“My mom bought me a child’s sewing machine when I was eight and taught me to sew,” she recalls. “My first projects were clothes for my sister’s Barbie doll.”
Her mom’s mom lived just down the street in her Portage, PA hometown, and it was at Grandma’s that she learned how to quilt. “
Both my mom and grandma had a lot of patience teaching me the right way to do things,” she explains, “but my grandpa was not so diplomatic. He once looked at my work and said he could put his big toe through one of my stitches.”
Because her grandparents ran a grocery store, the quilting was done at odd hours. Grandma made her templates from empty cardboard candy boxes” she recalls. “I still have them.”
The Baby Quilt Lady also got quite adept at threading quilting needles, since her grandmother hand quilted all her quilts, using a stretcher that survives to this day.
Sewing Saved Her Money and Earned Some
“Grandma used our old clothes for her quilts and made them for members of our family,” The Baby Quilt Lady says, “but by the time I got to high school, I was good enough to sew my own clothes. That allowed me to have original outfits and more clothes than we could have afforded for store-bought clothes.”
And when she attended Clarion State College, she was good enough to sew three-piece outfits for her sorority sisters at Alpha Sigma Tau.
Motherhood Kept Her Busy with Her Needle
As a busy elementary school teacher with four children, The Baby Quilt Lady used what spare time she had to sew clothes for her children and quilts for their beds.” It was then I realized how important a baby quilt can be in the life of a child,” she states. “It’s not just material, but something that provides security and a sense of identity.
When the quilt design is tailored to the family’s interests, it’s the springboard to early education and a spark to the child’s imagination.”
Business Launched to Share Her Art
“In 1990, I decided to take the teaching that had been so lovingly shared with me by my mom and grandma and create a business that would allow others to enjoy the delights of a handmade baby quilt,” she says. “I decided that no two quilts would ever be made exactly the same, so I named my venture Unique Baby Quilt Boutique.”
The Baby Quilt Lady uses the same meticulous techniques she learned at home, but she has added some new features. “There are so many adorable prints available today in soft baby flannel that I can create a quilt design in dozens of themes – flowers, animals, insects, sailboats, dancing shoes and rocket ships, for example.