.PV Quilt Show Returns to Fairgrounds Feb. 26-27

Twice a month, a group of local quilt makers gather inside the Codiga Center & Museum at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds to create quilts for the community.

The Apple Piecers, as they call themselves, are a nonprofit that makes up to 200 quilts per year to donate to charity. The Salvation Army, Watsonville Community Hospital, Second Harvest, CASA Santa Cruz, Pajaro Valley Shelter Services and many other groups have received quilts from them over the years.

“Any place that is helping the community, we reach out to,” said member Heidi Sandkuhle. “We give them to people who need them.”

The Apple Piecers is also one of many quilt groups that help organize the annual Pajaro Valley Quilt Association (PVQA) Quilt Show, which will return to the fairgrounds on Feb. 26 and 27. The event was canceled last year due to Covid-19.

This year’s show, “Good Vibrations,” will feature more than 300 quilts on display—more than ever before, Sandkuhle said. It will also include a live auction, wearable artworks, bed turning demonstrations, a large merchant mall, special presentations and more.

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“It’s always so fun,” said member Cathie Colson. “A lot of grandparents bring their kids and grandkids. We see a lot of younger people get involved at this show.”

Pajaro Valley quilt association
Heidi Sandkuhle shows off one of her quilt creations. —Johanna Miller/The Pajaronian

Organizers, including members of the Apple Piecers, are hard at work preparing for the event. Material costs are expensive this year, said Colson, especially fabrics. This is why they set aside some quilts every year to sell.

“For a small blanket, it could cost between $30 and $50 in materials,” she said. “That’s about $10 per yard, plus $50 for shipping. We give a lot away … but we do need to afford the materials.”

Acclaimed quilt artist Rachel Clark will be the featured speaker at this year’s show. Clark, who is most notably known for her wearable quilted pieces, has toured all over the U.S. and has been featured in magazines such as Threads and HGTV’s quilting quarterly. 

Clark continues to teach her craft as well, which she says has been easier since the pandemic forced classes to work remotely. 

“For me, Covid has been a mixed blessing,” she said. “I had been considering retiring. But when Covid came and we were all inside, I was introduced to Zoom. I’ve been able to do things on the platform. I still want to travel, but it has helped open a whole other world, to teach that way. ”

Clark said she is looking forward to seeing people at the show she has not seen in years.

“Before last year, we’d always had this show,” she said. “So it’s just really good to be back. I’m excited—I will have more garments in one place than ever before.”

Sandkuhle said the Apple Piecers have noticed a similar “silver lining” about virtual experiences. 

“We are now able to take classes from instructors all over the U.S.,” she said. “It’s been a great opportunity.” 

PVQA’s Quilt show will be held Feb. 26 from 10am-5pm and Feb. 27 from 10am-4pm at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, 2601 E. Lake Ave., Watsonville. Tickets are $10 for both days. 

The event requires proof of Covid-19 vaccination for all attendees over 18 years of age, and face masks will be required in all indoor areas.

“There are a lot of hands involved in this event … and in making these quilts,” Sandkuhle said. “You’d be surprised. Some people take quilts home to finish the edges … [others] will take them and sew on the labels. Everyone pitches in their time to make it happen.”

For information including a schedule for each day visit pvqa.org. Learn more about Rachel Clark on her Facebook page, “Rachel DK Clark.”


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