Quirky question: how’d you get so creative?

Posted by on April 16, 2014, in quirky question

Martingale's Quirky Question

Thanks for stopping by for the weekly Quirky Question—where questions are just for fun, your answers are always welcome, and you could win an eBook for free!

Vintage Bow Ties quiltRight: “Vintage Bow Ties” by Karen Costello Soltys, from Bits and Pieces. Get the eBook for $11.39 this week only; see a slideshow of quilts from the book below.

Whether you were raised by a pack of quilters or you started quilting all on your own, it’s likely that someone, somewhere inspired you to pick up needle and thread for the first time. In today’s question, tell us about the person who passed along their passion for quilting to you:

Who has been your biggest creative influence?

Post your answer in the comments before noon (PST) on Monday, April 21, for your chance to win. The carefully selected winning answer will be posted on Wednesday, April 23, along with the next question.

Last week’s Quirky Question was, “Have you made an ‘ugly’ quilt? What happened…and where is it now?” Here’s the winning comment, from Kathy:

“Before I make a quilt, I take the time to put fabrics together to see how they complement each other. I ignored that process once when I made my husband a quilt from his school colors—maroon and gold. I chose two solids that competed since they were the same value. I didn’t care for the color combination but completed it anyway, hoping it would look better when finished. Finishing didn’t improve the look so the quilt was relegated to the back of his car. Through the years, it has warmed sleepy children riding in the back seat on winter nights. It has also covered the ground for numerous picnics and trips to the beach. I would never have done these things to a ‘pretty’ quilt. Ugly can serve a purpose because I won’t stress over damaging an ugly quilt. Twenty years later, it is still holding strong!”

Congratulations, Kathy—look for an email about your free eBook.

One Patch Garden quilt

One Patch Garden

Plaid Coins quilt

Plaid Coins

Box of Chocolates quilt

Box of Chocolates

Americana Nine Patch quilt

Americana Nine Patch

Waste Not Want Not quilts

Waste Not Want Not

Sugarplum Stars quilt

Sugarplum Stars

Pastel Pinwheels quilt

Pastel Pinwheels

Sunny Lanes quilt

Sunny Lanes

Amish-Inspired Shoofly quilt

Amish-Inspired Shoofly

Christmas Goose quilt

Christmas Goose

12-Karat Four Patch quilt

12-Karat Four Patch

Antique Diamonds quilt

Antique Diamonds

Pennsylvania Star quilt

Pennsylvania Star

Japanese Circles quilt

Japanese Circles

Maple Sugar Hearts quilt

Maple Sugar Hearts

Sweet Pea quilt

Sweet Pea


  • Hi,it would have to be my Mother and Aunts! They sewed,embroidered,pieced and quilted nearly every day! It seems they were not content without at least one or more projects going at a time! Now I am hooked on fabric construction too !

    —LINDA on April 16, 2014
  • My friend Mary. She always has great ideas for the church bazaar and introduced me to the joys and challenges of quilting.

    —Linda on April 16, 2014
  • Probably all of my friends and so many creative bloggers out there. I am always impressed. Of course Mother Nature puts on quite a show all by herself.

    —Chris on April 16, 2014
  • Reading quilt books, taking classes, and spending untold hours perusing the lovely fabrics in my local quilt shops. I’ve always enjoyed color, whether I was painting with watercolor or sketching with pastels, but choosing fabrics and patterns for quilting was initially challenging. I don’t come from a family of artists, so I’ve learned to optimize whatever natural ability or skills I have through education and practice.

    —Karen on April 16, 2014
  • My Grandmother. She let me quilt on her around the world quilt when I was 8 years old. The stitches were at least a half an inch long. When she passed away, I asked my Dad if I could have the quilt. I still have it 30+ years later and it reminds me of her patience and willingness to teach a small child. I try to imitate her ways with my Grandchild.

    —Janice Wadley on April 16, 2014
  • My Mother. When we were children back in the 50’s, she used to subscribe to a small little magazine called "Pack-o-Fun". It had crafts made out of recycled things around the house, like empty dish soap bottles. We didn’t have a lot of money but always had fun, creative things to do. My Mother passed away in March of 2012 and many of my cousins came up to my siblings and me to relate stories of what they learned from my Mother. She was an amazing woman and certainly ahead of her time!

    —LaVonne B. on April 16, 2014
  • My aunt Dovie and my granny. We always had quilts on our beds when we were visiting them. It actually felt more like home than the house i grew up in. There was a special warmth to the rooms. One day i wandered into the local quilt shop, never turned back!!!

    —Ruth A on April 16, 2014
  • My Dad was very influential in my creativity. He could make anything. He even sewed clothes for my mother and I. Especially some Japanese silk dresses, from silk he brought back from Japan when I was very little. Both he and his mother were very creative.

    —Patricia D. Roberts on April 16, 2014
  • My mother was the most creative person I knew. Sewing for all of us girls was the first thing I remember. She could take an ugly piece of material and make it absolutely beautiful that we wore the item out because we loved it so much. She was a beautiful baker and did lovely meals. She made wonderful wedding cakes that could serve 400 people. She did this also for all of us girls (plus outside orders)and still made it to our weddings on time. Next was making chocolate covered candies that were fantastic. Then she began china painting and those pieces we all cherish. At the age of 85 she began making her own greeting cards with her china painted designs. Each one of us girls have a different talent and I believe we learned from Mom that you find what you love and do it well.

    —DeEtta Robison on April 16, 2014
  • I belong to a group of quilters that are cousins and friends. We meet once a month and quilt all day – from 8AM to 8PM and sometimes longer. Sometimes we work as a group on a project or just do our own thing. I love these women with all my heart and they are the biggest inspiration to me.

    —Dixie Schmit on April 16, 2014
  • Amish women!!
    I have always loved art, and was fascinated by Eschler’s tessellated drawings. Then one day my husband and I visited Amish country in Ohio where I first saw the gorgeous geometric quilts made by Amish women. I studied them, watched a demonstration and was hooked! I just love all the fabrics in quilt shops. To me they are like a kid getting a new box of 64color Crayloa crayons.

    —Sarah Evanko on April 16, 2014
  • My quilting teacher, Amy – I started sewing in 7th grade – but she taught me Quilting – my passion – I will be forever grateful

    —Kathy Luehrs on April 16, 2014
  • It would have to be my paternal Grandmother. Although my mother sewed a lot, with 5 children she didn’t have time to quilt. My Grandmother quilted at her church group. When we visited her for holidays she would always go into her bedroom and show us the latest quilts she had quilted. I still love the 30’s & 40’s quilts.

    —Jean on April 16, 2014
  • My Mother and my Brownie & Girl Scout leaders.

    —Marion on April 16, 2014
  • My mom of course, but grandma had something to do with it also. Grandma tried to teach me to knot & crochet but I just couldnt get the hang. Mom send me off to Singer sewing school in 1967 and I have dabbled here & there since.. over this past winder I dove in the deep end of the pool and fell in love – addicted really to quilting.. the measuring, the cutting, the assembling.. all the way to binding, big projects and small.. I enjoy it to my very core..

    Debbie D. on April 16, 2014
  • My mom has always sewn and I took interest at an early age. She also inspired me to make a quilt long ago. Now I get much inspiration from my quilt guild and quilting friends.

    —Debbie Wilson on April 16, 2014
  • I guess I would say a spirit of some kind. I have always been able to do artistic things. People would say, "how can you just do that?" I used to apologize for being able to create so easily. Now I realize that I don’t need too. I am lucky to have this gift.

    —Robbie on April 16, 2014
  • My Material Girlfriends are my greatest creative influence…While we are far-flung, from Washington to California and Montreal Canada, the emails fly and Facetime keeps us in touch…We’re constantly sharing ideas, soliciting input on designs in progress and even sewing together via Facetime! It’s challenging to keep up at times, but always worthwhile for the friendships maintained and beautiful quilts created.

    —Judy White on April 16, 2014
  • My Grandmother. Not only her sewing ability but her tenacity. She taught at a small school while driving 50 miles(no interstate highways then)to get her college degree at night. Double major, elementary education and home economics. I started sewing in grade school and have never stopped. Thank you MEME!!!

    —Liz on April 16, 2014
  • Never was lucky enough to have someone to show me so I bought lot’s of books and through trial and error figured most of the instructions..The internet is a wonderful place with all kinds of help and I get lot’s of inspiration from so many wonderful sites..Love making wall and lap size quilts with animal themes.

    Joyce Antons on April 16, 2014
  • My Mother and Grandmother. They pieced in their spare time in the summers so they would have several quilt tops to quilt in the long, hard winter months. I always admired and was amazed at the beautiful quilts they produced – all done by hand. The quilting frame took up most of our living room in the winter months. I still remember them rolling the quilt on the poles until the end was in site! Some of that must have rolled over to me as I find it very relaxing after a long day at the office!

    —Lana on April 16, 2014
  • My grandma started me on the road to needlework. She traced the "Saturday cat holding a pie" from a days-of-the-week embroidery packet. Saturday was baking day, hence the pie. I stitched this piece when I was under 10 years old, and still have it. My Aunt Judy taught me to make a dress–dotted swiss–and make to snickerdoodles. Another aunt took me to a neighbor of hers to learn to crochet, and my mom took me to Sears to learn to knit.

