Issue 28 | Colorado
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Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado is a captivating state known for its breathtaking natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities. For our photography team, it was endless, sweeping landscapes; stunning views; oh … and a tornado. If you saw the news in June 2023 about the abnormal hailstorms that took Coloradans by surprise, Melanie and Kimberlee were in all that. Don’t worry—they found a nice Starbucks in Parker to hunker down in until it passed by!
When there aren’t unexpected storms, Colorado boasts a wide range of scenery that spans from towering mountain peaks to expansive high plains. With a mix of bustling cities like Denver and charming mountain towns like Boulder, Colorado strikes a harmonious balance between urban living and the serenity of the great outdoors. The Centennial State offers a unique and dynamic experience for residents and visitors alike.
The diverse beauty of the state finds its way into the intricate patterns and colors of Colorado quilts. Quilting holds a special place in the hearts of Coloradans, as it connects generations and cultures through the language of fabric and thread. These makers celebrate both the history of quilting and its ever-evolving nature, as quilters embrace new materials and styles while preserving traditional methods.
Whether crafting quilts to adorn their homes, creating meaningful gifts, or contributing to charitable causes, quilters in Colorado help enrich a vibrant and supportive creative community. Their work not only warms, but also nurtures the bonds of friendship and shared passion. In the state where the natural world is a constant source of inspiration, Colorado quilters add their own thread to the rich fabric of the region’s cultural heritage. Get ready to be awed by some magnificent makers whose stitched work compares impressively to the wonder of Colorado’s landscapes!
Writers for this issue: Mel Burke, Rebecca Bratburd, Meg Cox, Aleeda Crawley, Frances O’Roark Dowell, Kestrel Michaud, Diane L. Murtha, Sharbreon Plummer, Carmen Schell and Teresa Duryea Wong
Photographer for this issue: Melanie Zacek
Photo Stylist: Kimberlee Zacek
Guest Photographer: Bookend Photography
Previews From Issue 28
Allen and Patty Brown
Allen and Patty Brown’s extensive crazy quilt collection is a testament to the creative artistry of 19th century quilters. The Browns’ mutual passion doesn’t end with collecting, though; the couple also makes crazy quilts, spending years on these elaborately constructed and stitched creations.
Tierney Davis Hogan
Tierney Hogan is a visual storyteller with a love for creating community through quilting. Through her shop, Textiles & Smiles, and her blog, tierneycreates, she connects with makers across the world to exchange stories, scraps, and creativity. From improvisational to utilitarian, she loves exploring new techniques and responding to themes that challenge her abilities.
Barbara Yates Beasley
Barbara’s animal quilts seem to leap, fly, sing, and bark right off the fabric, with a vibrant but realistic style capturing the unique attitude of each creature. She attributes the spark in her work to the emotional investment that connects her to every piece, whether it’s a commission or a personal project.
Carmen Schell loves making quilts in community. From her early days as a quilter, who found inspiration in popular quilting blogs, to a longtime member of a beloved local bee, she is someone who quilts well with others. Teacher, writer, and quilt collaborator, Carmen finds joy sewing in the same room with friends, laughing and sharing stories.
Writer and quilter Anna Smith has quilted since high school, learning from her mom and aunts. As she’s explored the craft more, creating quilts as gifts for loved ones and their life events, she’s found a certain joy in the luxury of slowing down that quilting provides—especially when coping with a migraine.
This Colorado native, Diana Fox, has been quilting, studying, taking classes, trying new techniques, and putting herself out there for many years. Over the last several years, the universe seems to be smiling on her with well-deserved recognition. In 2023 alone, she has achieved some wonderful accomplishments with her amazing fiber art.
Inspired by traveling quilt bees on social media, the Fort Collins Modern Quilt Guild decided to launch their own unique take on a traditional bee. Each participant makes their starter blocks and puts them in a box, which then travels around the group, with every quilter adding more blocks to the pile. Over the years, they’ve explored a range of techniques, gotten to know the creative inclinations of their fellow members, and made some pretty phenomenal quilts (if they do say so themselves).
