Reader-Friend Juanita Nobles is my guest in Week 10 of the Quilters and Quilts Blog Series celebrating the release of The Quilted Heart Omnibus.
MONA: How long have you been a quilter?
JUANITA: I’ve been quilting for 30 years. I started in 1983. I have done all types—paper piecing, applique, piecework, but I usually stick to pretty simple designs.
MONA: Who influenced you to start quilting?
JUANITA: Both my grandmothers quilted, but in those days they just put fabric together because they needed warm covers for the bed. When I started making quilts, it was to make pretty designs with colorful, coordinating pieces. My children were growing up and I wanted to make quilts for them and for their babies which I knew would be coming in a few years, so I taught myself to quilt. I did attend one simple class, but mostly I bought books and fabric and taught myself.
MONA: Do you have a favorite pattern?
JUANITA: No, but usually when I made a quilt of one design, I made two or three more like it. I worked with several women in a group, making quilts for needy people. I began taking the donated fabric and trying to piece it together in a pretty pattern, which was impossible sometimes. So I bought my own fabric and began piecing quilts at home, in addition to the work with my friends.
MONA: Fun! A quilting circle of sorts, like the one featured in The Quilted Heart novellas. Juanita, what is your favorite part of the quilting process?
JUANITA: I like cutting the fabric, using a ruler and cutting wheel, and putting the pieces together. I love seeing the design come together. I quilted by hand for many years. Now that I’m a great-grandmother, my hands have arthritis and I can’t do that, but I can still cut, piece, and design, which is what I enjoy doing. Last year, during the winter months, I made five quilts.
MONA: I admire your determination to do what you can do. What do you do with most of the quilts you make?
JUANITA: Most of my quilts were given to my children, grandchildren, and other relatives. I have given some to friends. But I love to look at them on my beds and stacked on my shelves. At my children’s homes, I relish seeing my loved quilts on the beds there, too. Many of my pieces are wall hangings. My husband cuts the dowel rods to go in the slip-stitched holder on the back so they can hang easily.
MONA: Juanita, have you learned any life lessons from quilting?
JUANITA: I had a great disappointment just before I started quilting. So my life lesson would be—when life gives you scraps, make a quilt. Another lesson I learned is that you should cherish and care for hand-made quilts. My daughter left one where the dog could get to it, and she chewed it up! My heart hurt when I saw it.
MONA: What bit of advice would you give someone who wants to start quilting?
JUANITA: Quilting is fun and so rewarding. If you enjoy sewing, you will enjoy turning those scraps into beautiful quilts. Many of mine are made with scraps.
MONA: Juanita, thank you for sharing your quilters and quilts story with us!
How about you? Have you been through a disappointment or trial when a quilt or quilting cheered you?