    My first quilting project was when I was about 12. My mom and I machine-sewed a small crazy quilt out of scraps leftover from sewing our clothes. It is the size to fit on the top of a changing table. I still have it. I later used scraps to make colorful tote bags for myself.

    Judy Garling on April 16, 2014
  • I think it would be me. I’ve always been very curious, which is just another name for creative. As a child I always wanted to know how things worked. I remember taking my father’s alarm clock apart once, just to see how it worked. Needless to say, I couldn’t get it back together again. Fortunately, Dad just smiled. I’m sure he thought he had a junior engineer instead of a future quilter.

    —Mary on April 16, 2014
  • My biggest creative influence was my mom–she taught me how to sew when I was 7 or 8 years old. She sewed and also was a painter, so I learned from her about color, contrast, lights and darks, how to mix and match colors. We could spend hours in a fabric store just taking in all the eye candy and discussing what we could make with the luscious fabrics!

    —CJ Hines on April 16, 2014
  • Great Grandmother Paris. My great grandmother’s pedal sewing machine has a place of honor in my home because generations of grand children have been snuggled for naps under her totally scrappy quilts made from the leftover pieces of family clothing projects. There was no pattern, no coordinating fabrics, no theme, just scraps. My great grandmother’s creative use of what she had available has inspired me to do the same. I may not sew clothing today, but I love scraps and can find so many ways to use them. Thanks, Great Grandmother Paris.

    —D Steenland on April 16, 2014
  • I always saw my mother sewing clothes, drapes, slip covers as well as knitting, braiding rugs, embroidering, cooking and doing other crafts. I saw my paternal grandmother and her sister sewing, tatting, embroidering, gardening, and cooking. Even though my maternal grandmother was crippled from birth, she embroidered, did hand work, and cooked. All these ladies were huge creative influences in my life. My mother was a teacher in the only high school in our county. She was very creative in her approach to educating us. We were encouraged to think and find unique solutions to math problems. She put manipulatives in my hands at a very young age. When I was in graduate school, I took a class in creativity.

    —Susan in OK on April 16, 2014
  • It is not who inspired me to quilting but what. My sister worked in a bookbinding plant and occasionally got free damaged books. She gave it to me. It was a book on all Amish quilts. I thought they were so beautiful and creative and colorful. I never knew what a quilt was until I picked up that book. It was love at first sight. I had to learn everything I could about quilting from that day forward. Making quilts has given me many years of pleasure. I love hand piecing and machine piecing as well as hand quilting and longarm quilting. I also enjoy hand applique and hand embroidery and try to incorporate these into my quilts. I am grateful to my sister for giving me that beautiful book and occasionally we work together on a handmade grandmother’s flower garden. I introduced her to the love of quilting as well.

    —joanne milonopoulos on April 16, 2014
  • Both my grandmother and mother-in-law. My grandmother did fabulous crochet and did lovely crocheted lace. I still have her afghans, tablecloths and pillowcases. My daughter and grandson have inherited them as well. When I was little, I loved the lace tablecloth she made out of bright colors. I still have it and remember her every time I use it. It was an early inspiration to my creativity, doing my homework on it and daydreaming over the colors and design.

    My mother-in-law was a prolific quilter. As I’m doing my quilting, I’m always referring back to her fine stitches, designs and color combinations, on the wall hangings and quilts she gifted us.

    The creativity and fine work of these two women still amaze me as I continue to grow in my journey on the path of a fabric artist.

    —Jamie on April 16, 2014
  • My father, you can do anything and I was born curious and creative.

    —Quilting Tangent on April 16, 2014
  • Jean Ray Laury was my biggest influence. I began attending her quilt camp at Shaver Lake and I felt like I blossomed. I had never been in such a creative environment for a whole week. It was amazing, the ideas just flowed while there, on the way home and through the year until the next camp week. I learned not only from Jean, but from all the other attendees. I have not experienced anything like it since.

    —Janet on April 16, 2014
  • My Grandma Asdell subscribed to Pack-O-Fun (sp?) when I was little. It was a little magazine filled with scrap craft ideas, so there was always a project of some sort to be made at Grandma’s.

    Anne Wiens on April 16, 2014
  • I would have to say people in my quilting guild, but they are always saying that I come up with all the cutest ideas for little gifts. I see something and I can’t make just one, I have to make everyone one.

    —connie on April 16, 2014
  • My Mother has been my biggest creative influence. Although she does not sew quilts she knitts and creates gourd baskets that are beautiful. When I was a young child she was always there to make things with me from Valentine cards for my entire class to creations that I brought home from school she was there to encourage me. When I was in the 7th grade we went and got free leather scraps from a leather factory. I sewed then together in a crazy quilt sort of pattern to make leather handbags and vests. Yes, it was the 70’s.

    —Tina on April 16, 2014
  • My grandmother was my sewing and quilting mentor as well as my biggest creative influence. She grew up in the rural Midwest,living through very hard times. Her creative ways to make do with what she had, and to use all that was available impressed me and taught me the value of thinking outside the box. She made beautiful quilts without the luxury of going to multiple fabric stores to find that perfect fabric! Her quilts fashioned from our scraps from dressmaking were true works of art. She was so innovative as well as practical. I do miss my grandma Mary!

    —Debbie on April 16, 2014
  • My granddaughters and my children are my biggest inspiration! I LOVE THEM TO PIECES!! Their love and enthusiasm encourages me to choose quilt patterns that match their likes. I made my oldest granddaughter a fish quilt of my own design with wild fish colors and flowing water fabric, because she loves to fish at our cottage. When they moved to Romania because our son, their Father was transferred,Hugs and Kisses quilts were in order- it is something we say and sign to each other over Skype. I am now making the younger girl a Sunbonnet Sue quilt because she loves dolls and loves wearing hats of all kinds. My son was in Jazz Choir and musicals in high school – so he got a quilt called Jazzy Blues. Our daughter went to college to major in music and eventually become a music teacher- so her quilt is the same as our son’s but done in red, black and white to look like piano keys.

    —Nancy on April 16, 2014
  • My mother is my hero when it comes to quilting. While I was growing up she didn’t have the time to quilt, but about a year before I married, she began working on an applicated rose quilt that she had started many years before. She finished that quilt and gave it to me for a wedding present. That open the flood gates for her. From that time until her death, she was always working on a quilt. I still have some of her unfinished projects. Now, I am in a place where I can make my own quilts and I am loving the time I spend with them and memories of Mama.

    JoyceP on April 16, 2014
  • My friend Sarah and I are alike in many ways, but when it comes to quilting, there is a difference. She wants to get it done. I want to do it perfectly! She works with what she has. I buy my fabric to match. She improvises a pattern to fit her time schedule and materials. I pretty much go strictly by the pattern. We’ve worked on several quilts together for charity auctions and it almost gets hilarious. The thing that we’ve both noticed is that we’re both taking on some of the attributes of the other. Sarah has become more concerned about matching seams and I’ve actually designed my own quilt around some fabric. Without Sarah’s influence, I probably would never have stepped outside of my comfort zone. That quilt is becoming one of my favorites because I let my creativity flow and now I know that I can do it.

    —Virginia in AK on April 16, 2014
  • I’ve heard that the creative spirit skips a generation and I think that’s what happened with me. My Grandmother was always doing some sort of hand work – mostly crochet, knitting and embroidery – but my Mom wasn’t really into creating things (although she did sew clothing). I have done handcrafts of all sorts for as long as I can remember, and still do, but quilting is my main source of creativity.

    —Deb on April 16, 2014
  • The biggest creative influence in my quilting would have to be my family. I so love creating things for them to enjoy and to show them how much they are in my heart and thoughts. Choosing patterns and fabric that go with their favorite colors, hobbies, and needs inspires me to push my limits and to think outside the box. And I am always amazed at the results!

    Karen on April 16, 2014
  • My quilting creative bug has many sources. My mom taught me to sew when I was a preteen. Then she showed me the simple string quilt, I tied that one. Many years later when grand babies came along I picked up quilting again. I hand quilted a few. When I moved to Kansas, I fell in with the quilting crowd. The machine quilting bug bit hard. My husband and I plan to purchase a longarm to supplement our retirement.

    —Susie Furgason on April 16, 2014
  • A very good friend is a professional garment sewer. When we visit quilt shows, such as AQS Paducah, she looks at all the delicious fabrics,patterns, accessories,and embellishments through her own "filter." She shares her vision and I try to interpret some of her inspiration in the quilts that I make. It pulls me outside my own frame of reference and into a new path. This does work both ways, as I show her how the quilting techniques can be used in her garments and home dec designs. It is very stimulating!

    —Janet Brown on April 16, 2014
  • I would have to say my great grand mother, grandmother aunts and cousins. They all sat around and chose fabric that looked good together and worked their design for the square…

    —Priscilla on April 16, 2014
  • It would have to be my closes friend Rosie. She self taught herself with a book. I had always enjoyed crafts but when she introduced me to quilting, she opened up a whole new world to me. Now 18 years later, she lives in Texas and I’m in Minnesota, we still quilt together via the internet. We have internet sewing dates, usually small quilts, table runners and such. When she comes up to visit, everyone knows that if they need me they can find us in my sewing room sewing up a storm.

