“A woman made utility quilts as fast as she could so her family wouldn’t freeze, and she made them as beautiful as she could so her heart wouldn’t break.’ Women’s thoughts, feelings, their very lives were inextricably bound into the designs just as surely as the cloth layers were bound with thread.”

~bell hooks, Belonging: A Culture of Place


For many years I was a traditional (every stitch by hand) quilt maker. I loved the sense of history, of continuity, the passing of a well-loved quilt from mother to daughter. I still sleep under one of my grandmother’s windmill patterned quilts even though it is faded and a bit tattered from long use.

Old quilts tell stories, each traditional quilt pattern offering a glimpse into the lives of the women who created them: Rocky Road to Kansas, Philadelphia Pavement, Arkansas Traveller, Double Wedding Ring, Flying Geese, Friendship Knot, Nelson’s Victory, Trip Around the World.

In more recent years, my work has turned away from the traditional patterns. After a workshop with Michael James, one of my favorite quilt makers, at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine (2003), I stuck my betweens (the tiny needles used to hand quilt) into an old pincushion, purchased a sewing machine that has 160 fancy stitches and speaks more languages than I do, and took off in a new direction, experimenting with new techniques.

Traditional or contemporary, I have always been enchanted by color: luscious reds, treasure chest golds, spicy oranges, leafy greens—rich, vibrant, playful, singing colors. Since the workshop with Michael, I have concentrated on wallhangings and pillows: sofa pillows, fragrant sachet pillows, and most recently, pillow books.


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