Sunday, April 16, 2017


Our Featured Quilter for 2017 is Denise Crawford, who has been a Pioneer Quilter for 25 years.   

Denise has completed about fifty quilts in her quilting years, mostly bed size.  Fifteen of those are in her home, and the rest were given to family and special friends.  

Denise spends about 7 hours a week on quilting.  It's especially pleasant with her heated laptop quilting table.

Here's Denise's story:

I began quilting on a whim.  I had just started a new job and didn't know what to do for a whole hour lunch break, so I took a walk.  The next thing I knew, I was in front of a quilt store (The Quilt Patch), and went inside to pass the time.  Belva Greenleaf welcomed me in and the next thing I knew, I was signed up for a beginning sampler quilt class.

That fateful day changed by whole life.  I put away my knitting needles and never turned back.  The class was all done by hand, and rotary cutters hadn't been invented yet.  "Sewing machines" were bad words in those days--the 1980s.  I learned piecing, appliqué, binding and quilting.  I thought I knew how to do everything about quilting (was I ever wrong!), so I wasn't scared to try anything.

I told my mom I was taking a quilting class, and all she said was, "Why are you doing that?  Quilting is for old ladies."  LOL, she was wrong too.  When I visited my Aunt Esther in Astoria, she took me to visit her quilting club.  It was so much fun that when I got back to Eugene I called The Quilt Patch asking if there were any quilt clubs in Eugene.  I was told to call Dorothy Bettis, a founding member of Pioneer Quilters.  Dorothy invited me to the next meeting at her house.  That was 25 years ago--before there was a waiting list.

When I interviewed for my next job, I said I would accept the job only if I could have at least a 2-hour lunch to go to the Pioneer Quilters meeting.  I was young and thought no one would think of telling me no.  And they didn't.  It's nice to be able to keep priorities in your life.  Quilting and my quilting friends are a very important part of my life.

When I started quilting, I would go to the store and only buy enough fabric to make a quilt and have maybe 1/4 yard left over.  I would only make one quilt at a time.  That changed over the years when I wanted to try my hand at art quilts.  Art quilts take a color palette of fabric, so I started to collect many colors for my palette and before I knew it, I had a fabric stash.

I've had three quilts accepted into the Paducah quilt show.  The first one was Friendship Cabins, made in 1996 for my friend Janet Stubblefield; the second was a Storm at Sea quilt made in 2000 for my nephew Brad Jarvinen's wedding gift; and the third was My Blue Flowerbed quilt made in 2003 just for me.  The first and third will be displayed at our show.  All of the quilts that went to Paducah were hand pieced or hand appliquéd, and hand quilted.  Each one took me about three years to complete.

I have been in three rounds of friendship block exchanges.  That is where I have learned the most about quilting and designing quilts.  With each quilt that I make, I learn a new trick or make a mistake that I will never do again.  Quilting is a learning process.

2017 Featured Quilter Corner

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