    —Patricia on April 16, 2014
  • I would say my Mother and Grandmother started me on the road to create anything in fabric. My Mom made all my Halloween costumes for me as well as many of my beautiful dresses as a child. They both encouraged me to try all sorts of crafts, and I’m still doing most of these crafts now and I’m 69 yrs young. As a teenager, I sewed all my clothes and even my honeymoon wardrobe in 1965. I was always amazed at how my Grandmother, even after she’d gone blind, could still crochet and sew her hexagons for quilting. We would work together picking and cutting the fabric and she would sit there for hours piecing them together in flowers that I would sew together for her in quilts. So many fond memories with them at the sewing machine and raiding the fabric shops for the best buys. Whenever there’s a gift needed, I’m at the sewing machine quilting with heart and soul to create something unique for someone special. I will leave a legacy of stitches behind for all to remember how much I loved my fabrics and crafts.

    —Doreen on April 16, 2014
  • It was definitely my mom. All my life, we did crafts of all kinds together. Anything from collage to quilting to cardmaking. She always encouraged me to make beautiful things.

    —Meghan O'Connor on April 16, 2014
  • My mother, aunt, grandmother and great-aunt were all crafty people who sewed, embroidered, knit, crocheted and more. My mom and my aunt taught me to trust my eye for colors and to change fabric and thread colors in a kit/pattern to ones that made me smile. My mom taught me to sew and embroider. My aunt taught me to knit. My grandmother taught me to crochet. I took classes to learn how to quilt since I am the first quilter in the family in recent generations. The independent and creative spirit of the women in my family has helped me to be confident in my abilities and provided a secure base to freely enjoy creating, with fabric, needle and thread, whatever I can imagine.

    —Nicki on April 16, 2014
  • I started quilting on behalf of my Mother Inlaw who passed away April 21/2012 two days shy of her 80th birthday. She loved to sew but fell and could not use her brand new machine she had bought. When she passed away I got her machine and thought she would be quite proud of me if I put it to use so I have been teaching myself how to quilt with help from a lot of site such as your. Some of the things I have made I know Mom would be very proud and wished she could see what I have put her machine to work on. Miss her very much and she would love everything I have done as she was my biggest fan when it came to crafts.

    —Karen on April 16, 2014
  • I have learned to be VERY creative when trying to "fix", "hide" or "solve" problems in my quilts because I am too stubborn to go back a few steps and correct them!

    —Lorraine B on April 16, 2014
  • My biggest influence in the world of crafting would be my maternal grandmother. As long as I can remember, she was always challenging herself to learn a new craft: ceramics, feather corsages/ arrangements, copper pounding, beading, jewelry out of sea shells, crocheting, hand applique and an aunt was a fabulous sewer/tailor, so she inspired me to sew my own garments which my Mother supported. After I retired, I became interested in quilting & was surprised to find out that many older ancestors were quilters…so quilting has leaped generations and now my daughter is also quilting along side me.

    Dorothy I. Dishman on April 16, 2014
  • The incredible quilt artists that are out there just make you want to try something new and stretch yourself: Jinny Beyer’s incredible color sense, Judy Niemeyer’s quilt precision, Caryl Bryer Fallert’s futuristic vision, Ricky Tims versatility to name just a few. each week I set aside a morning with a pot f coffee, just to look at what is new and search the web for new ideas. But the real influence that gave me my own voice was the graphics design teacher I had at the local junior college. I am a self-confessed nerd and was taking web development classes. These required graphics art classes for the Adobe products to manipulate images for web design. With graphics products you can try variations so quickly and stretch your boundaries. Never did become a web designer – made quilts instead.

    —lavonne on April 16, 2014
  • When I was 6 years old my Grandmother was making aprons on her treadle sewing machine. I kept watching her and picking up her scraps off the floor. She finally got up to iron her aprons and I stood in front of the machine and sewed my little scraps together (Piece patched). My Grandmother never said a word until I was done, then she asked me if I would like ties for my apron: I said "Yes please". My Grandmother was an amazing woman who took care of my sister and I while my Mother worked. We lived with my Grandparents. She taught me so much wisdom and many lessons in how to live wisely! She would doctor us at home with home remedies, she made my clothes until I was 12 when I started to make my own clothes. When I got married mt Grandparents gave me a brand new sewing machine in a cabinet. I know my Grandmother was very proud of me! She was always an inspiration to me! I really miss her, may she rest in peace.

    Laurel Hanson on April 16, 2014
  • When I was in high school many moons ago, I volunteered in my local nursing home. I would bring magazines and books around to the men and women living at the home. There was one woman who used to quilt. She would always ask her visitors to bring her swatches of material. She would quilt by hand and even though she could not see very well and she had problems with arthritis, she always had a smile on her face. Never once did I hear her complain and I knew she had to be in pain. She had a beautiful, peaceful look about her. She said that the quilting was all the therapy she needed. Now, being older, I feel the same way. She has influenced me in so many ways throughout my life, not just quilting.

    —Virginia Bronner on April 16, 2014
  • My dear, dear grandmother without a doubt has influenced my creativity more than anyone else. She was such an inspiration not to mention an phenomenal teacher. She passed away in January of this year at the age of 98 and up until the day she died she had knitting, crochet or quilting in hand and going on! She was also an accomplished seamstress. I learned at her hand to foundation piece at about the age of 8 and from then on I was a constant presence in her sewing room. I loved it all and still do. If I can accomplish a third of what she did in her lifetime I will feel complete.

    —Pam Hall on April 16, 2014
  • My good friend Robin Nelson of craftsisters.com. She has been very supportive, very patient, very encouraging and most of all has allowed me to test and edit her patterns. Some I have been able to make and some that are still a bit beyond my quilting knowledge. She is amazing and everyone should check out her website and blog. She is also a Moda Bake Shop Chef. Such a great friend and wonderful person. I’m lucky to have her as my friend.

    —Barbara Dolan on April 16, 2014
  • I have done some type of creative work since I was a young child, even teaching myself to quilt before I was a teenager (it was as terrible little quilt but I was proud of it). I even made clothes and bedding for my troll dolls that I played with! My mother taught me how to embroider at a very early age and I still love to do hand embroidery. My paternal Grandmother passed along her love of fabrics to me. She was an excellent seamstress, even worked in fine fabrics in one of the department stores in St. Louis, Missouri. In fact, I learned how to sew on her 1929 Singer, which I still own and which still runs. I just learned a few years ago that she also quilted. My paternal Grandfather, whom I never met, owned his own commercial art company in St. Louis and was great at airbrushing. He designed for Buster Brown shoes and did all the designs for Robin Hood Shoes. My Dad paints and does wood carving. So I guess you could say it’s in my blood! I’ve done a lot of different things – painting, drawing, screen printing, sewing, embroidery, tee shirt painting, crafting, needlepoint, crochet, knitting, and of course, quilting. I took lessons in 1985 at Robbins AFB in Georgia and have been hooked since! Now I am trying my hand at designing patterns and doing art quilts. i love it all!

    —Mary Lou B. on April 16, 2014
  • Both my grandmothers, mother, and her sister quilted, did embroidery work, and crochet. I’ve always been creative from designing and making my own clothes to drawing, painting, photography, leather tooling, wood cravings, decoupage, ceramics, including making my own clay and paints, rock polishing, etc, but while all those were parts of my early life, quilting became my passion in the early 80’s. What was left, I wrote poetry in the past, and now write short stories, based on fact, and still quilt. It seems as though creativity has always been just a natural part of me.

    Keep smiling,

    Lynnita Shipman on April 16, 2014
  • My grandmother was my biggest creative influence. I spent a lot of time with my Grandma, and she was always busy, sewing, knitting,crocheting, embroidering, quilting,cooking and many other crafts. From the time I was really young , she made doll clothes for my dolls, made clothing for me and I loved to watch her create all the things she did. When I was 10 to 12 I started doing some of the things she did. By the time I was eighteen, I had made my clothes, knitted a sweater, embroidered many items, crocheted doilies and handkerchief edgings and she was always close enough to help me if I got stuck on directions. The past few years I have found my love of quilting and have made many quilts for my children and grandchildren. Had I not had my wonderful Grandma as an example I may have been like many others that never learned to spend my time making things for other people. My middle daughter is now quilting and is an excellent cook and my younger daughter has an online business and is sewing and shipping all over the U.S. and some other countries. I think we all owe this to my Grandma and their Great Grandmother.
    Arloene Morgan on April 16, 2014

    Arloene Morgan on April 16, 2014
  • God, my special neighbor and my quilt guild. I always wanted to quilt but would only allow myself to start post-retirement! Next up, retirement, new home and new neighbor – Think God had a lot to do with these choices. Neighbor, Pat, taught me the basic quilt principles and next came our wonderful Guild. There I saw variety (show and tell) and numerous quilters to share their passion. These have all become good friends and caring supporters.

    —Gail O'Hern on April 16, 2014
  • I was inspired by both my mother and grandmother. My grandmother made clothes and a patchwork doll quilt for my baby doll. My doll was born the same time my first brother was born, so that I would have a baby to take care of too. My grandmother also made clothes for me. Her only machine was a Singer Treadle machine that I now own.

    My mother made clothes for herself and me when I was young; and she taught me to sew my own clothes. I was a long-time 4-H member in upstate New York. My first patchwork design was a pair of pants that I made in high school. The pants were constructed of color fabric pieces from the factory where my grandmother worked near Boston MA. The pieces were scraps left from house dresses made at that factor.

