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Chandler Centennial LogoCentennial Quilt

The Chandler Senior Quilters Guild created a special Centennial Quilt in honor of Chandler’s 100th Birthday.
Chandler Centennial Quilters Group

Close-up of quilting
The quilt will be on display at these following locations in 2012:

August Basha Library, 5990 S. Val Vista Drive
September Environmental Education Center, 4050 E. Chandler Heights Road
October Downtown Public Library, 22 S. Delaware Street
November Sunset Library, 4920 W. Ray Road
December Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Avenue

Close up of one of the quiltersSpecial thanks to:

Donna Bitner
Judy Monninger
Pat Carlson
Verla Morris
Ronnie DeLao
Nick Simiz
Dorine Douglas
Emily Spencer
Cat Fiebka
Carol Temple
Betty Jensen
Beverly Van Nortwick
Kathy McHugh
Susie Villarreal
Clela Mann
Doris Woerner
Janice Marks
Irene Woods

Many of the quilters who participated in the quilt shared their stories with us!

Donna Bitner
My grandmother and aunts were quilters from way back in the early 1900s. This looked very interesting to me then but I never really got into it until I retired. My friend invited me to the Senior Center in 1998 and I have been here ever since. I have just recently learned to quilt blocks rather than just sewing squares together. I get better all the time.

Chandler Centennial Quilters Group QuiltingPat Carlson
I moved here from Illinois one and half years ago. I took a quilting class at the Senior Center and have been quilting ever since. I love quilting and talking with all the quilters.

Ronnie DeLao
I started quilting in 1978. I made my first for my mother’s “Mother’s Day” and birthday gift. Then I continued later on in years and I do more learning while here at the Chandler Senior Quilting Guild. I have learned so much quilting here from these girls. I got interested in quilting from a Mormon family from New Mexico.

Catherine (Loomis) Fiebka
I started coming to the wonderful Chandler Senior Center in the Spring of 2009. I had been referred to the center by Arla at the Cutting Edge Quilt Shop in Chandler to learning hand quilting. Little did I know of the great friendships I would have to complete me. The women took me in with open arms and taught me more than quilting, on several visits while quilting, always encouraging. To have the chance to be a part of a historical quilt which has enabled me to learn more of the roots I am putting down for my family in this area. I am now a diehard quilter and I love Arizona.

Betty M. Jensen
My name is Betty M. Jensen and I moved to Chandler, Arizona in December 2006 after living in Tucson, Arizona for twelve years. My quilting career started when I was seven years old as I would sometimes be allowed to “add a few stitches to the quilt in progress” by a Ladies Aid group at church in Kansas. I love to quilt. It relaxes me and I have created many quilts including one of the “Scenes of Wyckoff, New Jersey” and “Arizona Cactus Blooms” which was awarded “Honorable Mention” by the Tucson Quilt Show in 2003.

Group of 3 ladies quiltingsClela Mann
I have been quilting about thirty years. I enjoy spending time with the ladies at the center.

Judy Monninger
It was 1970 and I was making little dresses for my daughter and decided to make a quilt with the scraps for her dolly. My love of quilting grew from there and I have been quilting ever since. I only learned to hand quilt after my husband died and I came to the senior center looking for friends and good companionship. I quilt sometimes 3 or 4 times a week and love it.

Kathy McHugh
In December, 1960, in Port Austin, Michigan, it was fifteen degrees below in four feet of snow, The Airmen were all watching football and we wives were all quilting. That was my introduction to quilting. I took a hand piecing class in Tucson, and machine quilting in Flagstaff. I joined the Quilting Guild here upon my retirement. What fun.

Nick Simiz
My name is Nick Simiz and this is a story about my life, from since I left Romania until present day. I was born in 1936 and lived under communist rule for over 32 years. In 1971, I decided to flee the system because I was unable to own my own business and get a license for custom tailoring. In late July 1971, I crossed Yugoslavia, and arrived in Italy via means of a tour bus and decided to stay in Italy, seeking political asylum, after only 5 days of traveling. From August 1, 1971 until March 24, 1972 I was in a refugee camp waiting for my immigration papers to go through to be able to immigrate to the United States of America. In late March 1972, I arrived in New York City’s Kennedy airport. The World Wide Church’s Counsel agency was waiting for us, a total of 50 Romanians. Monday, March 27th, 1972 they took us to a work agency on 42nd street. The 50 Romanians in the group consisted of engineers, architects, doctors, nurses, bookkeeping, etc.

Chandler Centennial Quilters Group QuiltingI was the only tailor in the group. The agent wasn’t able to get jobs for anybody else other than myself. I started work on that same day at 1pm. Minimum wage at that time was $1.90/hr. The job I got was able to give me $2.00/hr. I was proud to be able to support myself without collecting a penny from the U.S. Government. After about a year and a half, I worked in different places and was able to get up to $7.00/hr. I learned English via watching the television and reading the newspaper, because I did not have the time to go to school due to having to work so much. After learning English at an acceptable level I was then able to get my own business license to open up a custom tailor shop in Corona city, Rhode Island.

In 1976, I decided to move California where the sunshine was, and get away from the East Coasts frigid winters. I drove cross country in 3 days! I arrived in Santa Monica, and looked for a space to open up my own shop. I found one and got a license and ran a successful shop for 12 years. I met my wife and bought a house and achieved the American dream.

Another Italian tailor that had a contract with the movie studio that was working for Frank Sinatra and Jimmy Stewart, asked for my help to work on their clothes, because there was too much and he knew that my skills were good enough for the job. I gladly took the job and was able to meet the stars, and do their fittings and make their clothing. You can actually see one of the suits that I made for Jimmy Stewart on the Dean Martin Show! Due to ownership change I had to close that shop. I then got numerous jobs on Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, first at Versace, then Polo Ralph Lauren, where I met Dick Van Dyke and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Then in 1997, when Tommy Hilfiger opened up his business, I moved over there as Head Tailor. I met the band Nsync over there and fixed their clothes for a concert in Germany. Unfortunately, the store closed in 2001 and I went into retirement and ended up in Las Vegas in 2002. In Vegas I got a job at Brook’s Brother’s in Caesar’s Palace new wing.

Chandler Centennial Quilters GroupIn March 2008, I decided to move to Chandler, Arizona where my son lives. After one month, I discovered the Senior Center, where I met Carol the head of the Quilt shop, and I decided to donate one of my sewing machines and cutting table to her. I was able to work on the quilt for the 100yr anniversary of Chandler city. I am honored and happy to live in this city and want to wish it a very happy anniversary.

Emily Spencer
About thirty years ago a special friend had learned to quilt. I love to do hand work and her work was beautiful so she agreed to teach me. The Quilting Guild allows me enjoy quilting plus the fellowship with one another. So many of the quilters are multi-talented and love to do charity work.

Susie Villarreal
I started coming to the Senior Center I think about 2006. I work on my grandson’s, granddaughter’s baby quilts. I love working with all the ladies.

Doris Woerner
I've been quilting off and on since 1975. I made for many friends through the year, and enjoy their friendship. I am new here at the senior center. It's such a privilege to be included in this program.

Irene Woods
I started quilting when I was about fourteen years old, with my mom and grandmother. I have been quilting with the Quilting Guild for about seven years. I really enjoy going to the Senior Center to quilt. I try to make each quilt better than the first one. I just love making quilts and I made quilts at home.