Saturday, June 9, 2018

Quilters Through The Generations - Stephanie Collins

Today Stephanie Collins joins us to share her family's quilting story...

Stephanie lives in South Carolina and admits to being a shameless fabric hoarder and vintage sewing machine addict. She started quilting 14 years ago when her husband bought her a sewing machine. In addition to her crafty hobbies, she is an avid runner who enjoys competing in many organized races each year.  She has a blogging home over at Lowcountry Quilts and Embroidery.  Be sure to visit her site after your enjoy her quilting story...

Have YOU ever made a quilt?
Yes.  I learned to sew when I took classes at my local quilt shop. I wanted to learn because my great grandmother had been a quilter.

Tell me a story about your first quilt...

My first quilt was a disaster! My husband bought me a sewing machine, rotary cutter and mat plus all the supplies I would need to make a quilt for my 30th birthday. My late great-grandmother was a quilter and she made it look so easy, unfortunately she passed before I could learn. I bought a beginner’s quilting book and thought I would teach myself (this was before we had all of the wonderful online resources we have today). I had not touched a sewing machine since I was 12 and didn’t even know how to wind a bobbin. My seams were horrible (even with a 1/4” foot) but I finished that little quilt in about a day and a half. I was hooked but knew I needed help!

I gave the quilt to our Yorky puppy and even though it’s been 3 years since he passed away we still call it Teddy’s quilt. I keep it in my sewing room now as a reminder of him.

Does your mother quilt?

My mother, Candy Key, started quilting after I did but never got into it as much as me. I have helped her make many quilts over the years though.

How about a grand-mother?  Great-grandmother?

My great grandmother, Daisy Page, was a terrific quilter! She machine pieced her quilts and hand quilted them.  

I was 12 years old when she passed away, but I still have four quilts that she made displayed in my house.

Have YOU taught someone to quilt? 

I have helped my mom with nearly every quilt she has made. I’m also teaching a friend from church to make a quilt for her son who is away at college. I once taught a 5th grader to quilt so she could enter a quilt into a competition at her school.

How many quilts have you made?

If you count my mini quilts and wall hangings then literally hundreds, I honestly don’t even keep track anymore!  I gift most of the quilts… I’ve only kept a few bed sized quilts and wall hangings for myself.
Do you have a favorite block?

I’ve always been partial to the Dresden plate block.  I have made three of them...

This one was made for our motor home

This green one I made for my Mom for Christmas one years since she loved my red one so much.

And this gold one is my most recent Dresden quilt that was designed by a dear, sweet friend of mine (Melissa Wells at The Happy Cottage).  I haven't had a chance to quilt it yet.

Do you have a favorite quilt?

My favorite quilt would have to be a paper pieced Judy Niemeyer Christmas tree skirt. It took me months to complete and I enjoy it hung on my wall year round.

Do you participate in any quilt groups or entered any competitions?

I am not part of any group but I love taking classes and learning new techniques.  I have not entered any shows but I am planning to enter a king sized bargello quilt this year!

Have you sold any quilts? For how much?

I do a little quilting for profit, usually custom ordered t-shirt or memory quilts. I make an average of $200-$400 per quilt depending on size, detail, etc.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Most definitely my great-grandma! I wish I could have known her as an adult and had the opportunity to quilt with her.

My favorite time spent with my grandmother was while she was sewing. She would always give me scraps of fabric to play with and I remember spending a lot of time cutting it and pinning them together (I don't remember being able to use her machine though, probably because she was always using it). 

She also loved to crochet and taught me how to make a starter chain. I remember having trouble going to the next row so one day while she was sewing, I kept on chaining until I had used up a whole skein of yarn. She though it was funny until she had to take it out and re-roll the yarn. I must have had a chain long enough wrap around our entire house. I guess I was about 8 or 9 at the time... 

My favorite quilt by her is a Sunbonnet Sue quilt. I wanted one very bad so she drew the girls out on newspaper and got busy one summer. It was machine pieced and hand quilted. 

I used to fill the pockets on the overalls with pennies and candy when I was a young girl, and was very proud that none of my friends had a quilt that could hold stuff, lol!

Most of the overalls were made from clothing scraps from her own clothes. The quilt is so old and soft now and everyone in my household fights over it every winter! I need to retire it because it is falling apart but I keep patching it and using it.

What is your favorite part of quilting?

Every part, I love the whole process from choosing the pattern, picking out my fabrics and then piecing and longarm quilting them!  I makes me happy! My best days are days spent being creative and productive!

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a traditional quilt, a king sized log cabin in the barn raising design. Although this isn't my favorite, it is for my husband. I know he's tired of all of the feminine quilts that grace our bed!

Stephanie seems to have a natural talent for quilting and certainly comes by it quite naturally as part of her DNA.  I just love her Bargello quilt! The way that the color placement and size gives it a 3-D look is amazing.  Best of luck in the quilt show Stephanie!

Which one of Stephanie's quilts do you like?

Leave a comment to let her know... and don't forget to go check out her blog!

Is quilting a part of your DNA?  Are you willing to share your family's quilting stories?  I would love to help preserve some of the memories and history by sharing them here in my Quilters Through The Generations series.

Quilt Happy,

Melva Loves Scraps - Home of the Quilters Through The Generations series


  1. Great story! I find it interesting that the love for quilting skipped two generations.
    I loved the gold Dresden quilt but they are all beautiful and intricate.
    Thank you Stephanie for sharing your story, and thank you Melva for pulling it together.

    1. Hi Terry, thanks for taking the time to read a little bit about my grandmother and me, I really appreciate the kind comments!

  2. Lovely interview :-) The bargello quilt jumps out as my favourite.

  3. Thanks Allison, the bargello was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be! I’m really happy with the finished result and look forward to getting it quilted!

  4. Melva, thank you for honoring my family with this tribute to my grandmother! I am so happy that she will be remembered for what she enjoyed doing most in life! I look forward to sharing this with my family and friends!💖