Spring 2011 Edition
Every quilter has a unique story to tell about how they were first introduced to the craft—a friend who dragged them to a quilting group, a colorful quilting book that caught their eye from a bookstore shelf, happening upon a television show that made quilting look fun and—yes—doable! 
Still, for many quilters, a love of fabric and stitching began at home with a mother, grandmother, aunt, or other cherished female family member or friend. This was certainly the case for Festival Founder Karey Bresenhan, whose mother, Jewel Pearce Patterson, instilled in her a life-long love of quilting that would eventually become the basis for her professional life as well. 
In honor of Mother’s Day (earlier
 this month), we asked our Festival Facebook fans to submit stories of how they learned to quilt from their mother, grandmother, or other special family member. We received some really heart-warming responses, and have included some of our favorites below.  

Stephanie Sheridan of Carrolltown, Pennsylvania: 
“For as long as I can remember, there has been a sewing machine in my house. At the age of eight, my mom, Linda Leathersich, sat me down in front of her sewing machine and patiently taught me how to sew straight and curved lines, first on paper, and then graduating to real fabric! We made countless pillows, costumes, and quilts as I was growing up, always having so much fun together. Even through my difficult teenage years when Mom and I didn’t always get along, we could connect in the sewing studio. My mom was the ever-patient and 
all-knowing teacher, even when I was a reluctant student. 
After my second child was born, she gave me my first sewing machine—the one I had learned to sew on all those years ago. She also gave me a huge starter stash of fabrics, notions, and tools. From many miles away (she was in Florida and I was in North Carolina, and then Pennsylvania), she guided me through making quilts for my family and friends. Visits to her house often turned into marathon sewing days—cutting, piecing, quilting, and binding until the wee hours of the morning. As my daughter got older and started showing interest in our passion, my mom taught her to sew as well. We are now three generations of passionate quilters! 
A few years ago, Mom gave me EQ6 [quilt design software] for Christmas, and that started me down a whole new avenue of the quilting industry. She nurtured my enthusiasm for quilt design and, when I expressed interest in turning my new skill into a career, she was one of my biggest cheerleaders. We are now business partners, designing quilts and writing patterns together under the name Stitched Together Studios. We collaborate together on many quilts—I do the design and piecing, and then mom works her incredible talent with the longarm quilting. I am incredibly blessed to have a mother who shared her passion with me, and look forward to many more years of quilting together.” 

Shelley Borowski of 
Salem, Massachusetts  
“My inspiration to begin quilting was my grandmother. She sent me a quilt for my 21st birthday, and it was the most beautiful quilt I had ever seen. And I could literally feel the love radiating from it. I swore then and there that I would absolutely begin this craft, though I didn’t start quilting until two years later, when I was given a sewing machine for Christmas. I have been learning the trade since. 
My grandmother gives me all of the pointers she can, and helps me a lot by telling me the little tricks and about some of the shops she has visited for fabric. She gives me quilting books with her handwritten notes in them, so I always have that to refer back to. She really is an inspirational woman, and hands down the reason that I started quilting. Everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned because of her and what she has to offer me. 
Did I mention that she’s been teaching me from 3,000 miles away? Yes, my grandmother lives in California, and I in Massachusetts. So, everything learned has been over the phone or through books she’s given me. It’s really difficult sometimes because I am a visual learner, but with patience and practice, she has successfully given me my own quilting bug. I hope that one day I am as good as she is. That would truly be an accomplishment. I will take her motto, ‘I make quilts to be loved, not judged.’ Neither of our quilts will ever be put on display for others to judge them, but rather, on a bed for others to feel our love surrounding them.”
Back to Tophttp://friendsatfestivalarchives.com/Newsletter_archives/Spring_2011_HOME_MOTHER_DAUGHTER.htmlhttp://www.friendsatfestival.com/Newsletter/Spring_2011_HOME_MOTHER_DAUGHTER.html#widget5shapeimage_4_link_0
 Timna Tarr of 
South Hadley, Massachusetts 
“My mom always quilted. My grandma always quilted. As I was growing up, Mom and Grandma would lay out blocks in progress and discuss settings and layouts. I thought it was the most boring topic on the planet! Cut to 25 years later, where I now spend the majority of my days quilting.
The three of us approach quilting differently and have varied tastes. Grandma loves traditional patterns and hand quilting. Mom makes some traditional quilts and lots of not-so-traditional quilts. I tend to make more contemporary quilts and incorporate both hand and machine techniques. Neither Mom nor Grandma want to spend money on more fabric—they each prefer to use what they already have on their shelves. I, on the other hand, love to add to 
my stash. Like it or not, I have inherited some of their quilting traits. Grandma uses crazy color combinations. I love color—the more the better! Mom often buys antique tops, which she finishes by hand quilting them. I have spent the last 10 years quilting other women’s tops through my longarm business. None of us can or will follow a pattern exactly as written—probably because we all have strong opinions about the way it ‘should’ be done!
These two women have given me a strong foundation on the history and fundamentals of quilting. They have inadvertently influenced my career choice. We speak a common language.”  

