Block Party

Quilt show attracts hundreds to view colorful, intricate artworks
By: Jenifer Gee, Journal Staff Writer
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Swaddled in a bold green and purple quilted vest with gold and green sparkly strands of beads draping from her neck, Marylee Drake points out something that really pops. She gestures toward one of her many quilts showcased at the Mardi Gras in the Foothills annual quilt show held at the Gold Country Fairgrounds Saturday and Sunday. It's a patch of fabric with a dragonfly sewed on top for a 3-D effect. The quilt is a compilation of shiny fabrics bought for $10 and beaded together to form lily pads and a blooming flower. I like to do it all. It's all such fun, Drake said Sunday, referring to the variety of quilt styles she makes. Drake, an 11-year plus veteran of sewing and stitching multiple fabrics and patterns together, was the featured quilter at this year's show. Her quilts were among the 350 or so displayed in the Armory Building, which is one of the largest number of quilts on display for the show in its 26-year history, according to Beth Foust, quilt show chairwoman. Quilters saw a crowd of more than 1,100 visitors on the show's first day Saturday, Foust said. Putting on the annual show is quite the labor of love, Foust said, but it's an effort that bonds the Foothill Quilters Guild each year. Everybody helps everybody. There's never been a shortage of volunteers, Foust said. The group starts meeting once a month in August to share ideas and tips. Foust coordinates the 30 chairs of committees such as judging, check in/out, door prizes and sales, programs and more. It all culminates into an event that Foust describes as one of the best shows around. Included in the show was the raffle of the group's opportunity quilt, which is a quilt that each group member played a part in creating, Foust said. For some beginning quilters, the show offered a chance to jot down ideas. Auburn residents Doreen Wood and her daughter, Melody, were slowly meandering around the hall. They snapped pictures of designs they liked, including one of a small quilt patch that looked like a stain-glass window. I think it's amazing, Melody said of the design of the quilts. Some of them look really hard. I hope I'm that good someday. Doreen said she felt the same awe for the quilts as she admired the intricacies of their designs. These people are such artists, she said. I had always thought of quilts as such basic, functional things but these are art. Others found that even simple quilt designs conjured up warm feelings. While looking at a quilt titled Spring Fever, Susan Moore, a Lincoln resident who has attended the foothill quilt show for the past six years, admired the way the quilter pieced together the design and colors. It's a simple quilt but it really looks like spring time. It makes you happy when you look at it, Moore said. As attendees traveled through the colorful displays, a few gawked up at the Best in Show quilts hanging from the ceiling. The brightly colored intricate quilts were just as varied as their names. Nae Nah's Bugs, Finally Finished My Trip Around the World, My Ex's Quilt and Daddy's Old Jeans. For Drake, the show's variety represents the essence of a guild she has been proud to be a member of for 10 years. Our guild has so many wonderful quilters, she said. We put on this show and everywhere you look there's just fabulous quilts. They're all so different. The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at or comment at