Quilting Gallery Blog

Guest Blogger: Beth Donaldson, Quilter & Super Model and a Give-Away

Please join me in welcoming today’s guest blogger, Beth Donaldson. Find out how her quilting career led to her being a super model. Plus she’s giving away two copies of the newly released book: F is for Friendship, A Quilt Alphabet.

How much fun is this? Guest Blogger. I’ve been a quilter since I was 17. I’ve written patterns that are published in books and magazines, lectured, taught, written two books and landed the world’s best job working in a museum with over 700 quilts. But last summer I had a once in a lifetime adventure, I became a super model!

Yes, you might wonder, how can a woman over 50, over weight and under whelmed become a model? It turns out I live in the same area as one Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen, the excellent illustrator of children’s books for Sleeping Bear Press. I got a phone call one day from Nick (the much easier name he goes by) describing his dilemma. He had a contract to illustrate a children’s book about quilting and was in the middle of researching and painting. He was already working with some of my quilting friends including Carol Schon, who suggested he contact me. Thank you Carol! He phoned, could I help? Sure, I was up for it, I had seen and admired his work and this sounded like great fun.

When we met he showed me some of the text by Helen L. Wilbur and some of the paintings he had already done. He then described some of the letters he still needed to illustrate. His method is to pose models with quilts, take photographs and then paint his illustrations from the photos. This left out almost all of the museum’s quilts, since they can’t be loaned out and draped over just anything.

Lucky for me I have quite a pile of quilts, both new and antique. So I showed him some quilts I thought would work with the text and he took them home and staged his paintings. Some were used with models, and some just on their own. He used both quilts I had made and collected. He would take 3 or 4 quilts at a time, then come back with a few more letters and take back a few more quilts.

At one point he needed a quilter to pose at hand quilting. After the furor over the Northern tissue ads where the Northern Tissue quilters were knitting, not quilting and Northern had to reshoot the commercial and apologize to quilters, I knew the quilting hands better be authentic. He took photos of my hands, so he could show his model (a non-quilter) how to hold the quilt and her hands.

One day he showed me the text for S is for Sewing Machine. The rhyme talks of flying feet which of course means a treadle. About 5 years ago for Christmas my DH surprised me by driving 100 miles to my Aunt Mary Jane’s home and bringing me my grandmother’s old Singer Treadle sewing machine. That was the best Christmas gift I ever got.

I told Nick I had a particularly photogenic Singer. It was a model from about 1910 with beautiful Egyptian scrolls and Sphinx in gold. My grandmother painted the beautiful oak cabinet Nile green, which was the color at the height of fashion in the 1930s. Nick thought the machine was perfect. Then came the big question, would I pose at the machine? My first reaction was NO! But then, I thought, when is this chance ever going to come again? Never of course, so I made Nick promise to give my fine flat hair a little volume and off we went.

I was working on a baby quilt for my next door neighbor and thought the colors could pass for the 1920s, so I put it under the press foot as if I was attaching a border. Nick took a bunch of pictures. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and tennis shoes. A few weeks later Nick brought the painting in for me to see. There I was in an old gold dress, corrective black shoes and round glasses. I loved it! It really does look like me and he managed to give my hair just a bit of volume.

By the end of the project my quilts appear in about 10 letters. The book is F is for Friendship, A Quilt Alphabet and it can be purchased on Amazon and many other booksellers online. I bet you can find at your local bookstore, too.

Enter the Give-Away

So to share my delight I’m offering two free books. To enter the give-away, leave a comment below. Starting with A is for appliqué, B is for bobbin, C is for… leave a comment that follows the next available letter after the comment above yours. When you make it to the end, start over again.

One winner will be chosen randomly from the comments on this page, and the other will be chosen from comments left on my blog, Beth Donaldson, Quilt Maker. So leave a comment here, then go to my blog, check out my free patterns, view two more illustrations from F is For Friendship, and leave a comment. Winners will be chosen next Wednesday.

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This post was published on April 13th, 2011. Post topics: Guest Bloggers. Post tags: .

132 Responses to “Guest Blogger: Beth Donaldson, Quilter & Super Model and a Give-Away”

  1. Donna says:

    U is for universal because quilting has become a hobby done throughout the world especially with technology today.

