American quilting traces its roots to early settlers who needed to conserve precious man-made resources in a vast yet challenging new continent.

Instead of throwing out remnants of cloth, enterprising pioneers and other settlers would stitch their materials together to create new pieces.

Today the tradition is alive and well, and its local fans--members of the Tucson Quilter's Guild--will celebrate it at their annual show at the Tucson Convention Center from January 20 to 22, 2012.

Guild member Susie Weaver says quilting is much more than a hobby or a skill. For many people, it becomes a lifestyle.

She got involved about 20 years ago and now feels she's part of an extended family that shares ideas and good times while helping out different charities in the community, she tells Arizona Illustrated.

"It's an expression of yourself, it's a social event. You can belong to little clubs, smaller groups, individuals," Weaver says.

In addition to the annual show, those who want to learn more about quilting and its colorful history will also be able to visit an exhibit by the Arizona Historical Society, which is holding a year-long event in conjunction with the Arizona's centennial celebration.

Called "100 Years, 100 Quilts," the exhibition will remain open from February 18 to December 31, 2012 in the Arizona History Museum at 949 E. 2nd Street in Tucson.