Today we introduce Elizabeth Roach of Topeka, Kansas, the other half of our quilty teen team. Her medallion-style Drunkard’s Path variation quilt won Grand Champion at the Jackson County Fair this summer, and just a few weeks later, it earned Best of Show at the Kansas State Fair. She just turned 14, but has been sewing since she was in third grade, and pieced and tied her first quilt when she was 8.
Her mother, Annette Roach, taught her to sew, and the two quilt a lot together, often doing BOM projects through their favorite shop, Quilting on the Square in nearby Holton, Kansas. Elizabeth also practices her skills on clothes and other sewing projects as a member of the Hoyt Livewires 4-H Club.
Plus, she sews for a lot of charity efforts, including stuffed bears for Operation Military Kids backpack program, which provides gift-filled backpacks as support for children whose parents are deployed overseas; and quilts for the Holton Christmas Bureau, which gives quilts to lower-income people in need.
With four older, non-sewing brothers and sisters, Elizabeth says jokingly that she fends off a few attempts to appropriate her finished quilts.
“They’re always really happy with what I do, and they always ask ‘Elizabeth, do you want to give that to me?’” she says. One sister is recently engaged, though, so Elizabeth is already planning a gift quilt.
She says her award-winning Drunkard’s Path variation is the biggest quilt she’s ever made—super king-sized!–and it was the first time she’s ever tried curved seams. Although she had the quilting done by longarmer Jan Shenk, she worked with Jan to select patterns and thread colors that would enhance the pattern and highlight the quilting. It was tough squeezing in all the design work and sewing around a family move to Topeka, about 40 miles away, plus a long car trip to Montana just before the fair. That’s when the binding got finished.
“My Mom wants me to say this. My dad’s name is Douglas, and I finished the binding in Douglas, Wyoming,” Elizabeth says. (Can’t you just see her eyes rolling? LOL!) “I screamed when I was done. I was so happy! I was relieved, too… I always like having my quilt in the fair and having people see it.”
what’s your fave part of quilting?
Just getting to see it when it’s all done and put together, and seeing what you’ve done with it.
and what do you not enjoy as much?
When it just gets overwhelming and it just seems like there’s more and more and more. Like on this one, it had so many curves it felt like it went on forever, and it just kept going!
we heard you did a little original design work on your award-winning quilt pattern…
When I drew it out, I thought it was going to be a good size, and when I got it layed out on the floor, it’s like huuuuuge, ginormous!
how long did it take you to piece it?
This might sound totally ridiculous, but I did it in about two weekends, or four days. I worked 24/7.
I hadn’t even started it yet, and we were trying to move, so all my stuff was stored, and then the fair wa coming up, and if I wanted it quilted, I had to get it done. We found most of it in storage, and then got it all cut out, and then I realized I did not enough. We had to go buy more fabric, and then the fabrics were out, so I had to rip and choose new fabric. I also had church camp that week. It was just laying on our floor the whole week!
what are you working on right now?
We’ll probably do (Operation Military Kids) bears again, and making blankets for teenage mothers.
what do you think about the modern style of quilting?
I think it looks cool, because it’s just like it’s going everywhere