Sunday, February 15, 2009

Marlene is a Quilting Star

This is the second installment of my Quilting Stars all Around series. I decided to do this series in celebration of the wonderful quilters in our communities. This has been such a wonderful experience for me, our Quilting Community is filled with so many wonderful people. This month I'd like to introduce you to Marlene.

Quilting Background:

I don’t remember my mother quilting when I was a little girl….but with four kids and a full time job she didn’t have time for that! However, after we were all grown and gone she took up the hobby she had learned as a child and made so many quilts that I couldn’t even estimate how many there were. I have a quilt that each of my two grandmothers made and one my mother made as a teenager so my heritage is obvious. But none of that actually started me on this road. I’ve always made clothes and went through phases of crafts…crewel , embroidery, counted cross stitch, crochet and even a little basic knitting were things I embraced and then, eventually, cast aside. In 1995 my best friend asked me to make her a quilt for her birthday. The fact that I’d never made one didn't matter to her. After all, she said, if you can sew you can surely make a quilt. And so I did….not a quilt I’d like for anyone to see today, but a quilt nonetheless. And promptly fell in love with this form of creative expression.

Inspiration for me usually comes through either quilts I see in magazines or quilts I see in quilt shops. I rarely use the fabrics suggested in patterns but I rarely change the patterns I buy. My color choices lean towards the sedate rather than the bright so if a quilt is made up in those calming colors I’m more likely to think I want to make that pattern. I don’t care much for geometric shapes but much prefer the traditional patterns. Which is really funny since once upon a time when I was young and crazy I taught geometry! Of course I only agreed to teach geometry so they would let me teach algebra which I totally loved. And which I use all the time in the nitty gritty parts of making a quilt.

Worst Day Quilting:
How can there be a bad day quilting? The worst day quilting is better than the very best day not quilting!

Quilting Regrets:
I devoutly wish I’d actually seen my grandmothers quilting….or that I could remember it if I did.

Most Precious Quilting Memory:
My mother was diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumor and gradually lost her memory of every day activities. She loved to make quilts but even though I bought her a rotary cutter and mat and ruler she wouldn’t use them. She wanted to make quilts the way she’d always made them, using templates and cutting each piece one by one. The last couple of months of her life she couldn’t do that so I cut squares for her and even sewed a four patch for her to look at – to use as a pattern. She would sit and stitch, every once in a while looking at her needle and the fabric forgetting what she was supposed to do with them. She would stare at first one and then the other and then it would come back to her and she’d take another stitch. Oh what I would give to watch her stitching one more time.

Favorite Technique:
That’s like saying which one of your three children is your favorite! I love piecing the best, and I love embroidery the best, and I love appliqué the best! I confess I don’t love the actual quilting the best though.

Proudest Works:
I think probably The Great Pumpkin Quilt is probably my best work so far. It’s a hand appliquéd quilt and I do love it. But then there’s the Checkerboard and Rails machine pieced quilt done in brown and teal as a wedding present for one of my nieces, and the Redwork Sunbonnet Sue Quilt made for one of my granddaughters and the embroidered Herbs In My Garden Quilt (not yet quilted!) or Tuxedo Cat or….I guess my favorite quilt is probably the one I finished last!

What the Future Holds:
My husband and I have applied to do a three month volunteer mission trip to south Louisiana and, if chosen, will hopefully go sometime in the next year. That’s both scary and exciting. My biggest worry is how long it’s going to take me to cut out several quilt tops to work on while I’m gone!

Quilting Income:
Oh my goodness no – it’s all outgo and no income here! I do write two blogs (StitchinByTheLake and A ServantsJourney ) as well as participate in my quilt guild and a smaller stitching group. I sometimes lead a class for my guild and try to make some charity quilts for a couple of groups. And I make heavy contributions to all the quilt shops within a hundred miles of my home, and a couple on every trip my husband and I make!

Philosophy on Life:
I love John Wesley’s Rules of Life:

Do all the good you can
By all the means you can
In all the ways you can
In all the places you can
To all the people you can
At all the times you can
As long as ever you can.

Wow! Great Sentiments Marlene! Thank you so much for participating. If you know someone who is a Quilting Star, or want to participate yourself, please don't hesitate to email me.


YankeeQuilter said...

Thanks for sharing! Really touching story about your grandmother.

Linda said...

I have some blocks from my grandmother also. I think I'll take them out and put them on my blog. Maybe I could get some ideas from other people about what to do with them. I like the rules of life, too, so long as you don't forget yourself. Then it's burnout time.
Thanks for the posting. Linda

StitchinByTheLake said...

Thanks for posting this Dionne. It was a very interesting process for me to think about answers to your questions - memories recalled for sure. blessings, marlene

osagebluffquilter said...

It was interesting to read about my blogger friend Marlene. It's a wonderful look inside the quilters life.

Nanci said...

A very interesting journal that you posted today. I now know why I have you on my favorites list and that I drop in with my coffee to visit and see what you are doing.
Good stuff.

em's scrapbag said...

What a great spotlight on Marlene. You did a great job.