Lee Jaeger works on a quilt during a meeting of the Canyon Quilters. Jaeger started the group in October 2011 and she and her mother are its unofficial leaders.


If you've ever had an encounter with "the quilt police," you might understand why members of the Canyon Quilters are so dedicated to the group.

The quilters get together once a week at the Kirk-Bear Canyon Library, 8959 E. Tanque Verde Road, to chat, have fun and work on projects.

What they don't do is criticize each other's work.

More on that in a minute. But first, a bit about how the group got started.

Back in October 2011, the Kirk-Bear library asked Lee Jaeger, 53, if she wanted to start a quilting group. Already a part of the Tuesday Canyon Knitters group, Jaeger would sometimes bring in quilting projects she needed to finish and work on them in different conference rooms.

After a while, people started popping in and asking her if there was a quilt group.

"One of the women who had stopped in came up to me and asked me 'When are you going to put in a quilt group?' " Jaeger said. "And Sue, who is the librarian, said 'That's a good idea. Why don't you do it?' and the next thing I knew I was doing a quilt group."

The Canyon Quilters meets at 1 p.m. every Friday at the library.

Jaeger and her mom, Vera Jaeger, 94, are the "unofficial" leaders of the Canyon Quilters.

What sets the group apart, they say, is its laid-back nature.

"In quilting, they laugh about something called the 'quilt police,' " Lee said. "There are people who take it upon themselves to say 'You didn't make that right' and that's how they get to be called the quilt police."

Canyon Quilters members don't tolerate quilt police. Members agree that if you like the way your quilt turns out, it doesn't matter how you made it.

"It's your quilt - you do it your way," Vera said.

Even if people don't have a quilt to work on, they are welcome to show up to escape the heat and chat.

"When people have trouble and they just want to come in and talk, everybody just lets them talk," Vera said. "They don't offer any advice, and make no criticisms or opinions about it. They are just there for them."

Members of the group also make quilts for charities, including Project Linus, a national nonprofit organization that gives handmade blankets to sick and needy children.

Although the Canyon Quilters is very relaxed, some members participate in competitions or submit quilts to showcases.

The Tucson Quilters Guild puts on an annual show at the Tucson Convention Center in early January.

And quilting shops, such as the Quilters Market at 7601 E. Speedway, have competitions for prizes such as fabric or gift certificates. Lee participated in one in 2005 that required competitors to use a flamingo-themed fabric. Her quilt featured a flamingo in a bikini - with a bellybutton ring.

There are about eight core members of Canyon Quilters who last through the summer, but during the winter it can grow to a dozen members or more.

"I've been coming since fall but I've been quilting for many years," group member Charlie Riker said. "I walked in one day and saw (the group) sitting up here and said 'Oh gee,' and I stayed."

If you go

• What: Canyon Quilters

• When: 1-3 p.m. Fridays

• Where: Kirk-Bear Canyon Library, 8959 E. Tanque Verde Road

• Cost: Free

• Info: 594-5275

Kelsey O'Grady is a University of Arizona student who is an apprentice at the Star. Contact her at 573-4117 or at starapprentice@azstarnet.com