Threads of life weave hope

By From page B1 | August 16, 2013


"AUSTRALIAN FRIEND" by Jim Estey, a handmade quilt, a yarn bowl by Brian Hayes, a gourd by Margie Lopez-Reid and a pastel by Kathryn Hall are some of the items that will be up for bid at the Threads of Life Quilt and Fine Art Auction on Saturday, Aug. 17. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

What: Threads of Life Quilt and Fine Art Auction

Who: Marshall Medical Center’s Cancer Resource Center through the Marshall Foundation for Community Health

Where: Shadowridge Ranch, 3700 Fort Jim Road in Placerville

When: Saturday, Aug. 17 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Cost: Tickets are $25 per person and include wine tasting and light fare

Information: 530-622-1121

There are angels among us and some take wing by weaving threads of hope into beautiful, artistic quilts that are offered for auction to support care for victims of cancer in El Dorado County.

Suzie Quinnell of Cameron Park has her halo firmly in place as she and other members of her quilting group, Wild Wednesday Women, have been painstakingly creating wonderful quilts that will be auctioned Saturday, Aug. 17, during Threads of Life Quilt and Fine Art Auction.

Proceeds from the biannual event support Marshall Medical Center’s Cancer Resource Center through the Marshall Foundation for Community Health.

Since 2007 some $47,000 has been raised from Threads of Life, benefitting any cancer patient fortunate enough to discover the help and support offered by the Cancer Resource Center, located in Cameron Park.

The Threads of Life Auction this year will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Shadowridge Ranch, 3700 Fort Jim Road in Placerville, with the live auction set for 7 p.m.

Tickets are $25 per person and include wine tasting and light fare. There also will be a no-host bar and live music.

Tickets are available in Placerville at Flowers on Main and at the Marshall Foundation for Community Health. In Cameron Park, they may be purchased at the Cancer Resource Center, 3581 Palmer Drive, Suite 202.

This year’s auction can’t fail to be a success, based on the lovely and intricate quilts that will be auctioned along with other fine art during the evening at the Shadowridge Ranch, located just southeast of Placerville.

One of those assuring that bidders will leave happy is Quinnell, who demonstrated her work for the Mountain Democrat on a recent Wednesday in her living room in Cameron Park. She has set up an impressive work studio where the artful quilts are produced.

Quinnell, 66, said she discovered that quilting was her niche in the early 1990s and has been donating some of her stunning pieces to the Threads of Life effort for a half-dozen years now.


A passion

“I have a passion for it and I love what we do for Marshall’s Cancer Resource Center,” said Quinnell as she sat down at her sewing machine and worked on a quilt that actually was started by another member of the sewing group donating her work.

Quinnell explained that there are three layers to a quilt: the top (the part that contains the artful patterns), the batting and the backing.

Her expertise with the needle leads to some quilters seeking her help in finishing the quilts they start. Quinnell puts the layers in place and stitches the entire quilt together.

The time-consuming task of quilting, which most would find daunting, is near and dear to Quinnell, as her mother died from breast cancer a few years ago and Quinnell, herself, dealt with breast cancer just last year.

“I think it is really wonderful what they do at the Cancer Resource Center, so I am really happy to be part of the Threads of Life.”

A retired human resources manager for a large industrial firm in San Jose, Quinnell moved to Cameron Park with her husband Jerry in 2000. Jerry passed away three years ago, but Suzie Quinnell said she has no plans to live anywhere but in her quiet, well-groomed neighborhood.

Her softly lit living room-quilting studio lends itself to creative thoughts as bright pink blossoms on crape myrtle trees in her front yard outline the home of an artist. The tranquility is broken only by the welcome yapping of her two small dogs, Buddy and Sabrina, as they say hello to guests.

And while a sign on the front porch declares that “Quilters lead ‘pieceful’ lives,” once Quinnell and the other eight members of her quilting club gear up for Threads of Life, all bets are off as the buzz of sewing machines fills the air.

Many of the quilts that will be auctioned Aug. 17 may be viewed at Flowers on Main, 318 Main St., Placerville.

Call 530-622-1121 for more information.

Suzie Quinnell said there is no firm formula for placing a value on each quilt, as the time and effort involved varies widely. Each represents the work of women intent on helping their community while enjoying their artistic passion for quilting.

Pat Lakey

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