The Western Showcase is one of my favorite exhibits at the Calgary Stampede, I usually drool over the beautiful art but this visit I was intrigued by the Quilts.
At the back of the Western Oasis there are dozens of quilts hanging from the rafters. The quilts are part of the Creative Arts and Crafts Competition , but there is one quilt that stands out from the others, the Calgary Stampede Centennial Quilt.
The idea for the Stampede Centennial Quilt began as a way for Western Heritage Showcase volunteers to show what Stampede means to them. It soon grew into an Alberta wide project.
Material was purchased, washed, ironed, cut into 924 squares and assembled into kits that were sent out to volunteer quilters all over Alberta. The quilters were asked to create a square telling the story of, “what Stampede means to you.” There was an overwhelming response and the quilt was born.
Here is what it took to make the project a success:
- 12 months from conception to completion
- A three hour work bee spent ironing, cutting the blocks and getting them ready to mail out as kits
- Countless hours by quilters who submitted their stories
- One month of hand stitching to complete the stampede logo in the centerpiece
- A ten-hour quilting bee arranging and sewing all of the blocks together.
- So many meters of fabric the volunteers lost count
- 12000 meters of thread to quilt the top to bottom
- 100 hours to quilt the top to backing
- 20 hours of hand stitching to attach the 44 feet of binding
In total, the Calgary Stampede Centennial Quilt features 102 quilt blocks completed by 100 quilters. Books are available for purchase ($20) with photographs of each quilt piece and an accompanying story. It is 10 feet by 12 feet and you can check it out at the Western Oasis in the BMO Center.