Renowned quilter coming to Morgantown for demonstration

By Tiffany Morgan, The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — Patricia makes it look easy.
For 40 years, Patricia Knoechel and her sister Eleanor Burns have been passionate about one thing: quilting.
Knoechel, a renowned quilter from Carlsbad, Calif., will be using her sister’s newest book from her Quilt in a Day series, titled “40 Fabulous Years with Eleanor,” for a demonstration on May 22 in Morgantown. Burns has written over 100 books on quilting and was also inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame in 2012.
“A lot of people know me but I talk about my sister,” she said. “She got a lot of people addicted to quilting.”
Knoechel said that quilting is “intimidating until you break it down into simple shapes.” She said her sister has a “talent for engineering the blocks, so they go together very quickly,” from her techniques to her books.
“Her books are the best. I’ve seen other people’s books and they don’t give you nearly as much instruction and that’s why she got so many people started 40 years ago,” Knoechel said.
Knoechel said her sister stands out from other quilters because her techniques are concise enough to comprehend.
“Just her techniques are easier than traditional quilting, and her directions are so clear,” Knoechel said. “She tells you exactly how to press the seam and how to pick your colors and everything is just very easy to understand.”
The quilting demonstration was a previous annual event, but came to a halt in 2016 when Knoechel retired. The show was revived this year when Knoechel decided to come out of retirement and get back on the road to continue showing quilters new techniques and keep the passion of quilting alive.
Knoechel said that she came back out of retirement because of the people.
“I really miss the people, that was just the best part,” Knoechel said.
When she was retired, Knoechel said she had more time to quilt, which allowed her to create new patterns that she wanted to share, which is another reason she went back on the road.
“I have a stack of quilts from the floor up to the ceiling, that’s how I would judge the number of quilts I’ve made,” she said.
The demonstration will take place at St. Thomas a Becket Episcopal Church, 75 Old Cheat Road. Participants can choose from two sessions, an afternoon and evening demonstration. The afternoon session will be 1:30-3:30 p.m. and the evening at 6:30-8:30 p.m. and the admission for each session is $5.
To reserve a seat for one of the sessions, email your name, phone number and choice of session to .
According to Carol Spears, a member of Country Roads Quilt Guild, she was immediately inspired by Knoechel’s patterns. Spears recalled “years ago,” when attending her very first demonstration of Knoechel’s. What caught Spear’s attention was Knoechel’s quilt titled, “Delectable Mountains.”
From the moment Spears looked at the quilt, she immediately thought “Oh man, that looks hard,” but had soon been encouraged by Knoechel’s demonstration because of the methods she used to teach those who are just beginning or improving upon their quilting skills.
“She breaks it down in a way that is easier than it looks,” Spears said.
Spears, who has been a member of Country Roads Quilt Guild for 21 years, said the demonstration is also an approach to present to the community their organization of quilters.
“It’s a way to introduce our guild to other people,” Spears said. “We try to promote quilting and the education of it, too.”
Previous turnouts of the demonstration, before Knoechel retired, have had 40 people in attendance. According to Spears, there are currently 37 who have already signed up but she expects the numbers to exceed previous years since Knoechel has come out of retirement and “this might be our only opportunity to get her back.”
“It’s been a couple of years since she’s been here, so it’s really exciting that she’s coming back,” Spears said.
Spears said what makes quilting so unique and personable are “all of the hours you put into a project.”
“You’re putting yourself into it and it will become an heirloom,” Spears said. “Quilting is a work of love, especially when you’re making it for someone else.”
Spears hopes those who attend the demonstration seek “inspiration to try new quilts and new techniques.”
“It’s really inspiring … she’s really inspiring,” Spears said.
Knoechel’s favorite thing about piecing together the fabric is the use of color. She was previously an art teacher and has always loved working with color the most, especially when quilting.
“Color is therapy and quilting is therapy, too,” Knoechel said. “The best thing about quilting is you can spend your entire life quilting and you never run out of ideas or fabric or projects.”
Her therapy has always been quilting. Knoechel has found herself time and time again getting lost in the fabric and color.
“It is the best therapy. We always say quilters live longer because you start quilting and you just get so involved, you forget that you have any problems — they just seem to disappear when you start quilting,” Knoechel said. “The colors are therapeutic, sometimes you get lost and you don’t want to stop.”
Knoechel is excited to return to Morgantown to see the people and see the city again.
“The people make me feel really warm and they’re just always enthusiastic,” Knoechel said. “I really like the city, it’s a college town and it’s just young and progressive. I always enjoy Morgantown.”

Patricia Knoechel will demonstrate quilting techniques May 22 at St. Thomas a Becket Episcopal Church, 75 Old Cheat Road. Sessions will be 1:30-3:30 p.m. and 6:30-8:30 p.m. and each costs $5 to attend. Reserve a seat for either session, by emailing name, phone number and choice of session to .