Making the 2024-25 Hawks Aloft Raffle Quilt

Cynthia Figueroa-McInteer, a retired architect, and Gail Garber began designing our newest quilt in the summer of 2023, using AutoCad software – the same software that we’ve used for most of the HAI raffle quilts. We wanted a design that bespoke of New Mexico, and began with a prominent Zia symbol, along with the classic thunderbirds that grace many of my quilt designs and a variety of roughed-out borders. This year’s design was soon Gail-icized with the addition of tiny little “Flying Geese” in the outer border that repeated the hand-dyed color gradations in the birds.

Gail’s long-time friends and superior quilters have always teamed up to get the raffle quilt done regardless of the challenging design or stitching methods. Gail and long-time friend, Donna Barnitz got together over the holiday break to stitch the middle, while other friends Barb Deshler, Cynthia, and Carol Meincke tackled the pieced birds. Master appliquer, Pat Drennan, hand stitched all the bird heads. 

We gathered at the home of Mary & Ed Chappelle on January 26 & 27 to stitch the rest of the quilt. Rick Deshler joined Ed at the cutting table that Friday afternoon and together they accurately cut the pieces while Mary, Barb and Gail began assembling sewing kits in preparation for the next morning. The rest of the team arrived bright and early Saturday morning: Vicky Harms, Liz Roberts, and Sami Sanborn. We set to stitching, laughing at various foibles, chatting and poking fun as only longtime friends can do! Stephanie Schulz stopped by to take action photos to document the process and we invited Steve Elkins, one of our favorite photographers, to arrive at 3 pm to take the final photo! That was overly optimistic and Steve and his wife, Mary, didn’t get the photo until nearly dark, and the quilt still lacked the final outermost border. But we did it! 

The quilt top moved on to master long-arm quilter, Tisha Cavanaugh for the next layer.  Tisha’s beautiful quilting added another layer of design to the pieced quilt top, and our team reassembled the week of March 2 to stitch the binding.  From there it was back to master photographer, Bob McInteer to take that final photo so you could see it in all its glory, and now your can purchase raffle tickets too! 

Tickets are  $1 each or 6/$5. Purchase yours here. We’ll draw the winning ticket on December 6, 2025! 

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