By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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“For a first-time entry, it's kind of crazy,” said Carmen Czachor, a 48-year-old Port Angeles veterinarian who owns Family Veterinary Clinic at the intersection of Mahogany Lane and U.S. Highway 101 on the eastern edge of town.
The large blue, green and purple “Prairie Star” quilt was selected along with 28 other quilts for the Northwest Quilting Expo, held in Sept. 20-22 in Portland, Ore.
That alone fulfilled the item from Czachor's bucket list.
Two days before the show opened to the public, show organizers called to tell her that her quilt had taken second place.
“I said 'Get the hell out of Dodge,'” Czachor said.
“Then I said, 'Did I really say that?'” she said with a laugh.
Czachor said she began her project with a pre-made star pattern, a Judy Niemeyer design, selected with an eye toward what it takes to win a quilt competition.
“It was a gorgeous pattern. Then I picked my favorite colors,” she said.
Quilt patterns by Niemeyer, a commercial quilt-pattern maker, allow for small detail work with perfect seams, both of which are required to do well in a show, said Czachor, spouse of Andrew May, who writes a gardening column for the Peninsula Daily News.
Czachor started cutting and piecing together the quilt in November 2011 and finished the pattern in May.
Then she turned it over to Terry Tomaki, a Port Angeles quilter, to sew together the three layers of fabric.
Tomaki also received a ribbon for her work on the quilt.
Once the quilt was complete, Czachor decided it was worthy of the competition and submitted it to the show for selection.
Many of the other quilts in the show, including the one that took first place, were heavily beaded in addition to the piecing and quilting aspects of the fabric pieces of folk art.
“I don't have the time for that,” Czachor said.
The large-sized quilts are intended to be used on beds, but many people use the beaded quilts as wall hangings, she said.
Czachor was unable to attend the award ceremony to collect her prize, so the ribbons were shipped back to her with the quilt, she said.
Czachor, who has been quilting for 25 years, is one of the younger quilters in the quilt world.
Czachor said she once jokingly told a quilt supply-shop owner that it was apparent that “the one with the most unfinished projects wins.”
“She told me, 'You're not old enough yet,'” Czachor said.
Working as a veterinarian and running a business, Czachor said she has less time to work on her quilts than many of the older, often-retired quilters.
Uses free time
She relies on free time after work or on weekends to put her quilts together and isn't sure how much this quilt could be sold for.
“I've seen quilts like it go at auction for more than $600,” she said.
But the quilt is not likely to be put on the market.
House pets are hard on quilts, and Czachor said at least one used on a bed in her home was damaged by claws to the point that it needed repair.
Czachor said the winning quilt will be going to a place where it will be safe from pets.
“It will be going to college with my son in a couple of years,” she said.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at email@example.com.