Cindy Cloward with a finished quilt featuring Wizard of Oz fabric that will be available in stores soon. | Nicole Kunze

Local quilt makers may submit entries through July 7

Riley Blake Designs, one of the leading fabric manufacturers in the country, is preparing to celebrate their tenth anniversary and Cindy Cloward, Co-Founder and Creative Director, wanted to do something big. A chance meeting with Karen Ashton, one of the founders of Thanksgiving Point, at a quilt show has turned Cloward’s idea into what promises to be the largest outdoor quilt show in the country this September.

“We wanted to do something fun for the community of sewists, as well as our local community, to celebrate our tenth anniversary. I wanted it to be a big party, a big celebration. The idea of an outdoor quilt show at Ashton Gardens had been percolating in my head for a while,” recalled Cindy Cloward. “Karen told me she doesn’t do anything small. That’s fine because I don’t either!”

Bret and Cindy Cloward started Riley Blake Designs in Alpine ten years ago. Bret Cloward’s family owned a fabric shop, so he grew up in the business. When Bret and Cindy inherited the family business in 2005 after Bret’s father passed away, they spent four years immersing themselves in the fabric and quilt business before putting their own take on it. Cindy noticed the market was missing bright, playful, cheerful fabrics, and that was the inspiration behind the Riley Blake fabric trademark, starting with the very popular chevron pattern.

Months after Cindy Cloward and Karen Ashton’s first meeting, representatives from Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point met with Cloward and the ball started rolling on an outdoor quilt show. Garden of Quilts will be held Thursday through Saturday, September 12 – 14, at Ashton Gardens. Quilt submissions are being accepted until Sunday, July 7, at midnight for the curated show. (This will not be a juried quilt show with prizes.) “We really want our Utah quilters to submit their quilts. We want to put on a great show! There are people coming from all over the country and we want to showcase Utah quilters,” said Cloward. The application to submit a quilt is online at https://www.thanksgivingpoint.org/events/garden-of-quilts.

Cindy Cloward has been working with the gardeners at Thanksgiving Point to find the best places to hang the submitted quilts. They are cataloging all the quilts that are entered and displaying them in different categories. Children’s quilts will be hung near the carousel, floral quilts in the rose garden, religious and inspirational in the Light of the World garden. Karen Ashton will have her own quilt collection in the Secret Garden and will conduct tours at noon each day of the festival. “We want this to be a celebration of all quilts, all skill levels,” said Cloward. There will be a charity tent where quilters will gather to sew quilts to be given to different charities.

Garden of Quilts will feature expert teachers from all over the country and Australia who will teach classes on Friday and Saturday, September 13 and 14, as well as a Jenny Doan Trunk Show on Thursday evening, September 12. Those who don’t want to take a class can wander the gardens and enjoy the quilts on display or take in a trunk show or demonstration under the tents.

“This is a pretty monumental undertaking, but we couldn’t have a better partner than Thanksgiving Point. We’re lending our expertise in the quilting arena and they’re bringing all their experience with event planning at their beautiful venue. It really is going to be amazing,” said Cloward.

Liberty of London Fabrics, the 144-year-old iconic heritage fabric brand, is coming to Garden of Quilts to give a lecture and offer exclusive fabric bundles just for the event. Riley Blake is the exclusive distributor of Liberty of London fabrics in the United States.

The Trellis Restaurant is fine-tuning an English garden-style High Tea during Garden of Quilts as well. For every Thanksgiving Point event, there is a specialty food only available during the event and for Garden of Quilt that will be an English scone and clotted cream. “They nailed the scone! It’s so good,” said Cloward.

“I think women will always love beautiful fabric. They will always love to create. Quilting is an art form. Quilts stay done! They are heirlooms that can be passed on from generation to generation. It’s the way we show our love, our creativity, and our industry. It just makes you feel good,” said Cloward.

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