Her love for quilting is rooted deep in her DNA as she grew up with quilters all around her, playing under a quilt frame as a young child, and learning embroidery as a preschooler from her grandmothers.
Many of her quilts are given as gifts as she enjoys sharing something she made that will not only keep them warm but also remind them of how much they are treasured.
Thank you Deborah for sharing! I enjoyed learning of your family... I am certain that others will as well.
Have YOU ever made a quilt or helped make a quilt?
I have both made and helped make quilts.
Who helped you get started quilting?
My mom, Shirley Flinn, and my grandmothers, Rose Flinn and Betty Zinn, got me started on handwork when I was very young (preschool age) by doing embroidery and also getting me to help hand quilt whatever quilt happened to be in the frame. I was always encouraged to help even if my stitches were those of a beginner.
I remember when I was too young to quilt, we would play under the frame as my mom, grandmothers or the ladies of our church women’s group quilted above us. It is one of my earliest memories. I loved sitting around a quilt frame hand stitching with my mom and my grandmothers. On my 50th birthday my Mom and my sisters helped me hand stitch a quilt I was making. My mom has also helped me on another quilt I made. She is a very accomplished hand-quilter. She checked out my hand quilting and matched her stitches to mine so the quilt looks like it was quilted by one person (although her stitches were consistent and mine were not!)
Tell me about your first quilt...
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t surrounded by quilts as my grandmothers and my mother quilted, as well as some of my aunts, great grandmothers and great aunts.
I also made a baby quilt for my husband’s niece when she was born and a couple of quilts when our oldest daughter needed a bed quilt as well as one for our bed (both from fortrel).
I had to look up what fortrel was... turns out it is a polyester fabric developed by Fred Fortress - here is what I found.
Fred Fortess, a developer of Fortrel polyester and holder of 40 patents, died Saturday in Philadelphia. Mr. Fortess, who was 77, worked on development of man-made rubber and easy-care and flame-retardant fabrics. He worked for 31 years for Celanese Corp., where he received patents for new fibers and dyeing and finishing processes.
The first quilt I made on my own was the fortrel quilt I made for our daughter.
These quilts were made before I knew anything about quilting such as a quarter inch seam or how to match up seams. I used a template cut from a cereal box and scissors to make the blocks. In spite of that, both of these quilts were well loved and are worn out.
My other “first” quilt was made in the beginner class I took with my sister, at a local quilt store - The Quilting Bee - in 2005. By this time my children were all teenagers or done with high school and I had time to pursue quilting, something I had always wanted to do.
I remember being so nervous with all the new tools that were available. They sure made quilting a whole lot easier than cardboard templates.
Below is the quilt I made in that class.
It was a simple row quilt. We had a wonderful instructor who taught us all the basics of quilting. And I haven’t looked back. It is something I love to do.
I still have the quilt I made in that class. I use it on the coldest of winter nights. I also have the fortrel quilt I made for our daughter and hope to take it apart, repair the top and put new batting and backing on it.
My maternal grandmother, Betty Zinn, and my paternal grandmother, Rose Flinn, both were expert quilters.
My Grandma Zinn (pictured on the left) always had a quilt on the go.
Grandma Flinn (pictured on the right), who lived in the same farmyard as we did, would stop in to hand quilt whenever my mom had a quilt in the frame.
These are very special memories for me. My Great- Grandma Conway and Great-Grandma Boettger (my grandmother's mothers) were also quilters.
Here is a four generation picture from 1959 of my Great Grandma Conway, my Grandma Zinn, my Mom Shirley and me (a baby). Turns out we are all quilters.
My sister is the caretaker of a family heirloom crazy quilt (pictured below) made by my Grandma Flinn’s sisters in 1900 - this was the year my grandmother was born - prior to their move west from Ontario, Canada.
When her sisters made this quilt they were ages 14, 12, and 6. I also have aunts and great-aunts who are/were quilters. These are the ones I know of and I am sure there are others both present and in the past who passed on this love of quilting through the generations.
Have YOU taught someone to quilt?
My daughter Cherilyn and I did the Oregon Shop Hop in 2007 and we made a quilt together using the blocks we collected. My daughter still has it. I didn’t win her over to quilting. She said she will stick with stained glass.
How many quilts have you made?