Chadron’s Festival of Quilts was a little crazier than usual this year.
The festival, featuring 269 quilts, was themed “Still Crazy after 25 Years: Modern and Traditional Approaches to Crazy Quilting,” and hosted featured quilter Rita Meyerhoff of Arvada, Colo., an accomplished crazy quilter who was eager to represent and teach the art of crazy quilting while she was in Chadron.
Crazy quilting is just as it sounds, a patchwork collection of whatever catches the quilters fancy.
“It’s called crazy quilting because there are different shapes all put together,” Meyerhoff says. “So there’s no set pattern, it’s just pieced randomly. On top of that it’s embellished.”
According to Meyerhoff those embellishments are the product of the quilter’s imagination and can pretty much be whatever the creator wants.
“Everybody’s style is a little bit different and the things they’ve collected - or hoarded - are part of that,” Meyerhoff says.
Meyerhoff is a regular teacher of the technique and operates Heaven’s Quilts, an online crazy quilt shop from her home. She’s also a docent and regular volunteer at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado.
Her award-winning work has been featured in the Denver Art Museum and the Houston International Quilt Show.
Meyerhoff says her introduction to crazy quilting came about 15 years ago when she took a class to hopefully meet new friends after moving to Denver from Phoenix.
“When I took (the class), it was like my thing,” Meyerhoff says. “I knew that that’s what I was meant to do all these years.”
“I could have taught that class myself,” Meyerhoff says. “I just felt like God prepared me my whole life to do this.”
Meyerhoff is also a collector of quilts.
“I started collecting because I like teaching,” she says. “Some of the quilts are meant for allowing me to teach from, to show examples. That’s part of the reason, but I just love old quilts. There’s something about a quilt that you don’t get with anything else. Even someone that doesn’t make quilts, has never sewn a thing, they have a story about a quilt in their family.”
Sharing her knowledge is also a passion one of Meyerhoff’s passions.
“These ladies, sometimes this is their only outlet from their family, kids and job,” Meyerhoff says. “Quilting is their only outlet. They just need a little bit of encouragement and I feel like God put me in that place to be that encourager.”
Meyerhoff had the ability to teach multiple courses at the Chadron festival including classes titled Not Your Grandma’s Buttonhole Stitch, and A Garden of Crazy Quilt Flower Embellishments. Saturday morning she gave a presentation entitled Crazy Quilts 101.
The featured quilter says she enjoyed her time at the Chadron festival.
“The ladies are just wonderful,” Meyerhoff says. “I’ve been to a lot of shows and this is probably the first show I’ve been to where everyone says hello.”
According to Janice McCallum, of the Pine Ridge Quilt Guild, 375 individuals visited this year’s festival.
Best of Show at the festival was won by Monty Fralik, of Martin, South Dakota, whose quilt was named “Kokopelli.”
Edgemont, South Dakota’s Bobbie Augustine was the Best of Theme winner with her quilt “Crazy Quilt.”
The complete list of winners is as follows:
BEST OF SHOW:
Monty Fralick, Martin SD, “Kokopelli”
BEST OF THEME:
Bobbie Augustine, Edgemont SD, “Crazy Quilt”
Large Hand-Quilted Quilts
First Place: Terri Morris, Gordon, “Irish Chain”
Second Place: Terri Morris, Gordon, “Patchwork Sampler”
Large Professionally Machine Quilted Quilts
First Place: Monty Fralick, Martin SD, “Kokopelli”
Second Place: Linda Andersen, Lakeside, “Love Entangled”
Third Place: Jo Parkes, Hay Springs, “Welcome to My Cabin”
Large Non-Professionally Machine Quilted Quilts
First Place: Betty Heussmann, Chadron, “Forest Floor”
Second Place: Patty Calhoun, Whitney, “Modern Building Blocks”
Third Place: Patty Chasek, Chadron, “Gravity”
Small Hand Quilted Quilts
First Place: Kay Nickerson, Chadron, “Over the River and Through the Woods”
Second Place: Terri Morris, Gordon, “Oh My”
Third Place: Sandy Rudloff, Crawford, “Double Wedding Ring”
Small Professionally Quilted Quilts
First Place: Monty Fralick, Martin SD, “Panfish: That’s What’s For Dinner”
Second Place: Linda Andersen, Lakeside, “Cotton Club Block of the Month Quilt”
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Third Place: Rachel Henkle, Chadron, “Hexagons”
Small Non-Professionally Quilted Quilts
First Place: Cheryl Johnson, Hay Springs, “Patchwork Barn Quilt”
Second Place: Katy Miller, Chadron, “Proverb Medallion”
Third Place: Mary Vallette, Rushville, “Orphan Blocks”
First Place: Jo Parkes, Hay Springs, “Elegant Garden”
Second Place: Judy Moss, Gordon, “Shiny Happy Houses”
Third Place: (tie) Sharon Hardin, Gordon, “Butterflies”
Kay Nickerson, Chadron, “Postcard Cuties for Winter”
First Place: Pam Anderson, Chadron, “Crazy Sunshine”
Second Place: Jeanine Mohr, Chadron, “World Relief Quilt”
Third Place: Lila Anderson, Chadron, “Free Hand Stars”
First Place: Kim McCroden, Crawford, “Harvest”
Second Place: Patti Chasek, Chadron, “Tempus Fugit”
Third Place: Kay Nickerson, Chadron, “Quail Family”
First Place: Donna Mittleider, Rapid City, “New Year’s Resolution”
Second Place: Carol Leonard, Alliance, “Primitive Pinwheels”
Third Place: Janice McCallum, Chadron, “120 Half-Square Triangle Challenge”
Miscellaneous Quilted Items
First Place: Phyllis Burk, Chadron, “Midnight In the Woods”
Second Place: (tie) Cheryl Johnson, Hay Springs, “New Arrival, Spring”
Mary Lou Anderson, Gordon, Crazy Quilt Christmas Tree Skirt”
Third Place: Phyllis Burk, Chadron, “Stars and Geese”
First Place: Julia Russell, Hay Springs, “Cowboy Boots/Texas Two Step”
Second Place: Ellie Weatherwax, Oxford, “Eloise Elephant”
Third Place: Alexa Tonjes, Rushville, “Rodeo Up”
First Place: Patti Chasek, Chadron, “Grandma’s Treasures”
Second Place: Charlotte Kriz, Chadron, “Crazy Quilt”
Third Place: Whitney Tewahade, Chadron, “Letters from Tea”
First Place: Whitney Tewahade, Chadron, “Dahlia Star”
Second Place: Jamie O’Byrne, “1930’s Butterfly Quilt”
Third Place: Joan Raymer, Hay Springs, “Double Wedding Ring”
First Place: Megan Kempt, Lebanon, “Western Wedding Quilt”
Second Place: Betty Heussman, Chadron, “Flower Dance”
Third Place: Jo Parkes, Hay Springs, “Prayer Garden”