    My pants were quite colorful and I would wear them to football games. My mother borrowed them for a Halloween costume. After that they wore out. I did not start quilting until I was in my 40s so I guess I was saving up all that creativity.

    —Merry Bush on April 16, 2014
  • As a child, i was the one always seeming to make "something" out of really nothing, my mom always told em. one time she gave me some empty toilet rolls and colored paper and glue and told me to make something for her…Well, I amazed her and did make something for her! Just seems to be a knack for me. I ended up going to college on an Art scholarship and loved every minute. I still make things and sometimes i even amaze myself. when I got into quilting, I wanted to make every pattern I came across…I know that was impossible, but I still try new things all the time and enjoy it all. It’s just so fasinating to me.

    —Jeanette Spellmeyer on April 16, 2014
  • I have never been crafty. I always saw people around me making things and doing crafts but I just thought that I couldn’t do that sort of thing. Then one day I picked up a quilting magazine in the grocery checkout and starting looking though it. I could look at a quilt and figure out how it was put together. I bought that magazine not knowing anything about quilting and I was hooked. I went to a quilt store and signed up for classes. Now I’ve made 6 quilts and am totally hooked. I also love a lot of crafts now. I’ve redone my house several times, sewing pillows and curtains and anything I can think of. I have also become a fabric hoarder. lol

    —Janice Taylor on April 16, 2014
  • My creative influence cannot be attributed to a single person but to the era that forced my family into doing the best they could with what they had. My grandparents and parents were very industrious to make ends meet. My father became an auto mechanic after WWII ended, and Mom started a home-based alterations business for pocket money. As I look back on my life and the influences that shaped it, it had to be my parents’ ability to ?make do."

    Creativity grows out of such fertile ground. I’d rather make it than buy it. I’ve always been a "creative problem solver." I believe in "use what you have." I might not be a survivalist, but I gain my greatest pleasure and joy from using my brain instead of my pocketbook.

    —VickiGene on April 16, 2014
  • My Grandma Lucy was a prolific quilter. She had a hard life: seven children (she lost one in infancy), an older husband in poor health, and health problems of her own. She returned to work at the age of 40 and, despite having only an eighth-grade education, managed to support her family. My Grandpa died when Grandma was in her early 50’s, and she still had two children at home. She worked until about 65.
    Tragically, Grandma had a massive stroke at 70 which confined her to a wheelchair, and paralyzed her right side. It also took her power of speech. Grandma repeated the word "Cawl, Cawl", and it took us a few days to realize she was trying to say "Quilt". She was worried she had not completed the quilt she was making for my cousin’s wedding! Through the years I always admired Grandma’s quilting. She made lots of Sunbonnet Sue quilts, and the Bear Paw quilt pattern was another favorite. I was a prolific embroiderer from a young age, and Grandma often offered to teach me to quilt. Her stroke occurred about six months after I got married. Oh, how I wish I had taken her up on her frequent offers to teach me to quilt!!! Shortly after her stroke, I bought a simple quilt book and taught myself the quilting basics. Grandma was confined to a wheelchair and nursing home for 18 years. I often took my quilting to show her, and I think she enjoyed seeing what I was creating. Grandma Lucy’s ability to create beautiful quilts in the midst of a difficult life, with limited funds and tools, inspires me. If Grandma were still here, I would love sharing all the new quilting tools and tricks with her — what fun we would have, creating together!

    —Kathy Brigham on April 16, 2014
  • I am one of the lucky ones that got to meet their great grand mother. She sewed, crocheted and painted. Her daughter, my grandmother was gifted at painting. My mother picked up the sewing and painting gene as well. I have been gifted with love and strong women that were able to make their worlds a better place by making beautiful things.

    I quilt, sew, crochet, needlepoint almost anything with a needle. I can’t paint though. Not finger paints, oil paint or paint by number. Oh, well I’m happy.

    Pauline T on April 16, 2014
  • I got my love for sewing from my grandmother. She made amazing whole cloth quilts and sent them on to her 20+ grandchildren. Although she inspired me by her tiny stitches and straigt lines, for me it was the piecing and the compostion of different fabrics that I enjoy. I love to keep my hands busy and quilting is something that you can do on the go, waiting rooms, car rides, family visits. This allows me to visit and still work on my projects. When I go somewhere that I can’t sew then I doodle new filler designs to use on my longarm quilting machine. The whole process seems to be an extention of who I am. I have met the nicest fellow quilters and attended many quilting conventions which have been a social outlet for this empty nester.

    —Shawn Jensen on April 16, 2014
  • My wonder Nana was a perfectionist as a seamstress. I started very young and just figured that if I tried, I could do it too. After a lot of self teaching, I know she smiles down at me when she sees the things I make. My Mom also liked to make decorations for holidays. Her’s and my father’s taste for beautiful things had a great influence on me also.

    —Marsha Nelson on April 16, 2014
  • I have a very good friend 2 doors up the road who was diagnosed with cancer last year, she was told that she didn’t have long unless she had chemo & she decided to go for that as she has a special wedding to attend…. while chatting one evening she announced she would like to try quilting! in for a penny in for a pound & here we are now,…. i am quilting too. we have completed some lovely projects, have sewing days to try & finish off part done projects, spend many hours at local quilting & material shops, have been on an art quilt workshop…. My friend is doing well at the moment & I am grateful for another excuse to share special time with her.

    —Suzanne Keal on April 16, 2014
  • I grew up with a family who did not make, bake or sew, so I do not know why I have a need to create. It is a need that comes from within, a strong desire. I sew, quilt, paint, bake and garden.

    —cori on April 16, 2014
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  • I got my creative spirit from my Granny, Omie and Mother. They all quilted and my Mother was the best seamstress ever. When it came time for a new gown for prom or some other event each year, all I had to do was sit down with her and tell her the color, the style I wanted and she would design and make it for me. The first draft would be made out of muslin in order to make any changes before cutting into the good fabric.
    I did not pursue any creative arts until well into my 50s and the rest is history. Mother was always so encouraging and I miss her encouragement now that I am quilting. Often I find myself looking at the stack of quilts they made for new ideas. Of course, I am all about color so not their kind of quilt; soft and traditional. I know they are looking down on me and cheering me on to be creative and doing it my way.

    —Shirley Ginn on April 16, 2014
  • I am sooooooo ADD that I consider the most important influence in my life is "LIFE"!!

    Yes, I did grow up in a household of quilters. We also had a large Interior Design company when I was a child. We had a very large drapery workroom with all the machines I ever needed! I truly miss it all. Yet, thru it all my family always looked into the positive side of life and let it help us create. I scoured the latest couture designers when I started making gowns for military wives when I was just 16. I made a prom dress that looked like a copper lantern that I saw!

    Life is so wonderful and so beautiful. All we need to do it look and ponder and we will find all the creations we need!

    —Gena Raban on April 16, 2014
  • The person that made the biggest creative influence on me is without a doubt, my mother. She made all my clothes when I was young. We lived on a farm and she didn’t always have time to sew, but when winter came she made beautiful clothes. She would buy material without asking what I would like and somehow always have something made for me that was always just perfect. She had great taste in fashion and when she wasn’t making clothes she made beautiful quilts. Her favorite was applique. She would take my brothers and I fishing on Sundays and while we were fishing she would sit on the bank with her applique quilt tops and sew all afternoon. I always wanted to be able to sew as good as she did so I would watch her for hours and she taught me so much.

    —Carol Marshall on April 16, 2014
  • Nobody, really…I guess I just came to it on my own. It must have been meant to be!

    Nita on April 16, 2014
  • Circumstance. I always wanted to be able to make things, in case there was ever an apocalypse, I guess, and also because we could never afford things when I was little. We did, however, have a rag box, and we stripped the buttons and zippers off things before they went into the rag box, so I always had a ready (and free) supply of raw materials. I remember making a teddy bear of leftover bathroom carpet scraps when I was ten or eleven. My Girl Scout leader was so impressed! And I made lots of doll clothes, as well as things for myself. It was a great way to learn how things went together, and what worked (and what didn’t).

    —Diane Mettam on April 16, 2014
  • My mom, she had 12 kids and taught me hand embroidery and then my sister taught me how to quilt. My husband’s grandmother taught me how to make doilies using crochet. I took 4 years of art classes in highschool which helps my quilt making ability when doing art quilts. My aunt, Mary taught me how to knit.

    —Jean Plman on April 16, 2014
  • I was born creative, really, even as a child of 4 I was cutting out Tom, Betty and Susan pics and playing with them and tried everything artsy and crafty. I tried to make a Dresden quilt when I was 17 but found it too difficult but I tried to quilt again when I was in my 30’s. I got a book at the library and made a wall hanging all hearts and was appliqued by hand. My aunt was visiting and asked when I learned to do this and what type of thread I used etc. I told her ordinary thread and needles. A couple of weeks later, I received a pkg. in the mail with appropriate needles and quilting thread and a pattern. I was hooked from then on. Love quilting.

    —Helen on April 16, 2014
  • My grandmother was my inspiration to start sewing. I started when I was 7 years old making Barbie doll clothes and little doll clothes. No one in my family sewed except for her,as I grew up I took home ec in school and made all my mothers clothes. I started quilting 23 years ago and loved it and still do. My very first quilt I made was a log cabin quilt and when I finished it I told my husband we had to sleep under it that night. It turned 85 degrees that day but with fans and air conditioner we slept under my very first quilt that night.I have made many quilts since then and my new passion is small quilts miniature ones. I’m in the process of teaching my youngest daughter and her 14 year old son to quilt.

