Shop has corner on teaching craft to quilters

Bill and Johnna Keith are celebrating 10 years as the owners of Quilters’ Corner in downtown Grand Junction.



“Log Cabin With a Twist” was made by Johnna Keith, co-owner of Quilters’ Corner in Grand Junction. It will be one of 300 quilts on display June 26-27 at “A Decade of Quilts” at Two Rivers Convention Center, 159 Main St.



Quilting is like baking cookies, says Bill Keith, co-owner of Quilters’ Corner in downtown Grand Junction. “There is no right recipe.”

He and his wife, Johnna, also his business partner, have been helping customers find the perfect ingredients for making whatever type of quilt they desire for the past 10 years.

In celebration of this milestone — and equally in recognition of their quilting students’ success —  the Keiths are showcasing hundreds of quilts made by customers who have taken classes from the various shop instructors.

“A Decade of Quilts” will be on display June 26–27 at Two Rivers Convention Center, 159 Main St. More than 300 quilts — many traditional styles and some art quilts — will be exhibited. Methods include piecing and appliqu&233;.

The show is not judged or juried because it’s not about competition.

“This is to give kudos to all of our students from the Western Slope,” Johnna Keith says.

Quilters’ Corner, 421 Colorado Ave., draws customers not only from the Grand Valley, but also from communities as far away as Durango, Cortez, Steamboat Springs, Craig and Moab, Utah.

The Keiths’ intention is to “show the Grand Valley what quilting can be,” Johnna says.

Exhibit hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $3 in advance, $5 at the door. They can be purchased at Quilters’ Corner or at all City Market stores.

The couple moved to the Grand Valley in 1999 from Arizona, Bill with a business degree and Johnna with a teaching certificate. She already was an accomplished quilter, and Bill wanted to open his own business.

The rest, as they say, is history. Together, they have established in this region a quilt shop with a traditional atmosphere.

“We have taught hundreds of people to quilt, and we’ve been overwhelmed (by attendance) in our newcomers and beginners classes,” Johnna says. “And we are still teaching new people to quilt.”

The shop offers about 30 classes each quarter for beginners and more advanced quilters, with daytime, evening and weekend sessions to accommodate all schedules.

About five years ago, Quilters’ Corner began selling and servicing Janome home sewing machines. Since last summer, the Keiths have offered Tin Lizzie long-arm machines.

The latest technology in machines is one part of the ever-changing quilt industry.

“It’s constantly evolving,” Bill says. “Yesterday’s rules and taboos become today’s norm.”

Examples are threadwork and embellishments, leaving jagged edges on rag quilts, quilted garments, tote bags — “something for everyone.”

“We are a traditional quilt shop, but we do help people get out of the box (if that’s what they want),” he says.

In keeping with their theme of 10, Johnna says they will donate that many quilts to the Latimer House when the show closes.

The Latimer House is a shelter house for women and children who are victims of domestic violence in Mesa County. The quilts are to be used on the house beds.

Besides the quilts’ monetary value, handmade love goes into the making of them, Johnna says. It seems an appropriate charity to her because the majority of quilters are women and most abuse victims are women and children.

Also during the two-day exhibit of quilts, 10 door prizes will be given away, ranging from values of $50 to $500 and including a Janome sewing machine.

More special events are planned later in the summer to continue the anniversary observance, Johnna says.

In July, Lynne Hagmeier, Kansas Troubles fabric designer, will present a trunk show and teach a workshop at Quilters’ Corner.

Then, Marci Baker, owner of Alicia’s Attic, is scheduled in late August for a trunk show and lecture, with two workshops also on the schedule.

Find out more by visiting the store’s website at http://www.quilterscornergj.com.

As next weekend approaches, be sure and treat yourself to the eye candy of quilts created by Quilters’ Corner students at the Two Rivers show. Congratulate Bill and Johnna on their decade in business.

“We’re looking forward to the next 10 years,” Bill says.

It’s always a good thing when quilters — both novice and veteran — come together to celebrate this wonderful art.

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