Who We Are
WALLA WALLA VALLEY QUILT
"My grandmother was a wonderful quilter. Of course, everything she did was done by hand. However, she taught me to quilt on her treadle sewing machine when I was very small. I didn't begin to quilt on my own until 1985 and those were very traditional quilts for everyone in my family. One daughter told me that she didn't want a quilt where "you cut up little pieces and sew them back together." I haven't yet made one for her, because I haven't figured out how to do it without cutting anything up! Although it seems difficult to find the time to quilt as much as I'd like, I finish about seven or eight quilts a year, several of which are donation quilts."
I started quilting in 1992 after buying a new sewing machine. Seemed to me that I had to justify it with products to show my hubby. I didn't know any other quilters so I purchased a pattern (a tissue paper pattern) a ruler, rotary cutter cutting board, and went for it. That was the first of many quilts. As we all know..so many quilts, so little time. My sewing room is my sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the world. And I do spend a lot of time working on Festival Business, but it is a labor of love!
Judy has been sewing most of her life and continues to create with fiber. A Home Ec college grad, she has branched out to computer sciences in her vocation, but her avocation still remains sewing and quilting. An accomplished quilter and seamstress, she never ceases to amaze with her creative products. One of Judy's specialties is putting together the Demonstrations and schedules at the Festival.
I took my first quilting class at Saxon’s Sewing Center in 1982. It was a 12 block sampler but the quilt was to be a wedding present for my younger sister, so I decided to make it into a 25 block king size bedspread. I hand quilted it. When I finished the third quilt top, I was ready to try machine quilting…stitch-in-the-ditch. Whenever I see it now, I cringe! The quilting did nothing to enhance the beauty of the patchwork design. In December 1990, I completed my fifth quilt. It took me three weeks from start to finish. It was at that point that I realized I loved quilting more than garment construction, and I had been making all of my clothes for nearly 20 years! I began experimenting with free-motion quilting in 1994. A few years later, I took two classes from Pam Clark, a well-known machine quilter from Spokane, WA. In 2004 I went to Harriet Hargrave’s Celebration of Machine Quilting in Estes Park, CO. However, I still have lots to learn. I do all my quilting with my Pfaff sewing machine and enjoy making free-motion designs using only minimal guidelines. My favorite designs are feathered wreaths and cables.
I taught family and consumer sciences education for 32 years, retiring in 2008. I introduced my middle school students to quilting by turning 9-patch blocks into pillows as a tune-up for their sewing projects. Over the years, several groups of older students wanted to make quilts as their sewing projects. I am particularly proud of the actions my students took following two world events. In December 1992, my students stitched together scraps of donated polar fleece to create blankets which were sent to Croatian refugees of the civil war in the former Yugoslavia. Then, after Hurricane Katrina, my students created 28 beautiful lap sized quilts from donated fabrics and sent them to students in a 5th grade class in Long Beach, Mississippi.
Relatives and friends get most of the quilts I create. I also donate quilts for use as fundraisers to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Blue Mountain Archers, and other good causes. Currently, I teach patchwork and machine-quilting classes at Walla Walla Sew & Vac and Spas.
Pam is an accomplished writer, speaker and consultant. She travels far and wide visiting Europe and the far east. You can easily see this influence in her lovely work. She began quilting in 1973 before the advent of rotary cutters. Her first project was a deacon's bench seat composed entirely of 1-inch squares. She meticulously cut each square with her scissors. That was enough for her for many years. Quilting again called her name and her second effort was a pot holder. Pam has graduated into making lovely quilts which she machine quilts herself. She says she still often gives thanks for the modern quilting tools we all enjoy!
I started quilting about 15 years after I took a class from my good friend Jan. Then I took more classes and have been hooked ever since. Went to Estes Park, Colorado to Harriet Hargraves Quilting Celebration and took several classes from well known teachers from here and abroad. Each time I take a class, I learn something new. Jan and I now teach classes at our local Sew and Vac store here. Quite a change from knowing nothing to becoming a teacher. Can't find me, I'm in my sewing room!
I started sewing in 7th grade when you learned how to make one of those lovely gathered skirts using 3 yards of fabric. Sewed clothes, costumes, etc. for family and friends through the years. But in 2000 a small newspaper ad caught my eye announcing the 2nd annual WWVQF and they were having a quilt challenge. Well, I love a challenge and the quilt was only wall hanging size, so I bought a book, fabric and other tools of the trade and went to it. Much to my surprise, and a few other peoples', I won third place. I was now hooked big time on quilting. After the quilt festival that year, I volunteered my services and as they say, the rest is history.
Jess started quilting at his grandmother's knee when just a small boy. He has continued to quilt throughout his career and retirement. His work, which is done totally by hand, is acclaimed throughout our region. In fac he continues to win awards at most of the quilt shows he enters. His 2010 quilt has just been accepted to be judged and shown in the Pacific West Quilt Show in Tacoma, WA.
I started quilting seriously about fourteen years ago when I made my grandson a baby quilt. After that first quilt, I took a quilt class, and, as they say...the rest is history. I was hooked. Both my grandmothers quilted, but, at the time I was too young to be interested. What I would give to go back and learn from them. I have several quilts that were made by my grandmas' and I treasure them dearly. I choose quilt patterns by what I like and I enjoy trying new techniques. I usually have several projects going at the same time...some get finished, some don't. Neither of my daughters like to sew or quilt, but my three grandsons have made several quilt projects and we have good sew days together. I love seeing how a quilt comes together and how it changes in the process.
Love fabric, love the texture, feel, and look, it’s my downfall. Wanting to be a stay at home Mom while our two children were little, I sewed for them and eventually even sewed suits for my husband Chuck. One day our son, Eric brought home a quilt that he found at a garage sale. It was comprised of two different blocks, a 10” block, and a 12” block. Needless to say, it was an interesting and colorful combination…but it didn’t quite fit together. After making that find into two quilts; finishing a velvet quilt a friend had started for my Aunt Irene, I was deep into repairing old quilts that families were trying to save. That naturally led me into studying old fabrics, their history and which period in time they were produced. After a few years of piecing together other people’s treasures I joined the Blue Mountain Piecemaker Guild in Pendleton and made my first new block, Ocean Waves, then Delectable Mountains then…well I was hooked.
I quickly found out that I am a starter, not a finisher so I really have to push myself to finish projects. Quite often I will declare a year “A finishing year” and will not start any new projects until I finish the ones at hand. While that sounds very noble, in trying to finish up I get so many new ideas that I have to start…a few new ones. A couple years ago I decided I had too many hobbies so I have cut them down to five: quilting; tole painting; card making; crosstitching and knitting. I will let you guess how many unfinished projects that creates!