Quilters Graphic Crop

Quilters and Quilts #1 – Linda Finn

Several members of my family have quilted or do quilt. My Grandma Irene Shindlebower and Grandma Mabel Gansberg, my Sis Linda, and others. Quilting is one of those historical, generational skills and art forms that delight and fascinate me.

In anticipation of the January 21st release of The Quilted Heart, three novellas in one book, I’m starting a Quilters and Quilts Series, which will feature a guest quilter and quilts every Monday through the months of December and January.

I’ve invited quilter and reader-friend, Linda Finn, to kick off the series. Please share this post with friends and family who enjoy anything to do with quilts and quilting and quilters.

MONA:  How old were you when you started quilting?

LINDA: I was 29 years old.

MONA: Who influenced you to become a quilter?

LINDA: I would have to say it was my grandmother Ruth Fisher’s love of quilting. Although she didn’t’ start till she was older, she learned fast and was very good at quilting. I have the very first sampler quilt Grandma Fisher made.

Ruth Fisher's first Sampler Quilt

Ruth Fisher’s first Sampler Quilt

My grandmother Ruth Mae Fisher (Kells) also made Grandpa’s Farm Quilt for my grandfather Henry Raymond “Ray” Fisher.

Grandpa's Farm Quilt, made by Ruth Fisher (Kell)

Grandpa’s Farm Quilt, made by Ruth Fisher (Kell)

My great-grandmother Bertha Louise Kells made my Aunt Nancy Davenport’s baby quilt.

Baby Quilt Great Grandmother Bertha Kells made for Aunt. Nancy (Davenport)

Baby Quilt Great Grandmother Bertha Kells made for Aunt Nancy (Davenport)

My mother quilts when she has the time, but I don’t have any quilts she’s made as they were made for others. Quilting was passed from Great-Grandmother to Grandmother to Mom and then to me. I think it was caught more then taught.

MONA: I love that last line, Linda–caught more than taught. It delights the historical researcher and writer in me. Girls would sit at their grandmothers and mothers knees and “catch” the art of quilting. What was your first quilting project?

LINDA: My first project was actually a wall quilt for Margo, a neighbor in New Hampshire. She had gone to Lancaster on a Bus Tour and picked up some fat quarters while there and wanted something to remember her trip by.  So I made her a flying geese patterned quilt.

MONA: How many quilts have you made?

LINDA: Two. One for Margo and one baby doll quilt. But I have a desire to quilt more. Quilts and other quilted projects.

MONA: Do you have a favorite pattern ?

LINDA: I have always loved Amish quilts, Broken dishes is one of my favorites.

MONA: What is your favorite part of the quilting process? (planning, working on patterns, cutting, piecing, stitching….?)

LINDA:  I enjoy the planning, cutting, stitching of them, I guess it’s the artist  in me.

MONA: Sounds like you enjoy most every phase of the quilting process.  Have you learned any life lessons from quilting?

LINDA: I think the biggest thing is feeling like Grandma Ruth and I are somehow connected by more then blood. She loved Amish things and she loved country living. I believe quilting is one of the lost arts ! Like baking, cooking, canning, soap and candle making.

MONA: What bit of advice would you give someone who wants to start quilting?

LINDA: Look at books or online to see the patterns. You can get free lessons online as well and there are many sites that offer free patterns.  Also, see if you have a Mennonite, Amish neighbor, someone who quilts near you, or a guild.

MONA: Are there websites, Facebook groups, or magazines that you’d recommend for quilt enthusiasts?

LINDA: My favorite pattern site: Quilters Cache. Quilting at about.com  has excellent learning ideas and patterns:  http://quilting.about.com/od/quiltpatternsprojects/u/quilt_patterns.htmFons and Porter is an excellent magazine and has free patterns:

Thanks so much for sharing your quilting history with us, Linda!

We’d love to hear from you! Is there someone special in your family who quilted?

Comments 32

  1. The most special quilt I have is a quilt that was made by a quilting circle in Sedalia, MO when our infant son was diagnosed with cancer. These ladies, who I didn’tknow each prayed over this quilt……then gave it to us. Our pastor’s wife is gifted when it comes to quilts. Each speaker at our ladies retreats receives a quilt. One speaker was the mother of one of our church members. The next year, she borrowed the quilt and entered it into the MO State Fair. The quilt won first place. All the ladies who could make it showed up to the fair to special her when our pastor came with his wife who had no clue what was going on. Talk about a special moment……it was awesome. My sister just gave me a lap quilt that she purchased for me. I do love quilts that come from the heart.,

    1. Susan, Thank you for sharing your story. A dear friend of mine came later on a day the ribbons were attached at our quilting group’s one and only quilt show. She had won first place in the new quilter’s category. I was so excited to see the expression on her face when she saw her quilt! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

      1. Thanks Mona…I have started working full time…so I am usually only on in the very early morning or else in the evenings! Can’t wait to see your blog next week!