For over 61 years, Jeananne Olsen Wright has been collecting quilts of all genres. “I stopped counting at 1,000,” she said. Research indicates she has the earliest quilt started in Colorado. She has one that was buried in the Civil War Battle of Pea Ridge. She also has a quilt she calls “The Homesteader’s Quilt” that she rescued from being a floor mop in a Nebraska junk store.
Valerie White experiments with intent and employs a multitude of techniques to craft her art quilts. Though she began by making traditional 40-block quilts, her art training skills helped her forge her own path and move beyond conventional perceptions of what is and is not a quilt, without sacrificing precision and quality construction. Drawing inspiration from a wide array of artists, she seeks to expand the genre of African-American quilting and inspire others to create work that speaks to their spirits.
Laura Loewen started winning awards for her quilts in the late ’90s, but found her artistic voice in 2019 after attending QuiltCon in Nashville, Tennessee. Since then, she’s become an executive member of the Boulder Modern Quilt Guild and taken her workshops on the road to teach others her unique approach to color theory and improv quilting. She combines traditional blocks with modern colors, wovens, linens, metallics, transparents, and more for a painterly and surprisingly organized effect.
In the global quilting industry, Luana Rubin is one of those rare, wildly successful business owners who has vowed to use her company—and her platform—as a force for good. Since she and her husband, Paul, founded eQuilter back in 1999, they have donated a portion of their revenue to nonprofits, and as of July 2023, they’ve given away $2 million.
Louisiana’s notorious Angola prison is the largest maximum security state prison in the country. But it’s also become known for its hospice program and, to a lesser degree, its prison quilters. Steven Garner was incarcerated at Angola for 31 years and now spends most of his free time building on the quilting skills he learned in prison. He moved to Colorado to be near family, and Quiltfolk visited him at his niece’s house, where he does most of his sewing these days. He shared his current projects and his future dreams.
Ricky Tims is one of the quilt world’s best known and most beloved figures, whose imagination and ingenuity knows no bounds. A longtime co-host of The Quilt Show, he holds an impressive array of quilting honors. He’s also a skilled artist, photographer, musician, and teacher, who seeks to encourage and inspire his students while helping them master new skills. Ricky brings creative energy to all that he does—and sometimes surprises himself with the discoveries he makes.
Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum
The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum owes its existence to the grit and determination of its eccentric founder, Eugenia Mitchell. She spent a decade garnering support for her improbable dream, and when the museum opened its doors in 1990, she donated all the quilts. Now the museum boasts a robust collection and has developed some beloved traditions.
Sandra Dallas, an award-winning author, had no idea how fiercely quilters would embrace her work. But ever since they turned out in droves at the signings for her second novel, at least half of Sandra’s books have included quilters. Though admittedly not much of a stitcher herself, she’s become well-versed in quilt history and loves to collect old quilts she comes across in her travels.
Sara Buscaglia — Farm & Folk
Sara Buscaglia has a soul-deep connection to the natural world through her roots as a farmer. But her organic crop includes more than just vegetables. Sara also “grows color,” an array of flowers used for natural dying. Today, she runs a business called Farm & Folk where she sells her homegrown dyestuffs, naturally dyed fabrics, and hand-sewn quilts.
Carol Schneider / Owl's Nest Quilters
When Carol Schneider’s lifelong dream of owning a quilt shop came true, she knew she wanted Owl’s Nest Quilters to be an expression of both her love of needlearts and her faith. Since 2019, the shop’s quilters have been using their time and talents to support vulnerable members of their community, donating quilts and serving as a drop-off center for a number of local charities.
Quaking Aspen Guild / Habitat for Humanity
The Quaking Aspen Quilt Guild of Boulder donates over 200 quilts every year to several organizations and causes in their area. In the last few years, they’ve partnered with Habitat for Humanity to gift quilts to new homeowners as they take possession of their new homes. These quilts are symbols of love and care and tell the recipients, “You belong here.”
Katie Zahm, an IT project manager for a major health company and former math teacher, wants nothing more than to quilt full time, so she can teach deaf children quilting. After she suddenly lost most of her hearing as a young adult, she found solace in quilting. She’s one of the Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild’s most active members, where she drives recruitment through a strong social media presence and an up-to-date and engaging website. Every day, through patterns and teaching other quilters by way of her namesake quilting business, she inches closer to her goal.