  2. U is for Unique
    because all friendships are unique just like quilts

  3. Jay says:

    And my letter appears to be “V”…so my comment will be ” V is for Vintage”! Regardless of what style of quilting we like, vintage quilts are the root of all quilting!!

  4. Brenda Specketer says:

    U is for utterly fantastic, which is what your story above is. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Kylie Lloyd says:

    W is for wedding rings. I have to make a wedding quilt but I’m not sure a wedding ring pattern is for me

  6. Deanna Daugherty says:

    X ia for the eXtra special book that would be a great send off from 32 years of teaching. I’m retiring this year to spend more life with quilting.

  7. Bev C says:

    Y is for yo-yo’s. I just love making them. Congratulations on the book, amazing pictures and info about it.
    Happy days.

  8. kathy h says:

    Z is for zoom as your feet must have zoomed on the treadle sewing machine. I loved your story. It is so interesting to see the behind the scenes of a book. Congratulations on the book, you must have had a fun time.

  9. dawn says:

    A is for apple core, a favorite block to piece. Thanks!

  10. Chris says:

    B is for Bright. The quilt will bring Bright shiny faces of happiness for you because your finally done and for the one who will receive it for years to come!

  11. SewCalGal says:

    Congratulations on your new book. Looks absolutely wonderful. Would love to win a copy to read, as well as share with my great-nieces and great-newphews. Looks delightful.

    I also posted about this on the page of my blog where I share insights on contests & giveaways: http://sewcalgal.blogspot.com/p/giveaways.html


  12. D as in delight and Dutch is the little boy who is studying English and has a passion for dolphins!
    E as in expecting with excitement and F as in Felt , fiber artist . Congratulations , lovely blog , beautiful picture of you !

  13. Julie says:

    D is for dangle……dangle a book in front of me and I will follow you anywhere!!! I’m going to Amazon to get it now.

  14. Linda Brown says:

    F is for the fun that is involved in all areas of quilting, and the joy that comes from the finished quilt. Thanks for the fun of entering the giveaway.

  15. Sandi says:

    E is for Everlasting friendships that I’ve made when quilting. We all agree that while we love stitching and quilting, that if we couldn’t share with others and be inspired by each other’s quilts, it just wouldn’t be as much fun. I treasure so many friendships that would not have happened had I not been quilting! The book is lovely and if I don’t win, I’ll be buying the book. Love the artwork!

  16. Kylie Carlson says:

    F is for Fan. I made a fan quilt out of my grandfather’s ties and it is my favorite quilt I’ve made.

  17. Tiffany says:

    G is for Gorgeous! Which is what this book looks like! Along with SO many other quilts out there today!

  18. Eleny Maul says:

    H is for Hanging Sleeve, a displayer’s pet peeve.

  19. Yolanda Robinson says:

    I is for IMAGINATION that I use when designing a quilt!

  20. Jean says:

    H is for half square triangles and all the wonderful designs you can make with them (not to mention all the different ways to make them)

  21. Luci D. says:

    Jacob’s Ladder quilt block pattern!

  22. Candy Haugen says:

    J is for jewel tones! My favorite colors in quilts.

  23. LaRue Wilson says:

    K is for Keepsake, which is what I hope my quilts become for those who receive them.

  24. Pam says:

    L is for lots of lines when doing cross hatch quilting!

  25. Jodie Camillo says:

    M is for the Mom’s out there – thanks for teaching me how to quilt and sew!

  26. Pam McDonald says:

    N is for Novelty Fabric, which I just adore!

  27. Lisa Phillips says:

    O is for the opportunity to quilt for friends and family!

  28. JOAN GODFREY says:

    O is for “one ponce a time………”

    what my daughter said for once upon a time. when she wanted me to read a book she brought it and said one ponce a time. then it was time to sit and read a while.

  29. Irene Walker says:

    P is for planning my next quilt – I’m always planning the next quilt!

  30. Jodi R says:

    Q is for Quilt, & Quiet time & Quantities of Fabric & Quality workmanship (or workwomanship if you prefer)

  31. Cathy Parker says:

    R is for Redwork. My favorite pastime and all-consuming passion.

  32. Heather says:

    Just wanted to say this is an adorable post, fun comment section & great giveaway idea. Off to check out your blog next.
    Happy Stitching.

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