Wednesday, November 3, 2004
At first, the latest quilt by the Delectable Mountain Quilters Guild is visually overwhelming. At 104 inches by 104 inches, the quilt has a kind of mandala effect. For the swirling of color and pattern to make sense, you have to start in the center. Then the rest of it settles down into a perfect collection of intricate design.
Ten people worked for six months to make the quilt, titled "Autumn Memories."
As they worked, the quilters took breaks to eat and stretch. They worked and joked and fought over fabrics, and all those memories were sewn into the final quilt.
Madeleine Vail designed the quilt and delegated all the leaves, squares and appliques, but did all the final quilting herself.
Guild members cut out 1,500 2-inch squares. Vail told the quilters to pick several of the squares and sew them together into a strip in any color or pattern order they liked. "I wanted it to be completely different everywhere you looked," Vail said. "I didn't want it to be planned at all.
"I don't like to work on any prescribed formula. I like to let things happen."
In the end, the thousands of fabric scraps combined to form the feeling the women were searching for -- the colors flicker like light passing through aspen trees.
The quilt was finished Oct. 15 when Vail and another guild member sat for four hours one afternoon hand sewing the binding around the 416-inch perimeter.
"The thing that makes quilting (in Routt County) interesting," Vail said, "is that we can't just go to a fabric store and buy whatever we like. We have to take what we're given."
"Autumn Memories" is the fourth in a series of quilts made annually to raise money to bring in instructors and speakers to the Yampa Valley. Although a quilt appraiser has not seen the quilt, "Autumn Memories" probably is worth a few thousand dollars, considering how many man-hours were involved, Vail said.
The quilt is raffled off at a Guild meeting every year. Raffle tickets cost $1. The person who won the quilt last year only bought one ticket, Vail said. Last year, the quilt raffle raised $4,000.
The raffle will take place at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Steamboat Springs Community Center on 13th Street next to the Bud Werner Memorial Library. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for last-minute ticket purchases.
Raffle tickets can be purchased from any Guild member, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays at Safeway and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays at City Market through Nov. 14, or by calling 879-8474.