    Pat Marchbanks on April 16, 2014

    —Pat Marchbanks on April 16, 2014
  • My grandmother knitted, crocheted, and did needlepoint. Every time we visited, there would be another craft project completed and decorating the house. When I was 9, she taught me to crochet, and that was it – I’ve been crafting with yarn and fabric for nearly 40 years!

    —Karen Cohn on April 16, 2014
  • This is what I say to my students when they say they are not creative. Is God the creator of the heavens and the earth? Yes, they say. Did HE creative you in HIS image? Yes, they say. Well, then if you are created by God in HIS image, that right there makes you creative too. They say yes, I guess I am. And they ARE!!!!!

    How did I get so creative? God

    —Colette H on April 16, 2014
  • Mine was my great grandmother who lived with us – she did all her quilts by hand and taught me tatting also! thanks!

    —Lee on April 16, 2014
  • I guess my Dad he had his own machine. When his jean jacket finally wore out, the airline he was working for had decided to change the covers on the plane seats. As one of their mechanic’s he had access to the throw away. Tan Leather, so he took his jacket apart made a paper copy and made a new jacket out of the seat covers. As a teen I thought it was so cool, got me into sewing, and now I own my own Tailor Shop. I quilt for fun, sewing with my best friend of 45 years.
    Katie Peterson

    —katie on April 16, 2014
  • I started sewing when I was eleven at a summer library program. From that program I took a class for hand quilting when I was a teenager and I have been hooked ever since.No one in my family quilts so I kind of muttled through and learned as I went. I’m still learning even after all these years. I have loved every minute of the learning process and wouldn’t change a thing. I plan on continueing to learn until I can’t learn anymore. Would love to win, thanks for the chance.

    —Dot on April 16, 2014
  • My grandmother quilted. I loved her scrappy quilts and even at 3 years old I wanted to quilt like her. Then there is my mother, she quilted out of necessity to put blankets on the beds of 6 children. She tried to have some creativity in them but she never made any thing "fancy". She said she didn’t know how to do those type things. But I KNEW I wanted to make those fancy quilts and I do but also make the scrappy, use up what you have quilts as well to honor these two lovely women who inspired me when I couldn’t even read, use scissors, or needle and thread.

    —Jami Price on April 16, 2014
  • My mom didn’t quilt but she did make clothing and I learned from her that sewing was something I was capable of doing. I made my own clothing for years and then decided to try my hand at quilts.

    —Marianne on April 16, 2014
  • My Mom peaked my interest, since she was a advid quilter, but a Grandmother who lived in our Ks. farming community really showed me how to cut my templates and develop such a love for quilting. then over the years many quilters i watched on sat. and weekday on PBS as well as other quilt shows.

    I still enjoy seeking out blog sites and dinding patterns online as well as from pen pals.

    My husband and grandchildren also keep me loving yhis craft. they have well benifited from my craft over the years.

    Rosie Herdman Apri, 16, 2014

    My hu

    —Rosie Herdman on April 16, 2014
  • Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine!! They have such a wide variety of designers and I have made a wide variety of quilts from their patterns. Cheryl Filby was the designer of the last quilt I made.
    I just make quilts I like rather than following a style.

    —Wilma on April 16, 2014
  • It started with my mother, then there was Eleanor Burns and television, then 2 sisters who could do it but I couldn’t. So with all that influence and inspiration, how could I not become a quilter? Thanks for asking.

    Jeanne on April 16, 2014
  • For years my dearest friend Rose tried to get me to take up quilting, but I always refused because the thought of cutting little squares of fabric and sewing them together just didn’t appeal to me. But then one day she asked me to take a class with her at a local shop to make a beautiful angel wall hanging, so I agreed. I was hooked!! What was I thinking all those years??!! Now I spend every minute possible cutting squares (and lots of other shapes!) and sewing them back together and loving every minute of it!!!!

    —Sharon K on April 16, 2014
  • When I was seven years old, my grandmother taught to sew on a treadle sewing machine. It had an electric light, but everything else was manual. She started me out sewing nine patch blocks for baby quilts that were to be sent to Africa. The ladies in the quilting circle were all my grandmother’s vintage and they were prolific quilt makers. At that time, I thought Africa must be a very cold country-thus the need for so many quilts. Even though my art teacher in junior high kept preaching at me that I was not artistic, I still found the drive to carry on and venture into many different areas of artistic venture. I am 66 years old, still quilting and still trying to learn new ways to be creative.

    —Katherine on April 16, 2014
  • I have a very dear friend, Ellen. Many, many years ago when our children we’re in middle school, I had stopped by when she was making quilts for her three girls. Nothing elaborate just squares sewn together, the size of their beds. She tied the quilt top, batting and back sheet together at joining squares. I was so impressed that I made some for my boys. Years later, when my grand-daughter Hannah was 3, we would go to the farm and see the baby animals in the barn. She was so thrilled to see a little colt named Millie that I made her a quilt with applique’s horses and we called it her "Millie Quilt". Since then my friend Ellen has been amazed at some of the quilts I’ve done and it all started with her.

    —Diane Baldwin on April 16, 2014
  • I grew up in a creative family. Our motto hung in the living room — "A creative mess is preferable to tidy idleness" — and we lived that maxim with gusto. Mom sewed, knit, crocheted, made jams and jellies, canned vegetables, and even tried repoussé metalwork. Dad gardened, set up a black and white darkroom in the bathroom, made furniture, built masonry walls in the yard, brewed beer and fermented wine. We kids did everything in between, including jewelry, photography, screen printing (on paper and cloth), ceramics, sewing, auto mechanics, and even grape stomping in our bare feet. I made my first quilts as a teenager. Nobody taught me or directly inspired me, as far as I recall, but the artistic fervor of the household certainly encouraged me. It’s a passion I’ve kept alive for decades. Long live creativity!

    —Nina on April 16, 2014
  • My inspiration was my BFF in high school, who taught me that color is as color does. We made everything from doilies to slippers to afghans from whatever color caught our eyes at the store. Needless to say, our families had colorful homes then and now.

    —Lynne on April 16, 2014
  • I had never met anyone who quilted and realised, long before I began, that it would be an expensive hobby for one with an addictive (crafting) personality.

    I made one quilt and loved the process, but I don’t know if I would have continued on if it hadn’t been for the intervention of a lady who I know only as Lily.

    She worked in a shop where I bought a 20 drawer chest to house my fat quarter collection and told my husband, who had gone back to collect the chest, that she was an ex-quilter – can you imagine such a thing?! – and I could have her fabric if I’d like it.

    A friend was thinking about making a 1000 Pyramid quilt with no repeats. If not for that, I probably wouldn’t have gone to see Lily.

    She gave me such a wonderful stash; it was obvious that the Universe meant me to be a quilter ;D

    —Kayt Deans on April 16, 2014
  • The person who gave me the greatest inspiration is a former coworker who was and is an awesome quilter. She cranked out so many beautiful items that I just went ga ga over, then she dared me to try it. Been hooked ever since! Miss her terribly since she moved back east but she’s now teaching this craft to oodles of others – maybe some day I can be like her.

    —Joy B on April 16, 2014
  • When I was growing up my Grandma Ruby would send me the most beautiful Barbie clothes out of stunning fabrics. As I got older she encouraged me to take sewing classes in school, I sewed up a storm, including making a tuxedo and my wedding dress. My focus shifted to creating quilts as I got older. I still see a beautiful fabric at the store and have to buy at least a yard, every time I do it makes me think of all the beautiful Barbie clothes she made me. She was very talented and I miss her.

    —Suzy Davies on April 16, 2014
  • I would have to say my father followed by my niece. My father was the sewist in our house. He made many of my mother’s & my clothes & coats and even made the tent portion of a camper. He also did wood working and he also tried to interest me in some of the needle arts – embroidery took, but knitting & crochet did not. My niece got me hooked on quilting when I went home for vacation (I was in the Army at the time) and she told me "Aunt Sue you can make a quilt in a weekend". Well, that particular quilt isn’t done yet, but I have started and finished many others in the 20 years since.

    —Susan on April 16, 2014
  • I was always "making" something when I was a little girl and my mother taught me basic sewing as soon as I could hold a needle and thread it. Most of our family is creative and made various crafts as I was growing up. A quilt made by my great grandmother was in my playpen and then in my bedroom and I still cherish it. My mother kept scraps from what she sewed and I used some to sew little "quilts" for my dolls with some of the scraps and taught myself as I went along. I collected old patterns and made small versions and eventually made full size quilts. So I guess my mother and great grandmother inspired me and my family encouraged me to continue.

    —Ellen on April 16, 2014
  • I grew up with a sweet and practical grandmother who quilted — using 5″ squares of pastel double knit polyester and tying them with yarn. We slept under piles of these growing up and they never ever wore out or faded 🙂 (My husband commented that millions of years from now archeologists will find them in perfectly un-decomposed condition in some landfill!) I remember her commenting shortly before she died in in the 90s that she had to go to Salvation Army to find old clothes for her quilt material; no fabric stores stocked it. I thought that this was what "quilting" was, and, not suprisingly, it didn’t hold much attraction to me. I was re-introduced to quilting by an Australian friend who did all sorts of (to me) facinating things — apliqued dasies, dresden plates, star quilts. I made my first quilt for my first child, and swore I would NEVER quilt again… 🙂 famous last words! Now I dream of fabric combinations and hand quilting.

