Black Canyon show white hot with activity
When the Black Canyon Quilt Show opens next month in Montrose, you’ll see more than 160 quilts, a silent auction of quilted items, free demonstrations, a raffle quilt and several vendors selling fabrics and other related items.
What won’t be visible are the hundreds of hours of planning, stitching, organizing, negotiating, cajoling, phone calling, setting up and all the rest that goes into making this 16th annual event a success.
The dates are July 8–10, and the theme is “Colorado Cele- brates Quilts from the Heart.”
A board of directors meets monthly to pull the show together. Cheryl Yergler of Montrose is one of those directors, and she’s been involved all but one year since the beginning, serving as show chairwoman in 1999.
This year, Yergler says two-thirds of those on the board are new, and she’s happy to have their enthusiasm and fresh ideas.
“We have many new members moving into the area, and they are joining the (quilt) guilds,” Yergler says.
Three guilds in the area work together on the Black Canyon show, with representatives from each sitting on that board.
The guilds are Columbine Quilters, Friendship Quilters of Western Colorado and San Juan Quilters.
Yergler’s main job on the board this year is securing the vendors for the three-day show, which attracts an average of 1,200 to 1,500 visitors, she says. Some years, they’ve had as many as 2,000 attendees.
She has changed the vendor setup this year, grouping them all together — in a mall-type arrangement — rather than separated by quilted show entries as in previous years.
Besides working behind the scenes, Yergler somehow found time over the months to make two quilts to hang in the show.
Three more of this year’s entries will be those of past board member Millie Buss of Montrose. Buss belongs to Friendship Quilters.
“I have a baby quilt of 1930s fabrics and two larger lap-size quilts,” she says.
Previously, Buss served as the show’s hospitality chairwoman, ordering and getting meals for the vendors and show volunteers, and serving cookies and beverages in the courtyard to the daily crowds.
She also helps some years on the committee in charge of sewing a raffle quilt, a fundraiser that helps pay for the annual show and its venue, the Montrose Pavilion.
Buss looks forward this July to a visit from her sister, who lives in Yuma, Ariz., and often comes to enjoy the show.
The sisters both quilt, and sometimes Buss says her sister enters a quilt as well.
“Anyone can enter the show, as long as they pay an entry fee,” Buss says.
Another feature of the show that draws crowds are the free demonstrations. Those will include wool applique, paper piecing, invisible machine applique and sewing machine maintenance.
A silent auction of smaller quilted items donated by guild members typically yields $3,000 to $4,000, which is given annually to a charitable group, says Betty-Ann McCluskey of Montrose.
Proceeds this year are to benefit Samaritan Aviation of Montrose. The organization provides free Mercy Flights for people with advanced medical conditions, working through hospice, hospitals, churches and families.
McCluskey, another show board member, spearheads this year’s auction. She has gathered more than 100 items for it, including a half-dozen baby quilts she made herself.
“That’s my favorite,” she says. “I like to make children’s quilts, not cute ones, but quilts that are visually interesting for babies — ones that are bright and have contrast and texture in them.”
Both McCluskey and Yergler mentioned how much show organizers depend on spouses’ help for loading, hauling, unpacking and hanging the many entries.
“All the husbands are good to step up,” McCluskey says gratefully.
Obviously, many hands are required to “sew” the seeds of the Black Canyon show’s success.
And this community of quilters does it year after year. They deserve a first-place ribbon for their accomplishments.
Email Sherida.Warner@ gjsentinel.com.