Issue 20: Idaho
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When you think of Idaho and all you see is a sack of potatoes, it’s time to put that sack aside. Imagine instead a treasure chest full of sapphires, rubies, diamonds, and pure gold. Yes, Idaho is abundant in potatoes (though its dairy and wheat exports are actually larger). But it’s also so rich in precious and semiprecious stones that it has been dubbed “The Gem State.”
Finding all those jewels means mines and mining towns cover Idaho. Some are still active; some were shuttered long ago. In just a short drive outside of the capital city, Boise, you can walk the streets of mining towns once swarming with prospectors, and swindlers seeking their fortune out West.
But if the best things in life are free, Idaho’s got you covered there too. Her epic lakes, waterfalls, and geothermal wonderland of hot springs that dot the mountains will cost you nothing (or, at most, the price of park admission).
The quilts and quilters of Idaho are teeming with spirit and love of the natural world around them. Idaho has more “gems” to offer: its people and their stories.
Welcome to Idaho — a treasure of a state.
Writers for this issue: Meg Cox, Mary Fons, Cassie Koerner, Cate Coulacos Prato, Carmen Schell, Victoria Slind-Flor, and Teresa Duryea Wong
Photographers for this issue: Azuree Wiitala
Photo Stylist: Trevor Holloway
164 pages, offset printed and perfect bound, full color on uncoated paper. Printed in the USA.
Previews From Issue 20
Dexter Yeats is a 75-year-old Ironman World Champion triathlete who quilts on her “rest days.” Quilting is the creative part of Dexter’s life that keeps her balanced. Her motto is, “Don’t let what you can’t do keep you from what you can do,” which is very fitting for how she leads her life. From training for her next triathlon and seeking out her next quilt pattern, to remarrying her first husband and then coping with his passing — Dexter is a woman who loves and lives life to the fullest.
Denise Arellano loved hexies. She also loved owls. And most of all, she loved quilting and being with her quilty friends. When Denise passed away in August 2020, her four best friends discovered thousands of paper forms in her sewing studio for English paper piecing fabric hexie flowers. So, they set out to put those forms to use and made hexie quilts for Denise’s husband, friends, and even local charities.
North Idaho Quilters Kids’ Sewing and Quilting Camp
Each summer, a couple dozen kids are treated to a unique day camp among the mountains of Coeur d’Alene. But this camp is not about mountain hikes or swimming. It is all about sewing and quilting. While these kids and teens build lifelong skills, the campers also learn to make a quilt in three days. And yes, it can be done.
Joyce Shoemaker is a modest, hardworking farm woman and an accomplished quilter — making both art quilts that feature local wildlife and traditional appliqué quilts. She is an American Quilter’s Society certified appraiser and the visionary behind Idaho’s Quilt Heritage Museum (inspired by the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky). Joyce is your go-to source for Idaho quilt history!
Native Idahoan Angela Bowman, of Meridian, integrates both the analytical and the creative into her art with striking results. She’s a founding member of the Boise Modern Quilt Guild and left her career in health care systems in 2012 to quilt and design full-time. Angela quickly became obsessed with the foundation paper piecing technique that eventually inspired her to create quilted portraits. She has nailed down her method for these portraits, a process she looks forward to teaching at QuiltCon 2022.
Alize Norman has lived in three different countries and five different states, but she is happy to call Idaho her home. She was born with a natural talent for sewing, crafting, and designing. While her skills are well rounded, she has a special interest in quilted portraits. Her creative interests do not end there, however. Alize hosted a themed camp and exhibited her art at Burning Man — an annual event focused on community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance — for 18 years!
Boise Peace Quilt Project
In the early 1980s, as the Cold War came close to an end, the fear of an all-out nuclear war increased. Two young mothers, Ann Hausrath and Diane Jones, wanted to influence positivity and stand for change during these uncertain times. How? While neither Ann nor Diane were experienced quilters, they felt that a handmade quilt could be a symbolic peace offering to women in the USSR, on the other side of the conflict. That is how the Boise Quilt Peace Project was born! Ann and Diane recruited 35 women to participate in the project, and the completed quilt was presented to the Soviet Women’s Committee. But the Boise Quilt Peace Project did not end there. The group has continued to influence peace through quilting, and today, there are still 15 active members.
Steve Schmid, a former high school theater teacher, currently makes costumes for opera and theater companies. While fabric and sewing machines have been tools of the trade for much of his professional life, gaining confidence as a quilter has been trickier than he expected. The themed challenges and classes put on by his local guild have been the most helpful, and he has applied his new skills to making numerous quilts for his three children. He is also interested in quilt history and serves as the vice president of Idaho’s Quilt Heritage Museum’s board of directors.