QuiltCon 2021 Community Outreach Quilt

Author: Rochelle Rosales, 2020 Quiltcon Quilt Committee

“Data Drop”

This year’s QuiltCon Quilt Theme was CURVES. This fairly straightforward theme provided a lot of options for the design of our quilt. However, many of us were not very experienced with curves, and others were experienced enough with them to know that we didn’t like sewing them. But, as always, we forged ahead and established a committee to come up with a design and execution plan.

Planning and Design

The guild always tries to integrate our local area into our quilt design, whether representing our agricultural history, technology development, or the beauty of our local environment. We considered many ideas for this years quilt, keeping in mind the theme of curves and the color palette provided, some of our ideas included: integrated circuits, The Golden Gate Bridge, aerial views of orchards, California poppies, and representations of the sea, land, and ocean.

Challenge color palette

Ultimately, the winning idea was to create curve-based graphs or charts as quilt blocks. These could be circle charts, pie charts, curved linear graphs, and more. Members could choose any data set they wanted as long as it reflected our local area or state.

  • Quilt block guidelines:
    • Feature curves (any technique)
    • 11″ x 11″ finished block size
    • Use only fabric provided – Kona cotton solids in palette colors
      • Royal blue background (not to be used in chart)
    • Block must represent actual data
    • Data must be related to Silicon Valley or California


In addition to the challenge of designing and making the quilt, we had to distribute fabric, gather blocks, source quilting, and finish the quilt while sheltering in place, with no in-person meetings. We decided to host a Zoom meeting to help people who might be intimidated by either the data analysis or by piecing curves. We also distributed fabric via an online sign up form and by establishing distribution locations at member’s homes throughout the area.

Each member chose data that they wanted to show in their block. Some of the data is about the people who live in Santa Clara County, the San Francisco Bay Area, or California. Other blocks cover a wide range of data, like the growth of our guild, the rise of vote-by-mail over a number of elections, damage caused by the recent wild-fires, homelessness, and California water use. We were so impressed with the variety of both the data represented and the method of representing it.

Finishing the Quilt

We arranged the blocks in an off-grid layout with plenty of negative space. Our backing fabric was fun and colorful, we loved how it showed images of people, referring back to some of the census-type data shown in the blocks. We chose a large circular pattern using dark orange thread for the quilting, to echo the blocks and add to the graphic impact.

To bring home the theme of representing data, we even incorporated data into the binding, using fabric colors to show which counties our members live in.

CountyNo. of Members% of MembersBinding LengthBinding Color
Santa Clara6964%197Blue
San Mateo1514%43Dark Orange
Alameda1312%37Light Blue
Binding data

The quilt came out great. We love the bold colors, clean lines and overall graphic quality of the blocks and the layout. As always, many thanks to our members for making blocks, the organizing committee for the design and execution of the quilt, and to Lucky Penny Quilting for the quilting.

The Data

For those who are curious, hover over a block in the quilt below to see the data that is represented in the graph.

Quilt Block Data

Quilt Block Data

  • Acres burned in California for the past 5 years

  • Age distribution in Santa Clara County

  • Modes of transportation to work in San Francisco Bay area

  • Language spoken at home
    • US (outer)
    • Santa Clara Co. (inner)

  • Age distribution in Santa Clara County

  • Acres burned in 4 CA fires in summer 2020

  • Spoken Language in California

  • Silicon Valley age distribution
    • 24% - under 20
    • 29% - 20-39
    • 27% - 40-50
    • 16% - 60-79
    • 4% - 80+

  • Percentage of men vs women employed at Google
    • overall (outer)
    • management (middle)
    • executive (inner)

  • Applied water is used in California
    • 49% Aquatic Environment (rivers, managed wetlands, instream flows, required outflow)
    • 41% Agriculture
    • 10% Urban use.

  • Top 10 tech employers in Silicon Valley by number of employees
    • Google
    • Apple
    • Facebook
    • Cisco
    • Tesla
    • Applied Materials
    • Intel
    • Oracle
    • NVIDIA
    • Gilead/Juniper

  • Ethnic distribution of COVID-19 cases within the ethnic distribution of the population - for Santa Clara County
    • Covid-19 cases (center); population (outer)
    • Blacks/AfroAmerican = 4% Covid-19, 2% population
    • Whites/Caucasion = 30% Covid-19, 32% of population
    • Latinx = 34% Covid-19 cases, 26% population
    • Asian = 26% Covid-19 cases, 36% of population
    • Other/unknown = 6% Covid-19 cases, 4% population

  • Percent health insured for US, CA, Silicon Valley, and San Francisco

  • Education level in Santa Clara County
    • (grade school, high school, college, graduate, post grad)

  • SVMQG membership by year since inception

  • Adult education in Silicon Valley
    • 28% Bachelor's Degree
    • 25% graduate or professional
    • 22% Some college
    • 14% High School graduate
    • 11% Less than High School

  • Sources of power supplied by PG&E to Northern California
    • 33% Renewables
    • 27% Nuclear
    • 20% Natural Gas
    • 18% Hydroelectric
    • 2% Market Purchases.

  • Percentage of registered voters in Santa Clara County, who voted in person vs by mail, in presidential elections since the year 2000

  • Ethnic diversity of Cupertino
    • 67% Asian
    • 27% white
    • 3% mixed race
    • 2% other
    • 1% black

  • Race percentages of those experiencing homelessness per 2016 HMIS data.

  • Marital status in Santa Clara County
    • 55% married
    • 45% single

  • Amount spent on homeless services per category
    • Health care 53%
    • Justice system 34%
    • Social services 13%

  • Percentage of police killings in the San Francisco since January 2015
    • Asian - 10% of killings, 34% of population
    • Latin - 27% of killings, 20% of population
    • Black - 27% of killings, 7.4% of population
    • White - 32% of killings, 37% of population

  • Primary language spoken at home
    • Santa Clara County (center); United States (outer)
    • English = 46% SCC, 78% US
    • Spanish = 18% SCC, 13% US
    • Asian/Pacific Islander = 26% SCC, 4% US
    • Other IndoEuropean = 9% SCC, 4% US
    • Other = 1% both

  • Ethnicity in Santa Clara County

  • Median incomes for the cities bordering Cupertino
    • Los Altos - $216k
    • Saratoga - $173k
    • Sunnyvale - $118k
    • Santa Clara - $108k
    • San Jose - $104k

  • Age demographics for the homeless population in San Jose, including minors without adults

  • Where the homeless population in San Jose are living (Outside, car, abandon building, shelter, etc.)

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