SEQUIM — As she continues to coordinate setup for the show floor for the 33rd annual Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club’s Quilt Show, Karen Clatanoff moves this year from behind the scenes to front and center.
The 79-year-old retired court clerk is the club’s featured quilter, an honor bestowed by past winners, at the show, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at Sequim Middle School, 301 W. Hendrickson Road. Admission is $5.
“When they told me, I asked, ‘are you sure it’s not someone else?’ ” Clatanoff said.
But the humble quilter continued to plan for her display similarly to the show floor.
She has at least eight quilts picked out, many of which are ribbon winners from previous shows.
Clatanoff will set up next to more than 200 quilts from fellow local quilters in the gymnasium.
Seeing the gym transformed is her favorite part of the annual show, which coincides with the Sequim Lavender Weekend. (See story on Page A1).
“I love it,” she said. “I think it’s so wonderful.”
Clatanoff oversees all the hanging and takedown of quilts for the show.
She said prior to setup, organizers snap photos of each quilt going in the show and prearrange them by color and theme.
The Wednesday before each show, organizers tape off the gym floor, and a paid crew sets up posts and sheets for the quilts.
On Thursday morning, quilters bring in their quilts and vendors begin to setup, too.
Clatanoff said it’s not uncommon for organizers to move some quilts around “if something doesn’t feel right next to one another.”
Each club member is encouraged to bring in a quilt for the show, Clatanoff said.
Some of the popular attractions include Art Sue Quilts, a Country Boutique and Challenge Quilts.
The challenge this year includes making quilts centered around the rock band The Beatles.
Raffle tickets will be available throughout the weekend for the club’s annual raffle quilt “NorthWest Splendors” for $1 each.
The winning ticket will be drawn Sunday at the show. The winner doesn’t need to be present.
While working in Southern California, Clatanoff didn’t make quilts for an obvious reason.
“You don’t need quilts there,” she said. “It’s too hot.”
But she dabbled in sewing, crafts and making stuffed animals.
She and her husband Frank, a retired Los Angeles Police Department officer, moved to Sequim in 1993, and she quickly took to quilting.
While walking her dog in Sunland, a neighbor introduced himself, Clatanoff said, and invited her to join his wife with the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club.
“I liked sewing and crafts, so it seemed like a good fit,” she said.
She’s been with the club except for a few years when she took care of her aging parents.
Looking back at her first quilts she made, Clatanoff said she has improved because of classes offered by the club and local sewing shops.
She mostly focuses on machine appliqueé sewing, but said “once in a while I do something I’ve always wanted to try.”
When not sewing, Clatanoff volunteers one day a week in the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, plays pickleball and softball, and goes to church.
For more information on the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club, visit www.sunbonnet suequiltclub.org.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].