    —Sarah on April 16, 2014
  • Actually, I think I got so creative out pure necessity. I wanted to have nice things and they were always way more expensive than I could afford on my paycheck. So I decided I would learn how to make the things I wanted. It started with sewing, then knitting and crochet. Then I learned to embroider, & cross-stitch. After I got married and had children I needed to learn cake decorating so there would be nice birthday cakes for my boys. I learned how to do painted wood crafts when I saw some I wanted at a craft fair. Then I saw a quilt I wanted for our bed in a magazine and decided I had better learn quilting if I was going to have it. Now my friends and family think I can do anything I set my mind to. That is mostly true. There are still a few things I would love to be able to do, and maybe someday I will learn. For now, I just trade items I can make for things I can’t. Basically the old-fashioned barter system.

    —Dianna on April 16, 2014
  • My mom was the very first person who taught me any needle arts. She never stopped encouraging me in sewing endeavors from the first time she let me have some fabric, thread and a needle to make doll clothes and from there to cutting out patterns and machine sewing. An ex-mother-in-law started my on quilting. My husband and my mother and hes mother all love to see what I have created lately. Strangely enough most of what I do is play with fabric, thread and needles to see what I can do with them. Nothing but playing and stroking fabric while plotting out the next project. Thank you Mom and that wonderful husband for being in my life!

    —Sandy H on April 16, 2014
  • I didn’t learn quilting from anyone, I taught myself. However, my love for needle arts in general came from my grandmother. She lived with me and my parents for many years when I was a child. She was a self-taught seamstress. She was such a good seamstress she could tailor clothing without a pattern and she made some money from it. She also did beautiful embroidery and needlepoint as well as a little bit of tatting–old-time crafts, as I call them (not many people do crewel and tatting today, I’m guessing). I learned to do hand sewing (repairing clothing, mostly) and also was taught an appreciation for fabric. I remember going with my grandmother to the store when she bought fabric. She would tell me what type of fabric she was buying and why it was good for what she was making. I would watch her sew it into clothing; many of the pieces of clothing were for me. I wasn’t interested in getting involved in garment construction so didn’t learn it. But from what I did learn from my grandmother, that drove me to want to quilt. I wanted to buy beautiful colors and patterns of cotton fabric and weave them into quilts that my loved ones would (hopefully) like. Every time I buy fabric or cut it into shapes for a quilt, I think of my grandmother and wish she were here today to see what I do with fabric. I think she’d be pleased.

    —Carol Alaniz on April 16, 2014
  • My mother did some sewing for us four girls so I guess that’s how i became interested. My dad was a draftsman and had the "gift" of being able to draw. In addition to my parents, I think many people especially former teachers encouraged me to be creative. I can’t think of any one person who stands out so I’ll have to attribute my creativity to my education and my sense of not wanting to fit into a mold. I tried to pass that on to my girls, one of which is a kitchen/bath designer, but did inherit her grandfather’s design abilities. At this point in my life after teaching for 35 years, I enjoy learning new things, but seldom take on repititive projects. I want to learn a skill and then move on.

    —Rosemary on April 16, 2014
  • Both my mother and her mother made all their own clothing, and I started very young with dolls clothes. But quilters they were not, and I only picked up the craft when I found a local Store with kits to make place mats on sale. At that point I was well into other crafts and had not even the slightest idea that quilts existed. I am ashamed to admit that 25 years ago while clearing my family home I threw out a stained quilt found on an old frame that was from the home of my paternal grandmother. I now think of the ways it could have been salvaged. My Father was a printer and his father sculptured fancy wall plaster so guess I inherited some artistic ability from all my ancestors. But quilting remains my ride and joy and now a year after loosing my husband I am embarking on a journey to a new town and life and can’t wait to seen who and how my quilting will evolve.

    —Elizajane on April 17, 2014
  • My mother taught me to sew when I was 8 because she assumed all young women knew how to sew. She had grown up in an orphanage and had sewed for 150 kids when she was young. To her sewing was just what you did.
    My grandmother was an Opera singer, a painter, an incredibly creative person and though sewing and quilting weren’t her "thing" she encouraged me to be creative and brave and to never give up.
    I learned from books,friends and my own stubborn self, but i always had these women behind me telling me I could do it!

    —Leslie O on April 17, 2014
  • My Great Grandmother was the seamstress in the family and she made all her family’s clothes on the Singer treadle machine. It was from her guidance that I learned to sew using her machine, to coordinate the up-down motion with my feet and push the fabric through.

    Then it was an elderly woman from church, Maurine Hanson, that provided me with the courage to play with fabric and create gifts of love.

    —Ann B on April 17, 2014
  • My mum. She’s not a quilter but was always making something when I was growing up, mainly tapestry and cross stitch. She inspired me to start making, and then she taught me to use a sewing machine

    wendy on April 17, 2014
  • I was fortunate to have two creative grandmothers. My paternal grandmother, Nana, taught me how to sew. She made the most wonderful wardrobe for my Barbie doll, something Mattel has never been able to duplicate. My maternal grandmother, Nanny, taught me how to crochet. She taught me to make clothes for my dolls and afghans for everyone. They both passed away before I turned 20 but instilled the desire of handwork. I continued to learn knitting and quilting. Today I am always working on something in my sewing room or in front of the TV. I always have a list of requests from my family. My 4 yr old granddaughter has asked me to teach her to sew. We have little lessons on most of her weekly visits.

    Cheryl Kochick on April 17, 2014
  • I’m the odd ‘child’. None of my family members are quilters, well, way back generations ago there were quilters, most from necessity but there was a true artisan from the 1700’s of which I do have some of her quilts. My grandmother taught me to sew at 4, high fashion sewing, French Felled seams, invisible zippers, inset lace, bead work, blind hems, covered buttons… and all without short cuts! "If you are going to sew, you are going to sew the proper way", so said my grandmother. I learned well. However, when it comes to quilting…I am self taught, inspired by antique quilt creations, the love of all things vintage, blended with modern,twisted and sorted by my paintings and years of teaching art. Not to mention the desire to have as many quilts as possible piled high upon my bed! Perfect sleeping on a cold winter’s night. But to answer the question, who has been my greatest creative influence , hands down, God. In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth… not a day goes by that I in some way am inspired from what I see in nature! The night skies = starry quilts…the patterns of waves cresting on the ocean, flowers…shapes of crystals, repetitive patterns upon pinecones, seashells, the colors of the sunrise….Everyday a treasure a storehouse of inspiration created by God.

    —Carol F. on April 17, 2014
  • Definitely came with the DNA. Had a Mom who sewed and gardened and baked and cooked and a Dad who tinkered and fixed and made things out of nothing by necessity. And with that inspiration and DNA I am doing all sorts of fun things and suprising even myself!

    —Adeline on April 17, 2014
  • An unknown quilter! As a 5 year old, I sewed at my Mother’s black and gold Singer – able to use the foot pedal because my Dad made a block for my foot. I made doll clothes, and later my clothes, and much later my wedding dress and clothes for my two boys – but never quilted. During my first pregnancy, I ventured into a thrift shop one afternoon, looking for fabric to use for pillow shams, and found a quilt stuffed into a plastic bag for $5. I had to have it. When I took it out of the bag I found that it had been well used – tears, thread bare pieces and stains – but the pieces were so beautifully crafted. Small, even stitches outlined each piece of the blocks and arranged so that the colors – even faded- and shapes were a complement to one another. I was entranced, delighted, inspired. The spirit of that quilter lived on through that quilt. I made my first quilt that Fall, ready for the birth of my son in January, and I haven’t stopped since. (and I include a label on all my quilts!)

    —Linda Voltz on April 17, 2014
  • I was very fortunate to have a very close relationship with my mom growing up that continues today. Starting at age 3, I started doing crafts with mom and by age 8, I was learning how to embroider. Our creative engines have changed from sewing to beading to painting, etc.

    Donna Cartia on April 17, 2014
  • When I retired, I took a beginner’s quilt class at a fabric shop nearby. There I met a woman named Joan who taught the class. She is a stickler for "measuring twice and cutting once" and using the same brand of rulers since they all differ. That was many, many quilts ago and we have since become friends. She has always been my number one influence for creativity. Now I see she has been instrumental in adding an Art quilt section at our local county fair quilt competition. She’s a real deal. We call her the walking quilting encyclopedia since she knows so much about quilting.

    —Vickie on April 17, 2014
  • My grandma. 🙂

    Jess on April 17, 2014
  • I watched my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother sew all through my early years. I was a clutz so they gave up on me early. My father thought sewing classes in school were fluff and I wasn’t allowed to sign up for them. However, in college, I took two clothing construction classes and have been sewing ever since. (Bless the patience and sense of humor of my college instructor!) Besides clothing, and even a tailored suit for my husband, I have been making quilts ever since–little and big ones! It brings me considerable joy!

