Michigan Guest Bloggers: Janice Duerr

What is your quilting history?  Did anyone in your family quilt when you were growing up, or are you beginning that tradition in your family?  Janice shares hers in this latest guest blogger post.  Why don’t you share yours in the comment section?

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My grandmother was a quilter. I loved watching her sit at her frame as she quilted pretty designs into her quilt tops. She gave me scraps of her fabrics and I started my lifelong love of fabric and sewing rather ugly doll clothes. It wasn’t until many, many years later that I learned about the feedsack fabric scraps that I first used to make doll clothes. I still have doll clothes made from feedsack material made by my mother, grandmother and then me.

Today I have a great passion for finding vintage fabrics and love to fondle my fabric collection which includes a few hundred feedsacks, whole and pieces, wonderful barkcloth pieces and beautiful cotton prints from decade gone by. I love to make vintage looking quilts from feedsack fabrics, and even though I have a drawer full of 30’s reproduction fabrics, they just aren’t the same as the real feedsack prints with so much history packed into them. We are so lucky to be able to explore the world via the internet as well as local antique shops for vintage textile treasures.

I began making my own quilts many years after my grandmother passed away, but I hope that somehow she knows I have carried on this wonderful art form because of her influence. I have also been lucky to inherit some of my grandmother’s quilts as well as a top or two that have now been completed and lovingly warm my guest room bed.

Now I have followed my quilting hobby down another path where I am fortunate to be able to help other quilters turn their quilt tops into treasured family heirlooms. I loved machine quilting my quilts, but when the quilts got bigger and bigger, it became stressful on the body to finish them on a domestic machine. That’s when I decided to look into the world of long arm quilting. I purchased a mid arm machine and after a year of quilting my own tops, I began to quilt for others. Late in 2009, I upgraded my equipment to a Nolting Pro Series 24 on a 14 foot frame, so now there isn’t a quilt too big for my frame to easily handle.

clip_image002 This quilt was for my daughter’s wedding 5 years ago
This was a fun quilt that I filled with feathers clip_image004
clip_image006 I enjoyed hand appliquéing this quilt.

I still love to work on my own quilts, and I try to make each new project about a different technique, such as chenille landscapes, hand appliqué or creating my own patterns with EQ. I find there isn’t quite as much time for my quilts now that I have developed a new passion for long arm quilting for others as well as for me. I hope you will visit my website!

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