AV residents headed to state quilting competition

By Davida Siwisa James
APPLE VALLEY REVIEW

Several High Desert residents will be attending and participating in the “Road to California Quilters Conference and Showcase” through Monday at the Ontario Convention Center.

Carol Coats and Carolyn Villars, both of Apple Valley, are finalists in the quilting competition. Another Apple Valley resident, Annie Gaunder, of Annie’s Quilt Studio, is participating for her third consecutive year. The winners, who will share $37,000 in prize money, will be announced Tuesday.

To enter the competition, quilters submitted three photos of their best quilts. The selected entrants get to hang their quilts at the competition and are eligible for prizes.

For Coats, being a seamstress most of her life made for an easy transition to quilting. She took up the craft to keep herself busy after losing her husband in a tragic car accident in 1999.

“My husband’s grandmother was a quilter,” said Coats. “She gave me some quilt patterns that I saved. I started quilting and joined the guild in 2001.”

There are several quilting guilds in the area. The Quilter’s Piece Corps of Victor Valley meets in Apple Valley at the Church of the Valley. There are other guilds in Big Bear Lake, Hesperia and Wrightwood.

Coats explained the various stages of quilting. The first is making the top, those visible squares that can involve simple or very intricate designs and stitching. The second is called the batting or stuffing. The last component is the back of the quilt, which is usually plain since it’s seldom seen. Quilting is the process of finishing the quilt, which is assembling the top, batting and back of the quilt.

“I do a lot of embroidery, some applique, and some actual quilting,” said Coats. “The Ontario competition is an annual thing. This is the first year I’ve entered anything. They picked two of my quilts to hang,” said Coats.

“I’ve been quilting for about 15 years and doing longarm about seven,” said Gaunder, who had two of her quilts accepted for the week-long show. “I started making quilts for family and friends as gifts. It grew into a business.”

Though some quilters still do everything by hand, Gaunder said it’s more common now to send a quilt out to be completed by someone with a longarm sewing machine, designed to handle the large materials.

“One year, I got third place,” said Gaunder. “But it is an honor just to get in.”

See Gaunder’s work on her website at www.anniesquiltstudio.com. For more information on the Ontario competition, visit www.road2ca.com.