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The quilter selected for our June showcase is customer Bonnie Keller. Whether it's quilting, knitting, or hand embroidery, Bonnie does it all and more! A big fan of Kaffe Fassett and a whole lot of fun, Bonnie is both extremely knowledgeable and talented. We always look forward to seeing and talking to her!

1.   How did you get started in quilting?

My mother and both grandmothers were quilters. I have some of their quilts from the early 1900s-1970s that are completely handmade. 

I took 4-H Sewing when I was in elementary school and, for many years, made most of my clothes. I also sewed clothing and costumes for my two daughters.

My first attempt at quilting was in 1970. It was a baby quilt I'd made which was covered with appliquéd gingham flowers. I hand quilted it- (minimally). Unfortunately, I don't know what ever happened to it. But, somewhere I have a photo of a bare-butted baby on it.

When I retired, I went to work part-time at Sew What in Redding (a yarn and quilt store). I was determined that I would only knit, as I didn't want to begin another hobby. That only lasted a few months before I relented and tried quilting again. Once I started, I was hooked. I joined the Redding quilt guild and started attending quilting classes and groups at some of the local shops. 

2.   What is one quilting notion that you can’t do without?

My iron. I am a very fussy presser and have to press as I piece. Second, would be my seam ripper, which I use frequently.

3. If you're willing, please share a funny quilting experience that taught you a memorable lesson.

Maybe not funny, but more ironic, was my resistance to quilting. It's one of the hobbies that I now enjoy most!

4.  If it’s possible to choose just one, what is your favorite quilt that you’ve made?

My World Map quilt, which is not a masterpiece, but has been meaningful to the recipient. As she's a traveler, I sewed beads to mark each place that she has been. I have plans to make two more for family members. I also enjoyed it because maps were an important element in my career.

5. What do you do with your quilts?

I hang them on my walls, put them on my beds, give them as gifts, donate them and some get put away unfinished while I wait for inspiration to finish them.  

6. Have you ever received a quilt as a gift? If so, please share a bit about the experience.

I consider the inherited quilts from my mother and grandmothers as gifts. A couple of them are Grandmother's Flower Garden pattern. Since I've learned to quilt, I especially admire their use of cardboard templates and scissors - and no sewing machine! I also enjoy them because of the family history.

7.  What type of quilting do you most enjoy?

I especially enjoy art quilts.  But, I also like hand embroidered blocks and piecing.  I have done quite a few designs from Crabapple Hill.  Actually, I enjoy all of the aspects of any quilting project.  I love the geometry of quilts and all of the angles!  I even love shopping for the fabrics!

8.  We would love to include some personal details about you (anything you’d like to share) such as your profession, interests outside of quilting, future plans, etc.

I retired from Caltrans as an Engineering Technician, having previously worked at PG&E in Electric Mapping and Engineering Design.

I moved to Chico in 2021 and have been busy with home improvements, quilting, and taking OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) classes.  I've been a lifelong knitter, I love doing hand embroidery and making small sewing projects, and I've recently started doing some research into family history.

I have two daughters and three adult grandchildren. I enjoy spending time with them and making quilts for them. I especially enjoy quilt retreats, quilt shows, and meeting with other quilters.