I first learned to sew when we were staying with my grandmother and she taught me how to use her treadle machine. I think my first attempt was an apron for home economics class. Next, I graduated to my mother’s Singer featherweight that she got before my brother was born in 1935. It was well used and much of the enamel had chipped off so I wore rubber soled shoes to avoid getting shocked when I used the machine. Most of my creations were garments.
The incentive to sew was diminished though, because at that time we were living in Taiwan where if I wanted a dress for a party, I could take a picture from a catalog to a local dress maker who would make one to fit just like the picture for a cost of about $3 US dollars.
I became interested in quilting in the mid 80’s when several of my female colleagues at Oregon State University would gather to make and tie baby quilts for new babies in the department and for the local thrift shop. But job demands did not afford much time for quilting so it was not until I retired in 2003 that the passion for the creative art of quilting was ignited.
Gladys Schoonover invited me to a Guild meeting in the fall of 2004. Her encouragement and sense of humor brought quilting alive for me. Many of my quilts have an Asian theme that stems from the love and respect of the Chinese people engendered when I lived in China and Taiwan, but guild workshops, friendship groups, and many talented mentors have broadened my perspective and challenged me to try new things.
As much as I love quilting, my deepest passion lies in encouraging fellowship, fun, and communication among quilters. Soon after I joined the guild in 2004, I built a web site for the guild and later served as workshop chairman, newsletter editor, president, block of the month coordinator, membership and quilt show chair. To encourage members to get to know each other better, several of us started a retreat first at Menucha on the Columbia Gorge, and then on to the Oregon Garden. It is a joy to see this annual retreat become such a popular event filled to capacity with a waiting list. Quilters are such compassionate, giving people who will be there for you in joyful times and in heartache. For me, that is the true heart of quilting.