    —Janey on April 17, 2014
  • I started sewing when I was 14 and the first thing I made was a pencil skirt..too small and too short..but that did not stop me. A year later I was making blouses for my high school friends. Later I sewed for my three children..jeans, dresses, t shirts and then they grew up and left home..what to do?? I started making small table runners and then had too many of them. So the next step was lap quilts and last year I made three queen sized quilts. I quilted them myself on my domestic machine and they were presents for my three children last Christmas. This year I am making quilts for my two granddaughters. I guess I just love to sew and move on to the next challenge.

    Mary Meikle on April 17, 2014
  • I guess you could say quilting has become my passion.

    Mary Meikle on April 17, 2014
  • When I was a young girl I loved everything about my grandmother. Her cooking, bread making, and she sewed, tatted, crocheted. I think when I was 10 I got a doll for Christmas. My grandmother made a wardrobe of clothes which consisted of a robe, with crocheting and embroidery, a beautiful coat, hat, purse and hanky again with crocheting around. From that day on I was so inspired. I have to admit, the first things I made were pretty bad, but I was so proud of them and tried out my creativity on each item I made, rather it be to change thread color, putting mixed patterns together or sewing on a new type of fabric. Needless to say, I didn’t stop there, I met a woman in our small town, at this time I must have been in my 30’s. She owned a quilt/craft shop. I was asked to work there and that was the beginning of my quilt and fabric obsession. After many years of working, I am back at quilting and now machine embroidery. This is heaven! Many thanks to the special women who inspired me along the way. Oh, I forgot to mention, because of women like these in my life I also had a successful business of sewing, alterations and creating somewhere during these memorable years.

    —Sandy Dallas on April 17, 2014
  • Unknowingly my son is the one that has allowed me to be creative. As a child I loved arts and crafts, but was squashed at every turn because art wasn’t something you could make a living with and therefore wasn’t allowed to go to college for art. Being the good little girl I did what my mother wanted and let art go by the wayside. I think my son was born with a pencil and sketch book in his hands. He always had to have something, pen, pencil, chalk in his hand and he drew on everything and anything. I saw that it was so much a part of him, that he couldn’t stop and still be the person he is. Eventually I let art back into my life and it was a breathe of fresh air. I draw, and take photos, but piecing a quilt, touching the fabric, hunting for the right color combinations,and making the puzzle fit, is much more fulfilling. Making my daughters dresses as they grew, which was an acceptable form of art, was as close as I got for a long time, but not until I started piecing did I feel whole again. Thanks, Son!

    —carla on April 17, 2014
  • My Grandmother. When I was little- about 4, I was a busy little person. She sat me down by the cob basket, gave me a scissors and magazines. As farmers, life (& magazines) revolved around that. I would receive my instructions- "cut out all the pigs you can find." Next day it would be find tractors, etc. I would get to glue another day- on to a newspaper! I watched her sew dresses for my sister and me. She crocheted in the evenings . She would give me scraps and "let" me sew a doll dress or make what ever it could be to me. She taught to hand embroider- white flour sack towels. "Every girl needs to know these things." She also helped as I began to use a sewing machine. She help provide supplies for my next project- water color painting, 3-D pictures, knitting, and sewing. She would help me choose "the best for my money" and I "could" use my babysitting wealth to purchase. She always kept her hands busy with something to do/make. She instilled that desire in me. What a legacy of quilting, sewing, and hand work she passed on.

    —Sherry Dye on April 17, 2014
  • I can’t remember a time when I didn’t craft. I don’t think there was any one person who inspired me to start quilting a few years ago either.

    —Jen B on April 17, 2014
  • I love this book!! My mom (who passed this past 2/8/14) believe that we should always be busy with something. She taught my sisters and I how to sew and knit. Now everywhere I go I bring something to stitch on because I just can’t sit there and do nothing. I owe her a lot – cause I’ve made some beautiful things with those little bits of time!

    Mary Ellen Tardiff on April 17, 2014
  • My sister. She loves playing with the colors but does not have the patience for the sewing. I am not as good at choosing colors but love to sew. We actually make a very good team. My sister is an engineer who used her drafting skills to put herself through college. Anytime I need odd shaped pattern pieces drawn out on cardboard she does it for me.

    —Lori Sutton on April 17, 2014
  • My Mother and Grandmother always had crafting things around for me to play with. I think that gave me the creative bug, along with my love of all colors. And that just made me want to be surrounded by fabric (all the beautiful colors and textures).

    —Kim Waknitz on April 17, 2014
  • I always wanted to learn how to quilt but felt I was too difficult for me to learn. One day after church, a friend asked if I would be interested in going to a quilt class and I was so excited and said "yes". That was all it took to get me going. The class was a lot of fun and it made me feel it wasn’t as difficult as it originally seemed. Since then I took another class and made many quilts that I have given to family members and friends. I had to stop for awhile due to some health issues, but I’m about ready to get back into quilting. I’ve missed quilting so much! Going in a fabric store to pick out fabric is like a kid going into a candy store. So many colors to choose from. I love it!! Thank you Bev Benge for asking me to go to that class. If it wasn’t for you, quilting would not be what it is to me today!!

    —Kathy on April 17, 2014
  • When I was 9, I inherited one of my great-grandmother’s quilts. I received another one for my 35th birthday. They hang in my living room and have served as an inspiration to me for decades. That first quilt at the age of 9 made me want to make one myself; it took until I was 30 to take a class, and I’ve done no other kind of craft since.

    —Jill Ellis on April 17, 2014
  • My grandmother was a beautiful applique quilter, she always had a project on the go and managed to make a wedding quilt for all of her grandchildren. I received the last one she made and she passed away a year later. I had learned to sew clothing at a young age but never tried quilting until about a year after her death. No classes, not much reading (no internet)- just a book of big quilt blocks that I traced for templates. I muddled my way through a wall hanging as a first project using my memory and years of watching my grandmother put numerous quilts together. There’s multiple proper techniques that I didn’t follow but that first wall hanging is still hung seasonally in my house and I’m reminded of ‘Nan’ whenever I see it. I do regret not being bit by the quilting bug while she was still alive as nobody else in my family has taken up the art – I think she would have been pleased to know someone followed in her footsteps.

    —Sharlene B on April 17, 2014
  • Books and the internet have been a big creative influence for me. My mother and mother-in-law are now deceased and they were sewists and quilters, so I miss their influence. I appreciate all the free patterns available online and in books and I take advantage of all that information.

    —Karen Funk on April 17, 2014
  • I learned to embroider when I was eight from my paternal grandmother and I embroidered everything that didn’t move including a set of boxer shorts with the days of the week for my future husband! Then, as a young mother, I watched Erica Wilson quilt on her PBS show and was hooked. Made mostly baby quilts until I joined a Quilt Club, became a teacher, and have enjoyed every minute of every technique I have learned. Ann Connors

    —Ann on April 18, 2014
  • I think that creativity is hard-wired into my family. My grandmother, Anna, made beautiful hardanger cloths and could knit a pair of socks in a weekend. Mother, Emilia, was an oil painter (I still have about 20 of her paintings) and made 3-dimensional papier mache objects. My sister, Wendy, is a Master Weaver and pine-needle basket maker. I came to quilting accidentally, having been a member of a needlework guild for many years. I’ve always loved to sew, so had a good knowledge of what constitutes quality fabric. The availability of beautiful designs is quite breathtaking, too, and I stitch and sew almost every day.

    Gail G on April 18, 2014
  • My biggest creative influence has been myself. When I create, I take everything that’s inside me and I morph it into something tangible. Everything I create has a little piece of me n it, and a little bit of everything I create is for me.

    —Sarah Jane on April 18, 2014
  • My biggest influence was Eleanor Burns. She encouraged me and taught me how to break sewing blocks into smaller steps. Unfortunately, my mother only told me that I was too stupid to sew. Yet, I had the desire to create and PBS had this lovely lady, Eleanor, talking directly to me with a smile and kind words. I took classes at local stores and Mom would actually cut my projects up. As an adult, I continued to read, watch PBS and attend classes. I now can design quilts, embroidery, applique, and piece. Last year was the first time I entered quilts into a Show. Did not win but strangers would stop and take pictures of my quilts. I have learned so many techniques but the confidence to finish has to go to dear Eleanor.

    —Marjorie on April 18, 2014
  • Instead of learning from my mother or grandmother, I got started quilting because my oldest daughter came to visit me shortly before I retired. I had sewed for many years, made all five children most of their clothes for many years, but had never attempted to make quilts. She brought me a small pot holder, which looked very complicated to me and she told me it was paper-pieced and she pulled out the papers and proceeded to sit down and show me, step by step, how to make the pot holder. I said, oh, neat, now lets go shopping. "Oh, no", she says, "here are your papers, you sit down and make one now. If you don’t you will never remember how to do it". And that was many piles and totes and drawers full of fabric ago. Gone as oil painting, watercolors, woodworking, knitting, polymer clay and every other craft I had to try. It is all about quilting ever since then.

    —Donna on April 18, 2014
  • My beautiful Mum. Not a quilter but a sewer of my many lovely dresses (and my dolls and bears) when I was growing up. She always encouraged me to "have a go" no matter what creative endeavour I wanted to try. Of course when I fell into quilting (as one does!) she was the first person to get one after my sampler. She even gave me her sewing machine which I still have as mine did not drop feed dogs.