  2. Thank you Mona , I am so glad that being caught more then taught , was a part of my life. I learned so many things from my Mom that she learned ! My mom is very creative and my parents both draw well and it has passed down as well. Mom and I have talked about many projects we would like to do, together and separately. I can tell you that any larger quilts will be a together project. Sometime soon, Mom , her sisters and I will work on Grandpa’s Farm Quilt that Grandma Fisher Made and get it done. It will be a shared effort between us. Mom, Aunt Sue, Aunt Pat and Aunt Nancy and I will get her done ! I am looking for a frame to set it up on so that we can work on it.
    I love learning the Lost or Historical Arts and wish to pass them along to my own daughters and my sons ! Yes, I have sons who sew and crochet and they are good at it. So Wesley James Officer, Michael Officer if you read this , Mom is waving to you….Can’t wait to the baby comes ! Wesley and Cora are expecting their first baby around Christmas ! I am so excited for him, he so wanted children ! Another little one to quilt for, I so love my grandbabies ! Thank you Mona for a chance to share a bit of my own history and the arts !
    Linda Finn
    Faithful Acres Books
    [email protected]

  3. What a fun post. So great to hear about Linda’s love for quilting. My mother was a quilter. She created several beautiful designs and even had one featured in a quilting magazine. It was a lovely peacock design with blue, purple, olive green and gold. That was many years ago, but I still remember how pretty it was. Thanks very much!

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  4. I love this post. It’s fun to see a fellow reader’s name and learn more about them. I love quilts. I try to do it, but I’m not that good. My grandmother was the quilter. When she passed (at almost 100 years old), I inherited her old quilts, fabrics, and such. I came across 16 dresden plate squares that she made out of old feed sacks. I made a quilt out those squares and hand quilted it. With two little ones, it only took me a year to do. But it was worth it and something to pass on to my children one day.

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  5. My 4 year old has a quilt her great-grandmother made on her bed right at this very moment. I delight in the chance to use it and appreciate it daily. We have a few other quilts that have been passed down through the family. Each one is a treasure! It was fun to learn about your family and your family’s quilting, Linda! It’s lovely that you’re keeping up the tradition.

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  6. What a lovely cover on Mona’s book-wow! Linda, you are certainly one talented lady! I know absolutely nothing about quilting. Zero, nada. Only that they are beautiful! With all of those tiny little stitches it would take me years!

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      Hi, Diana! Good to see you here. I agree with you on the cover of The Quilted Heart. WaterBrook did another great job. Glad you enjoyed the post. I don’t quilt either, but I love writing about it. 🙂 Blessings!

  7. Both my Grandma and Great Grandma on my mother’s side have been quilters. Grandma still does but the world lost the best quilter ever last year when Great Grandma died.
    Three of my most cherished possessions are the quilts they made me, when we had a chimney fire they were the first objects I ran to save.
    None of my aunts nor my mother took up quilting and my cousins couldn’t be bothered to so to save the family art I took up quilting. I have made 3 quilts for my family and am slowly gathering the fabric needed for a Riverdance themed quilt for myself. I consider myself a beginner since I haven’t done very detailed work yet but I am learning and loving it. I have enough quilt books to run a bookstore and I love poring through them and learning about the patterns.

    Thank you for sharing that lovely family story and the photos, Linda. Wonderful interview! I am looking forward to reading more of these interviews.


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  8. I love the quilts and their stories. My grandmother on my father’s side was always sewing and she made many crazy quilts, using flour sack material. I have several of them and the one really needs some help, it is starting to fall apart in a few places and I am wondering what to do with it. The edges are also very frayed, how do I repair it? I love to sew also and have made small quilts for my granddaughter’s dolls. I don’t have a quilting frame and would not know where to put one in my home so that is not an option. I am enjoying your blog, keep up the great work and I will be reading more.

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      Hi, Donna! Good to see you here. Thanks for sharing about your grandmother’s quilts. A rich history. Which I could help with the repair advice, but I’m not a quilter. I’d have to “Google” it. Blessings!

  9. I love this feature! I’m a quilter myself. After my mother discovered she had cancer and retired, she asked me to take a quilting class with her. There was some very special bonding time throughout that time. Unfortunately my mother was unable to finish her own quilt, but as I sat here with her during the afternoons and evenings I spent numerous hours quilting. I’ve been quilting since the mid-1980s. I have many unquilted tops that need to be finished, but at this time in my life quilting has been put on the back burner. I babysit my little granddaughter full time and read and review books close to full time hours.

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  10. Linda I enjoyed your quilts. The history behind them. was very interesting. It is a art to teach your daughters. I am teaching mine. Right now she has learned to cut. Hope you can do another quilt soon.

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