Anatomy of a Quilter

I am a fourth generation quilter. Like my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother before me, I have always been captivated by the feel and sight of different fabrics, by transforming scraps into comforting works of art. I made my first patchwork quilt when I was 10 years old. It was a simple strip quilt made from leftover fabrics from quilts and clothes my mother had made. Since then I have made more than 20 quilts in a variety of sizes, all traditional patchwork patterns, but have longed to break away from right angles and other geometry into the freedom of art quilting.


Quilt ideas come to me the same way poetry does. Something catches my eye or mind — a color, a pattern, a feeling, an idea. When that happens with words, I clear my mind, pick up a pen, and let the words rush out. When it happens with quilts, I make a bee-line for the closest fabric store (in town or online) and let the colors and patterns swim together until a picture comes out. When it does, I sketch it, post it on my cork board, and get to work. I especially love quilting challenges because they force me to break out of my usual thought patterns and let the fabric or topic speak to me.

It has been years since I’ve made a quilt, but since moving from San Francisco to Santa Fe I am alive with inspiration. My board is crammed with ideas, some my own, and others inspired by challenges. I am currently working on three quilts: a traditional patterned donation quilt for Quilts of Valor that was inspired by a memoir I’ve been working on about my grandfather who fought in WWII, a challenge quilt featuring the fabrics of local blind painter George Mendoza, and a St. Patrick’s day challenge quilt featuring the Green Man drawn from my graduate school research on the same topic. Oh yes, and of course my Pizza Quilt. What better way to embrace Santa Fe than a southwest-style quilt made for me by my new guild sisters. 2012 is going to be an exciting year.