Club Development and Governance
The Estrella Mountain Stars, a chapter of the Arizona Quilt Guild began with a group of women taking beginning quilting class at Estrella Mountain Community College approximately 1995, taught by Susan Nixon. While the names of all these women are not known, early members of the club included: Edna DeFord, Nancy Hoth, Kathleen O’Connell, Nancy Treece. Donna Wisnoski. Faith Kalback, Jeanette Martin, Connie Mirkovich, Jinny Pearson. Susan Nixon, Marianne Randall, Jene Hoglund, Barb Collette, Ann Key, Kristina Snyder, Pam Myers, Ann Key, Lucy Gramon, Mary Boyd, Lucy Bramon, Joan Zimmerman, Gretchen Frieberg, Isabella Johnson, Joan Salik, Simone Jacobs, Debbie Thomas, Kim Hill, Nancy Peppard, Pam Myers, Barbara Katz, Pauline Kinsley, Evelyn Kaylor, Priscilla Naworski, Kay Wood, Alice Miner, Norma Coats, Rebecca Reissner, Joan Johnson, Illene Hodgedone, Elnora Chugg, Dody Balogh, Jinny Pearson, Sandy Wattawa, Lil Ogleby
They wanted to have a chapter in the west valley. Their teacher, Susan Nixon, was a long-time member of the Arizona Quilt Guild. In 1995 The group started meeting at Susan’s House and Marianne Randall’s house – twice month. By the spring of 1995, a small group of quilters from Pebble Creek started coming to these meetings. They soon decided to meet at Pebble Creek because the facilities were bigger, and they wanted to have an organized program.
In 1996 the group joined the Arizona Quilt Guild and were organized as the Estrella Mountain Stars Chapter. Later that year they changed their name to The Estrella Mountain Quilters when they learned the Estrella means “star” in Spanish.
The group benefited from their affiliation with AQG. There were resources for guild chapters to get organized, visiting teachers from AQG and the ability to collaborate with other guilds. From the very beginning, they started having classes and quilter’s academies for new quilters, donating to charities, getting involved in many quilt shows, going to Tuscan, Road to California and quilt shows in the Phoenix area. They also attended and hosted events with other quilt guilds.
While records from those early years a sparse, the first reliable record we have regarding members was from 1998 and noted we had 35 members. We have grown steadily over the years and now had over 200 members by 2022. Grown was due to classes offered for new quilters and the increase in homes being built at Pebble Creek.
In 2009, the Club had to discontinued affiliation with the ACG because HOA did not allow non-residents to be members of PC Clubs. At this time the club name was changed to the Pebble Creek Quilters Club.
In 2019, Jackie Cameron participate in a logo contest and created the Pebble Creek Quilters Logo.
Education has been a key activity for our club. Classes for new quilters and classes on different quilting techniques has and continues to be a major source of inspiration, fun, and yes at times frustration. It is also a way to meet new members and friends. We have classes provided by many of our talented members, visiting instructors, and during the pandemic – even classes on Zoom.
In 2000, the first quilt academy was held.
In 2009, The first longarm quilting machine was purchased. Jeanette Martin who was an experience longarm quilters taught others who to use the machine.
Looking back, the themes remain the same. We love it all. Traditional quilts, modern quilts, art Quilts, quilted home decor, totes, etc.
In 2003, we worked together with the Knimble Needlers and co-sponsored the first fundraising quilt. According to Donna Wisnoski, after 2 years of selling tickets - four thousand dollars was raised. That is the equivalent of nearly $6,200 in 2022.
We continue to have an annual opportunity quilt to raise funds for supplies going toward the numerous charities we support.
Kathleen O’Connell issues the first annual quilt challenge. Challenges are meant to inspire quilters and range from using a particulate type of block, technique, color scheme, or influence by art such as an artist, or even music. According to Kathleen, who was interviewed in 2022, the most successful challenge was the Crayon Challenge. Members chose 3 crayons out of a bag and had to make a quilt using only those colors.
PC Quilters worked on charity projects not only within our group but with other clubs. In fact, our community service became such a big focus in 2004 the first year a Community Service Chair was selected. Today this committee has 13 members.
Service to the community has always been a big part of club work. New Life Center (1997), Red Cross (2000), St. Jude’s (2003), Head Start (2006-2008), Abrazo (2009), MOAA (2013), Southwest Advocacy 2017, Humane Society (2018), Ryan’s House (2019).
We also donated quilts for: Goodyear civic office. West Valley Health Center.
Veterans Quilt Awards
In 2017, Liz Gray coordinate the first Veteran’s Appreciation Quilt presentation. This was integrated into the PC Veteran’s Activities Program. In 2018, Cynthia Schwartz worked with the PC Activities Director, Patty Schultz and turned the event into what became an annual luncheon specifically for the veterans, their family members, and members of the PC Quilters club wanting to honor the veterans.
In 1996 the Pebble Creek “Arts and Crafts Centers” opened Quilt Show
In 2004 we held our first Quilt Show. This became a biannual event. From 2005 –2011 the quilters thought outside of the box and started having their quilt show by decorating the PC model homes with them. They had a lot of fun placing quilts on beds and decorating the homes with quilted items.
Fellowship (AKA FUN).
We quilters like to have fun. Over the years, we’ve taken road trips to quilt shows, and retreats and most often quilt stores. These are all opportunities to get to know each other better and have fun.
Early on the “Road to California" was a popular annual quilt show for the quilters. They took classes and were inspired by the quilt show entries. The quilters also visited other quilt guilds and hosted other quilt guilds.
In 2019, to encourage more interaction among members, we started some small groups focusing on topics of interest to a subset of our members like quilting using embroiders, using a serger, using a featherweight, and just good old kitchen table sewing, reminiscent of sewing bees. “Show and Tell” was always one of the most enjoyed parts of the monthly meetings.
Quilting Activity during the 2019-2020 Covid 19 Pandemic
During this time everyone was in quarantine and the Creative Arts Center was closed. Meeting and programs continued using Zoom. Quilters made thousands of face masks for residents of Pebble Creek, hospitals, hospice and the Navajo Nation. Quilters continued to make charity quilts at home.