Carol Knakal of 
Grosse Ile, Michigan 
“My mother learned to quilt from her mother, and in turn, they both taught me. I remember standing in my grandmother’s country kitchen with a summer breeze blowing through the window, and watching her sew those squares together. She would find patterns in the local paper and send for them through the mail. I would walk across the field to the mailbox and run back when a new pattern had arrived. She would be so excited to start a new project. We would look through her stash and scrap basket to select the colors. She and my mother would also embroider designs on muslin, sew them together, and then quilt the piece. I was the official ‘needle threader.’ And yes, I thought this was a great honor. 
I was eight when my mother drew lines on freezer paper and let me sew the paper (without thread in the machine) to get used to the knee throttle, machine, and how to guide the pretend fabric. I was thrilled (and, I guess, hooked) when my mother asked me to help her cut and sew squares for a quilt. She taught me how to recycle clothing, blankets, jeans, wool coats, and flannel shirts into quilts before it was in vogue. The table turned 180 degrees in the late ‘90s when I taught my mom how to use a rotary cutter. She will tell you it’s right up there with the self-winding bobbin machines! 
My mom and I have not stopped quilting. It has been 50 years of true fun. She enjoys the more traditional patterns and colors, while I lean toward the modern patterns, bright colors, and wall quilts. We spend Thursday evenings together planning, cutting, discussing, driving to the local quilt shop, and/or critiquing each other’s work over a cup of tea. She has a great eye for color and design, and has helped me with selecting fabrics more times than I can remember. I wish I had a dollar for every time she has said, ‘It has to be pleasing to 
your eye.’ 
We recently attended the Cincinnati Quilt Festival and had the best time ever. I was so inspired by the pictorial and mixed-media pieces, while Mom loved the Baltimore Album quilts. My mom elbowed me several times with ‘we can do that!’ My eyes were very pleased, and I’m so glad my mom is a quilter!”  
Note: All of the quilts seen on this page are featured in the book, I Remember Mama, by Karey Patterson Bresenhan. We’ll be giving away five copies of this touching book on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/QuiltFestival
“Like” us to find out how you can win your own copy! 

Photo 1 Monday Morning 1955 by Carol Suto.

Photo 2In My Mother’s Arms by
Marlene Brown Woodfield.

Photo 3First Grandchild by LaRetta Ann Trower.

Photo 4 No Chickens in the Garden by Linda S. Schmidt.

Photo 5 The Last Squeeze by Mary Beth Clark.

New Cincinnati show draws nearly 20,000Spring_2011_Quilt_Festival_Cincinnati.html
Downloadable PDF projectSpring_2011_FREELOADING.html
Interview with Jamie Fingal
and Leslie Tucker JenisonSpring_2011_THE_SPACE_BETWEEN.html

© 2011. A publication of Quintessential Quilt Media. No portion may be reproduced without the expressed written consent of Quilts, Inc.

Inheriting a Love of Quilting


to download and print a PDF of the entire issueSpring_2011_HOME_MOTHER_DAUGHTER_files/Friends%40Festival%20Spring%2711.pdf