Quilting Gallery Blog

Strong fabric doesn’t rip and tangled threads bind us.

Please join me in welcoming Mary Shipman as today’s guest blogger as she shares her family’s quilt history with us.

Quilting is a tradition in our family, there are four generations of quilters going strong. I interviewed several of our "Quilting family" for this article.

Kathy Longstroth, Boise, ID (1st generation)

How did YOU get interested in quilting?

My daughter in law is a quilter and on a visit to her home, she took me shopping and to a quilt group meeting. After that, I bought fabric and started on a love affair with fabric. My mother, Fern Livermore, made many quilts and I belonged to 4-H for many years, but quilting never appealed to me until my family was grown.

Where do you get inspiration?

I would say mostly from the person I am making the quilt for, or from a fabric that catches my eye. I love reds so I use a lot of them.

What is your favorite technique?

I started making my quilts with the large picture and pillow panels, that was surely the no-brainer method. Then I got started piecing, first 9-patches and log cabins. I have done many blocks, but still enjoy doing the ‘old fashioned’ ones.

A favorite tip or tool you use?

The rotary cutter and cutting mat! I am a ‘lefty’ and these make it much easier to cut pieces than using scissors and a template! Read the instructions, three or four times before you cut anything would be my best tip for quilters

Original, modern or traditional blocks – your favorite block, have you made it yet?

I love the log cabin! So many settings! My guild is doing a BOM of various star blocks, I am currently working on those. I find some of them quite difficult, but as a quilter, I am growing.

Any personal information you want to share.

I enjoy quilting, my quilt group, and family. Recently I won a beautiful raffle quilt showing ‘birds of prey’. One of my early pieced quilts was a 1 inch 9-patch, after it was quilted, I called it a ‘mattress pad’.

Mary Shipman, Reynolds, MO. (2nd generation)

How did YOU get interested in quilting?

Quilts were always a part of my life, as a child, my sister and I had quilts made by one of our grandmothers on our beds. Grandma Fern Livermore made many appliqué quilts, on our annual trips to visit her she was always working on blocks, surrounded by colorful fabric and hand stitching them in any quiet moment.

Later, as a teenager, I was intrigued by a friends grandmother who hand pieced and hand quilted, the frame hanging from the ceiling in an unused bedroom. Grandma Essie tried to get my friend and I interested in making blocks, but hand cutting and sewing was not for me at the time.

From time to time, I played with the idea, embroidering some blocks and making tops from blocks inherited from Grandma Fern.

Sadly, I did not properly appreciate these lessons, actually learning much later.

Where do you get inspiration?

A lot of places, books, Internet, the people I make quilts for. . . A family friend wanted a special quilt for his wife’s birthday, he said,’ She loves unicorns, dolphins and mint green, I want the quilt tied like my grandmother made hers’. This was the result of that description, a reversible quilt. It is one of my favorites so far.

What is your favorite technique, pieced, appliquéd, embroidered?

I enjoy making pieced blocks and purchased an embroidery machine a couple of years ago, which I really enjoy using too. I have not done much appliqué, but that is on my list to try.

A favorite tip or tool you use?

I really like my June Taylor Shape Cut ruler. It makes cutting so easy!

Making a practice block when trying a new pattern would be my favorite tip, it can save a lot of problems, making sure your size is correct before you several.

Original, modern or traditional blocks – your favorite block, have you made it yet?

I like the traditional blocks, more the simple ones, like all the wonderful variations of the 9-patch.

I have made two Radiant star quilts, using Eleanor Burns book, my mother in law always said "if you can make the Star, you are a ‘real’ quilter", I wanted to try that challenge.

Any personal information you want to share.

I have been making quilts for about 4 years, most of them are given to family and friends. I recently decided to learn to hand quilt, quite a challenge! When not quilting, reading, surfing quilting websites and camping are my favorite pastimes.

Chrysta Holt, Kannapolis, NC, (3rd generation)

How did YOU get interested in quilting?

