A love of Quilting

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"I am blessed to have grown up in a family of industrious women. Both of my grandmothers, my great-grandmothers, and my countless aunts were quilters. Those who did not quilt were accomplished needlewomen and their homes were full of embroidered linens, crocheted treasures, knitted scarves, and hand-work of every shape and size." - A Quilted Memory

 

I learned to quilt from my paternal grandmother, Opal Wilson (featured in the center photograph above). Previous to her instruction, I thought I knew what I was doing and limped along with, sometimes, disastrous results. Opal and I often butted heads as we attempted to outdo each others stubbornness, but she taught me how to manipulate and stitch fabrics into beautiful quilts. Opal made countless quilts and quilted for others during her long career. We have estimated that she worked on over 300 quilts in her lifetime and was actively quilting well into her 90s.  

My maternal grandmother, Kathyrne Say (featured in the left photograph above), taught me to appreciate quilts, family, a mean game of cards, and strawberry jam. Kay was a jack-of-all trades in addition to being a hard-working farm wife. In her home, kitchen linens, dresser scarves, pillow cases, and tablecloths were all embellished with embroidery stitches. Grandma would say "we may not have had much but we made it look pretty."

As the only grandchild from either side who followed a quilting path, I inherited pieces from both my grandmothers and various family members.  The women in my family were frugal and I challenged myself to apply this same mentality to create memory quilts from these family pieces.  I love to incorporate the vintage items into my contemporary projects so the history continues to be passed down through the family.

 

As a young mother and military spouse, I started teaching in 1987. I continued to teach, create, and expand professional credentials while we moved where the Army sent us and raised our three children. Quilting was, and continues to be, my creative outlet.  My husband, Ralph, retired from the Army in 2003 and we now live in the Washington DC area where my home office and studio are currently located.

 

In 2018, my husband and I purchased a cute property in the Shenandoah Valley.  We have spent many weekends transitioning the home and barn into a wonderful get away space.  In the Spring of 2022, it will open as a retreat center where you can come sew with me and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of rural Virginia.

As much as I love watching my students grow their love for quilts, it brings me so much joy to see my young family members find this art form.  Two of my nieces, my daughter, and my oldest granddaughter have all found joy in quilting.  I love passing on the quilting history for the next generations to enjoy.  

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