    —Jenny on April 18, 2014
  • Instead of learning from my mother or grandmother, I got started quilting because my oldest daughter came to visit me shortly before I retired. I had sewed for many years, made all five children most of their clothes for many years, but had never attempted to make quilts. She brought me a small pot holder, which looked very complicated to me and she told me it was paper-pieced and she pulled out the papers and proceeded to sit down and show me, step by step, how to make the pot holder. I said, oh, neat, now lets go shopping. "Oh, no", she says, "here are your papers, you sit down and make one now. If you don’t you will never remember how to do it". And that was many piles and totes and drawers full of fabric ago. Gone are oil painting, watercolors, woodworking, knitting, polymer clay and every other craft I had to try. It is all about quilting ever since then.

    —Donna on April 18, 2014
  • All the years I was growing up my Mom, my Aunt Grace, and my Grandma Clara sewed and made our clothes (6 girls and 1 boy) They also made shirts and stuff for the men in our lives. I started sewing at a very young age (still have the little handcrank, chainstitch machine I used.) As I got older and took home ec classes I developed a love for fabric and sewing. None of my other sisters did. When my nephew was sick with Leukemia and my sis couldn’t find comfortable clothes for him,(we lived in different states) my sister would give me his measurements and I would make him sweat pants and t-shirts for him, then send them to her. He is grown up now and still has the camouflage quilt I made him. We are very blessed to have him with us, because he saw a lot of his friends die. I love sewing!!

    Susan Paxton on April 18, 2014
  • I needed some baby blankets and couldn’t afford them, so I made them out of whatever. I used old blankets cut up small for the batting. For some reason I don’t do this anymore–lazy–maybe– I don’t know why I think I have to buy materials, but I do. There are so many more lovelies out there than there used to be. I guess that’s why. I do still make quilts out of old denim jeans though. Oh, "necessity" is where I got my creativity.

    —CindyM on April 18, 2014
  • I made my 1st project when I was 8 — an apron for my mother for Mother’s Day. After she was sure that I could use the machine safely, Mother let me just sit down at her machine and sew and create doll clothes without patterns. In junior high I started making clothing for myself. My father encouraged me by telling me that as long as I was using the fabric to make something, he would never say no to a fabric purchase. That is a lot of incentive for a teenage girl! Later I made almost all the clothes for myself and our 3 girls. I think the more you sew the more creative you become. I have taken lots of classes over the years, subscribed to magazines, and now follow many designer’s blogs. I think the more you surround yourself with creative people, the more creative you become. Experience and skills allow you to sometimes step out of your comfort zone and try new things.

    —Nancy Angerer on April 18, 2014
  • My Mom, my aunts Neva and Sylvia and my grandmother, Gumie always had a needle, crochet hook, knitting needle or sewing machine at the ready to create. I learned to sew skirts with flour sack material from the local grainery on an old treadle machine of my Mom’s. Best Christmas ever was when Mom made me a bed full of doll clothes for my dolly. Gumie made the most beautiful cut-work and embroidery (by hand), Aunt Sylvia knitted just about everything she wore and Aunt Neva hand-quilted her beautiful quilts. I have the gene and I’m forever thankful for my gift.

    —Judi Jordan on April 18, 2014
  • I have always been a sewer and come from a family that sews in a minor fashion more out of necessity than any degree of creativity so none of them inspired me to quilt. The person who did was a work colleague many years ago when she planted the seed that didn’t germinate until five years ago. She has no idea what she started, but if I ever see her again, I will definitely thank her if I can find the words; she saved my sanity.

    Deborah on April 18, 2014
  • It seems like I have worked with crafty things all my life. I remember doing some needlework as a Girl Scout and making most of my clothes once I took Home Economics in 8th grade. My real influence came several years later. My daughter at age 3 decided that she wanted to make gifts for all her family. At that time there weren’t very many craft stores around so she really helped spark my creative juices. From there my interest in quilts and other handiwork grew. Her interest also grew as she grew. Now that she is grown and has children of her own she continues to instill the love of being creative with them.

    —Louise Buker on April 18, 2014
  • Sister-in-law, Maggie Mustoe, is my biggest influence. Listening and watching her sew in her Florida room while visiting her and my brother. The sisterhood of Maggie learning from her Grandma and Mother at a young age, the 2 guilds, Florida and back home has inspired me to start my quilting journey. It is very good.

    —Sharon Ybarra on April 19, 2014
  • I would have to say that the biggest influence on my creativity has been necessity! Raising four children did not leave much money to spend on extras so I became a creator. If the the children needed clothes, I made them, made quilts to keep warm, made gifts for the family and more Barbie clothes than I could count – even knitted socks for the Ken doll. It all just sort of fell into place and to this day, my hands must be kept busy. My Mother taught me to crochet when I was young but everything else I picked up from books, thank heaven for books and those who take the time to write them!!!

    —Patricia Vastine on April 19, 2014
  • My mother. She was sewing and doing crafts before I was ever born. I grew up with her sewing machine always humming along and with fabric always in her basket. Thanks for the giveaway.

    —Renea on April 19, 2014
  • My mother did not sew, quilt, knit or cook! From a sense of self preservation I learnt to sew and cook from an early age. But I started quilting after I read an article in a US magazine and a friend started quilting when a quilt shop opened near where she lived. It was the loveliness of the fabrics and patterns that fed my creative juices.

    —Gloria on April 19, 2014
  • My late co-worker Gwen. She had all kinds of projects going on, thus inspiring me. We had to co ordinate days off so both of us could attend the International Quilt Festival Houston. She came to my aid on my 1st quilt project and was assisting me with my 2nd when she was killed by a drunk driver. Thirteen years later I still miss her encouraging words and smile.

    —Debbie Williams on April 19, 2014
  • My creativity comes from my Mom and my Grandmother. My Mom liked to sew and she always made dresses and nightgowns for my sisters and me. She also did many crafts. My Grandmother was a knitter and a crocheter and I still have many of the items that she made for me.

    —Denise Kirk on April 19, 2014
  • My Grandmother and my mother in law. Grandma tried everything and was successful with most. Along with quilting, sewing and making puff pictures out of fabric, you have to see one to understand what she did, she was also a published poet and a one room school teacher. My mother in law quilts, crochets, sews and is the greatest cook. She is slowing down but still cuts and sews her quilts the old fashioned way, using scissors, a ruler, and hand sewing.

    —Charlotte on April 19, 2014
  • Like many others, my mom was my inspiration and my teacher. She taught me to sew when I was little. As I got older, I discovered the joy of impressing her with my creations. It was fun to see her face light up when I gave her the perfect gift that I made myself. And even better when she wondered how I did it. The last gift I gave her was a quilt we worked on together. We went fabric shopping to pick out what she wanted. She decided to follow a pattern I made for my brother, I assured her it was easy. But two years later it wasn’t started and she was diagnosed with cancer. So I "borrowed" the fabric and finished her quilt for Christmas. It wasn’t a surprise, but it made her very happy.

    —Rachel on April 20, 2014
  • When I learned to s you followed a pattern. Deviation was not encouraged (material was expensive). Then I started taking classes, most classes encourage formulaic adherence to what has worked for the teacher, what has appealed to the most, or the editor, publisher, designer. Then I took a class from a pattern maker- she encouraged experimentation, gave permission to change the pattern try different things. Some thing my mother said about people who asked for recipes and did not reproduce her dishes, but they did not have all the ingredients, for some reason the new dish was not the same. If you follow a pattern it should turn out the same. So if you try some thing different you risk being unsatisfied, but chance being thrilled with the result. Knew photographers they took thousands of pictures to get 100 to send to their magazine – the magazine took maybe 20.

    —Karen on April 20, 2014
  • I was first inspired by my grandmother when I was a little girl. She made everything – clothing, drapery, crafts, everything. And I didn’t know until I was a teen that she made drapes professionally. She made all of us grand kids clothes, dolls, and other toys. When I was 10 or so, she took the time to sit down with me and show me how to embroider. We used tea towels and the iron on patterns – that was the beginning of sewing for me. From there I started to learn about garment construction while in Girl Scouts and then took Home-EC each year in Jr. high and Sr. high school. I made clothes for school and then started to make bridesmaid dresses for ladies in our church. I continued to sew garments in college until my grandmother passed away due to liver cancer in 1984. It was devastating to lose her from my life as she was a major part of my inspiration to keep sewing and creating. I stopped sewing after she passed. In 1990 and in tribute to her, I made my wedding dress – because I knew she would have worked with me on my wedding dress had she still lived. Then after I was first married, I started to get into the quilting world. I really didn’t know what I was doing and am still a novice. But for whatever reason, I always had grandma on my mind when I made fabric and pattern choices, etc. With a renewed passion, and a little prodding from memories of her, I dove into the sewing world by buying a new machine. You know, an embroidery and sewing machine! Now after several classes, attending sewing expo in Puyallup WA, etc., I have several quilt tops waiting to be sandwiched, multiple garments in pieces and waiting to be finished and love being back into the hobby. I am never without her "presence" in my sewing room. I always wonder if she is smiling down from above as I complete a project. Or asking myself, what would grandma have done – what decisions would she have made – how would she modify this pattern to make it her own. And I find myself making adjustments or adding trims, seams, buttons to projects when I would have never deviated from the exact pattern. I know she would have done the same thing. And that is what started me into this part of sewing and what keeps me staying with it until the projects are finished-well, within due time at least.

    —Deanna Briggs on April 21, 2014

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