By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
The sounds in the Chase County Museum in Champion are muffled this week. That’s because the sound is being absorbed by 133 quilts and wall hangings on display.
The museum opened last Sunday with the annual community quilt show, which will continue this Sunday, May 18.
Besides the quilts submitted by community quilters, featured artist Debra Bauerle hung many of the 70 plus quilts she has created.
Bauerle, who was a 1975 Chase County High School graduate, began quilting in 2000, when a friend invited her to a beginning quilt class.
Although her mother, Bea, is a noted quilter in the area, Bauerle said she “didn’t pay too much attention,” as she was only back in the area infrequently.
She was living in California, where she was employed by Chevron, working in the financial department.
Besides working on special projects implementing new systems worldwide, Bauerle spent her last six years at Chevron in the corporate tax department.
She started working at Chevron after obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in accounting from Colorado State University.
She retired last June and two days later moved to Imperial, where she built a house in the Wesleyan Subdivision.
“I have a few quilts around. I have a couple on beds, some quilt racks and have some on chairs,” she said of her large collection.
Bauerle doesn’t know exactly how many quilts she has made. Over 70, for sure, but she has a number that are unfinished.
Like most quilters, she is usually working on more than one at a time. “I’ve never worked on only one thing. I work an hour or so every evening,” she said.
Bauerle specializes in needle-turned applique. A figure, a flower, a design is cut out of fabric, the edge is turned and sewn by hand onto the large fabric that comprises the quilt.
“I always liked to work with fabric, and did needlework when I was younger,” she said.
She said it was time to “get back into it” in 2000. She fell in love with applique after taking a class, and found that hand work relaxed her after working all day.
Hand applique is also portable, and may be done in a car, in the doctor’s office, where “you always have something to work on.
“You don’t sit down and be perfect the first time,” she said of applique. “It takes practice day after day after day.”
Although she’s never entered a project into a judged quilt show, Bauerle had three Halloween quilts on display at the Quilt Nebraska Show in Omaha several years ago that featured a Harry Potter theme.
One of her Halloween quilts, which is on display in Champion, won the Viewer’s Choice award.
Now that she’s retired, Bauerle hopes to explore other types of quilting. She wants to “see if I can get into machine quilting. I never spent the time to get good at it.” She has her projects machine-quilted by Theresea Reeves of Quilt Patch in Oberlin, Kan.
Other techniques she’d like to try include raw edge applique, paper piecing and embroidered quilts.
Besides quilting, Bauerle volunteers at the Imperial Community Center and “chases Mom around.”
She is also getting to know her family again. Besides parents Bea and Don Bauerle, she has brothers David and Dirk in the area, and sisters Dot Quiring of Henderson and Darice Cecil of Lincoln.
The quilt show at the museum will be open to the public Sunday from 1-4 p.m.