Cosmos2013 NSQG Raffle Quilt
Created by Karen Ruwe and Sheri Ruwe
Quilted by Peg Pennell
Karen lives in Fremont, NE. She started quilting in 1983 when she attended her first class taught by Sara Dillow and Jean Gausman. That is all it took for her to become hooked on quilting! Before discovering quilting, she designed and made bridal wear.
In 1991, she joined the Nebraska State Quilt Guild and went to Valentine for her first QuiltNebraska. Karen is a member of Prairie Piecemakers in Fremont and has served as president and in various other offices since joining the guild. She is currently program chairman.
Karen has presented trunk shows of her work and taught quilting classes at various shops as well as at the Iowa Quilt Guild. She has volunteered her time to schools, church groups, and 4-H clubs teaching quilting. She has won Best of County at the Washington County Fair as well as awards and a blue ribbon at the Nebraska State Fair.
Sheri was born in Lincoln, NE and is a graduate of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Sheri lives in Hooper, NE with her husband David. She has three grown children and two grandchildren.
Sheri has been a member of Prairie Piecemakers for about 15 years – having served as President and on the board of directors in many different capacities. Sheri was the guild’s featured quilter at their last quilt show. She is a member of the Nebraska State Quilt Guild and attended her first QuiltNebraska in 1995 in Omaha where her first class was taught by Libby Lehman! Sheri has served on NSQG’s board of directors and has been an active supporter of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln.
She started sewing around the age of six, discovering quilting in 1987 and has been quilting ever since. Sheri has made many quilts over the years for family, friends, her son’s fraternity fund raisers, Quilts of Valor, and banners for her church, Redeemer Lutheran. She is currently a home sewer for Quiltmaker magazine. Sheri generously shares her skills teaching classes for guilds and retreats. Stepping into her home you will be greeted by many of her quilt treasures displayed on the walls. Sheri loves a challenge –entering quilts often in contests. Over the years she has entered the Hoffman Challenge receiving several awards, winning 2nd place with “Art Deco Candle”, an Honorable mention and with a third piece being selected for the traveling show. She is published in the Quilter’s Treasury.
Together, Karen and Sheri have taught weekend quilting retreats.
Peg lives in Ashland, NE. Taught to sew by her Mom, Arlene Kunes, making her own clothes was Peg’s passion for many years. She began quilting in 1974, completing her first quilt, a machine quilted Log Cabin. No hand quilting for her!!
Peg joined the Omaha Quilter’s Guild in 1981 and has been a member of NSQG since it’s beginning, attending every QuiltNebraska except the one held in Valentine. She is also a member of Cottonwood Quilters and has served in various board positions and on committees for all three guilds.
Always up for a challenge, Peg is actually known to be a “challenge junkie”, entering not only in her local guild challenges, but those held in other countries. Her work has won first or second place awards in the Bunbury Australia challenge three of the last four years. Peg wishes she could travel as much as her quilts do! Peg’s work has also won awards in her local guilds as well as the Nebraska State Fair. Her work has been featured in several quilt publications as well as being shown in local galleries. She has pieces in several area businesses and in private collections.
The Creation of the “Cosmos”!
When asked by Alice Cruz to do the NSQG raffle quilt, Karen and Sheri thought long and hard about what to do. Last summer as Sheri sat at a table with a friend, knowing that she and Karen would be doing this year’s raffle quilt, the friend said, “I really would hate to have to make the quilt to follow this year’s raffle quilt!” Well, no pressure there! They had to come up with an original idea that would be different from quilts done recently.
Karen and Sheri both love color – especially jewel-tone batiks. So it would be something bright. Hmmm, no one has created a raffle quilt with circles lately. Maybe they should try that. They both spent several days designing circles varying in size from six to 24 inches. They discovered that the Renee’s Ray tool was extremely helpful in drafting the circles. After designing the circles, they pretty much just threw them on the floor to decide on location.
Studying and adjusting the layout, they found the circles needed something to connect them. They called them “paths” and decided they couldn’t be straight or just one fabric. So you will find flying geese, checkerboards and zigzags included in the pieced “pathways to the stars.”
This quilt has 18 circles. The circles have 57 separate rings, not counting the centers. One ring has 128 pieces, having 64 points. The 18 stars have 2,058 pieces. The “paths” add another 1290 pieces for a total of 3,348 pieces.
The added challenge was deciding colors. If you have ever heard your quilt talking to you, you will understand this next comment. There were times when this one was screaming. Those were the mistakes that had to be remade!
Most of the fabrics came from Karen and Sheri’s own stashes and from DellaJane Hand Dyes. Sheri’s favorite plaid is in this quilt, a piece that she had been hoarding. It was what the quilt needed, so she gave it up for the cause! Alice Cruz was asked to hand dye some fabrics to be used as the background, border and backing for the quilt. After much dyeing of cloth, discussion, emails and quilt visits, it was decided to use a combination of hand dyed and commercially printed fabric for the background.
Sheri approached Peg about the quilting right after the start of the New Year. The piece was well under way, would she come and see it and possibly agree to quilting it for them? Peg agreed and was amazed by the intricate pieced circles and pathways that Karen and Sheri had created.
Sheri and Karen then set about the task of applying all the pieced “star rings” and pathways to the background. Sheri transported the finished top, handing it to Peg with much the same feeling we all have when we have worked so long and hard on a project,....... “Get it out of my sight!”
Peg did some “test quilting” of designs on other pieces before beginning the quilting on the actual quilt. She wanted to complete Karen and Sheri’s vision of the stars, but it kept screaming “fireworks” to her. As the Fourth of July was looming the next week, it was surely what had been influencing that idea.
After a false start or two, wrong color thread....rip, rip, rip,.......wrong design....rip, rip, rip......Peg got on a roll and the quilting just seemed to flow onto the piece. The quilting is done in a wide variety of thread types and colors, in a design that certainly took on a star filled sky appearance. 888,183 stitches later, the quilting was done! Peg blocked and bound the quilt, attached the label and sleeve and emailed Karen and Sheri a note and a picture telling them that it was DONE!!!
Not so fast......Karen sent Peg a very happy email that she was so pleased with the quilting, but the picture was......are you ready for this....UPSIDE DOWN! .....rip....rip...rip off with the sleeve and label. The moral here is never attach the sleeve when the quilt is wrong side up folded in half, laying on your design table.
Finally finished!! Now to select a name. More emails, more discussion, but in the end after some very comical, and unprintable, names had been discarded, the name was chosen.
We are proud to present you with our version of the stars: Cosmos
Earlier Raffle Quilts