The first time I went to a quilt guild meeting as a guest with my mother, Mary, and sister, Tara, I won the BOM drawing. Mom and I put the top together. I really don’t consider myself a quilter, although I do love the way they look and the whole idea of making them. I mostly, at this point, help my mom, pick out fabrics and do a lot of cutting for her. I used to cut pieces for my grandmother, using cardboard template cutouts and scissors, when I was about 10 or 12.

Where do you get inspiration?

I like things from nature and dogs. I helped design the lay out for this quilt that Mom made for a friend of ours who likes all things Native American. She was pleased with the finished quilt.

What is your favorite technique, pieced, appliquéd, embroidered? A favorite tip or tool you use?

I like to do cross stitch embroidery, and may someday make a quilt using that technique. I prefer to use the strip piecing method. It sure makes you progress faster! ‘Specialty rulers’ get my vote for ‘tools’, I use them a lot when cutting for Mom.

Original, modern or traditional blocks – your favorite block, have you made it yet?

I don’t have a favorite block at this point, many of them are beautiful. My late mother-in-law had an unfinished top she was working on with pre-printed wildlife blocks. I finished it, and it is now a treasured possession.

Tara Banks, San Diego, CA (3rd generation)

How did you get interested in quilting? Where do you get inspiration?

Mom was making quilts for everyone in the family and hadn’t done mine yet because I couldn’t choose a block or colors. Over Thanksgiving a few years ago she decided the time had come so I looked through books and went with her to a fabric store to pick out the components and when we got back to her house she put me to work making it myself J I had so much fun I decided to start doing some quilting on my own, so I headed to QIAD in San Marcos when I got back from vacation and started stocking up. I am currently working on a comfort quilt for a friend who is starting dialysis.

What is your favorite technique, pieced, appliquéd, embroidered? A favorite tip or tool you use?

I am really new to this so for now, piecing and strip piecing are my favorites, I am going to be trying some appliqué someday as well, but for now I am sticking to the basics. My favorite tools are also simple, a rotary cutter and a squaring up ruler.

Original, modern or traditional blocks – your favorite block, have you made it yet?

I think traditional, I really like simple patterns, log cabin, rail fence. There are so many blocks out there and they are all beautiful, I just keep trying new things (and calling mom for help)

Emilie Banks, San Diego, CA (4th generation)

How did you get interested in quilting? Where do you get inspiration?

Well, my grandma and mom got me into quilting. It just looked like so much fun! I decided on a pattern when mom and I took a quilting class together and made an Irish chain quilt for my little cousin. My inspiration is nature, my family, and very bright colors. Well, I haven’t done any appliqué or anything like that, but I did embroider my cousins name onto her quilt with a normal sewing machine, which made me feel pretty spiffy.

Original, modern or traditional blocks – your favorite block, have you made it yet?

I have to say my favorite quilt block is the lover’s knot, it’s just really really pretty. I haven’t made it yet, but I want to.

Brett Holt, Kannapolis, NC (4th generation)

How did you get interested in quilting? Where do you get inspiration?

I made my first quilt when I was 9. Gramma had made one for me, and I wanted to try it. She did the cutting and I sewed, sandwiched and tied it. It was a home school project too. I learned about Math, reading, and sewing skills.

A favorite tip or tool you use?

I really like using gramma’s sewing machines, especially the embroidery machine! My tip is; You can’t use too many pins when you are putting pieces together. I am a 15 year old, home schooled and a Boy Scout.

I like to fish and hunt and quilt. Gramma told me that there are some famous men quilters when I was being teased about learning to sew. They should look out, I’m on my way, too!

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This post was published on November 4th, 2010. Post topics: Guest Bloggers.

2 Responses to “Strong fabric doesn’t rip and tangled threads bind us.”

  1. Mary Shipman says:

    Thank you, Michele, for allowing me to share a part of the story of our ‘quilting family”

  2. Mishka says:

    You’re very welcome Mary! I love reading the family stories.

    Cheers,
    Michele

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