Wanda Gene's Musings on Life, Love and Loving the Quilting Life!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Making of a Quilter

Hello to All!

I come from a time, place, and family that placed quilting in high esteem.  It was my destiny, really.

We were Scottish and English, although I did not know that for many years.  Our family had been here in America since before the Revolution and were shaped by the rich cultural heritage of Appalachia.  We had been here so long that we forgot to teach our children where we had come from.

Both of my grandmothers were quilters, one from Kentucky, one from Ohio.  They lived about 30 miles from one another, but one considered herself a Southerner, and one did not.  They, were, however, united in their passionate love for making quilts.

Each did exquisite work.  Grandma Ferguson did only piecing and paid others to do the quilting for her.  Grandma Smith quilted from A to Z, sometimes for others, and sometimes even for my Grandma Ferguson.
I own and treasure one quilt started by one and finished by the other.

So I always marvel that my very first quilt that I made when I was just 20 years old was inspired, not by my quilting grandmas, but by the great-grandmother of my DH, Jerry.  She was known as Grandma Simones (sounds French but she was German).  She had made a quilt for Jerry when he was born.  She sheared the sheep and carded their wool to make a batting to warm him during the bitter Minnesota winter.  She pieced flannel for the top and then tied it with more wool.  By the time I knew him, nothing was left of this quilt but a few tatters.

I set out to make him new quilt.  It was huge, green, and tied.  It roughly followed a brick-work pattern.  And it was not quite as bad as it sounds.

Eventually, I went on to make quilts for our sons and more quilts for our own beds.  Almost all of these early quilts have worn out and passed out of our lives.

Now I piece with my Bernina 1230, named Erie Mae after Grandma Ferguson, and I quilt with Emma and Electra, my longarm APQS Millenium with IQ, named after Grandma Smith and my great-great Grandma, Electra Spurlock.  I feel their spirits with me, and the spirit of Jerry's great-Grandma.



  1. My Goodness Wanda Gene with that kind of history how could you NOT be a quilter! It sounds as though you have a real treasure of a quilt, being made by both Grandmas. That is truly amazing. Isn't it something how times have changed? From hand quilting Grandmas' to computerized long arm quilting you? :) Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

  2. It really does sound like you were meant to quilt. I look forward to seeing more of your work.