are made each year by the guild and donated to various groups, including Chilliwack Hospice, the maternity ward at CGH, mother and baby programs, and victim services. The guild buys the batting and backing for the quilts, and the members donate their time and talents to make them.

The money to purchase materials for the We Care quilts comes from the raffle ticket sales. This year, two people have made quilts as raffle prizes. Wendy Lyon made the first-prize quilt, and Betty Ferguson has sewn the second-prize quilt. The guild has been selling raffle tickets throughout the year, but people will have a chance to purchase a ticket during this weekend’s show.

The show will also include raffle baskets filled with quilting supplies, fabrics, books, kits, gift certificates, and merchant gifts.

The Tea Room will be serving coffee and tea, plus sandwiches, desserts and treats.

Chilliwack guitarist Janna Searle will be performing during the two-day show offering background music to guests as they study the many quilts on display.

As they walk up and down the rows of quilts, people will get to vote in six categories: small, medium, and large quilt, as well as their favourite Mystery Challenge quilt, Guild Show Challenge quilt, and of course best in show (from any category).

It will be a “stunning display,” says Skulsky, with a “wide range from traditional to art quilts.”

PieceMaking in the Valley runs Friday, Oct. 21 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Chilliwack Alliance Church. Admission is $5, husbands and children 12 and under are free.

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