National Quilting Week Questions
National Quilting Week has inspired us to explore our co-worker’s quilting journeys. 

Darlene is our Fabric Assistant and overall maven in the sewing room, and everywhere else for that matter. We asked her some questions about her quilting journey and here are her answers: 


How did you start quilting?

I have been sewing clothes and purses since I was in high school in the mid-’70s.  Quilting seemed so laborious at the time since all the instructions were to cut your templates from cereal boxes, trace onto your fabric and cut with scissors. I attempted it but soon lost interest.  Speed forward to the ’80s, I started working at Patagonia in Ventura Ca, and happened on a large quilt show.  I was amazed at the vendors selling rotary cutters and rulers with mats.  I just had to have a set! Although my first patchwork quilt with these new tools was a cover for my down comforter (which I made from a Frostline kit) it was made from 6” squares from fabric I had leftover from my garment making, fabrics from a sportswear company I worked for in Seattle and new fabrics from the quilt show.  I spent time arranging the scraps in a gradation from light to dark, much like the “watercolor” quilts designed years later.  After that, I started challenging myself with snails trails and log cabins blocks.  Then I discovered foundation miniature quilts… which was my next adventure in quilt making.

What is your favorite quilt-related project to date?

My favorite quilt would have to be the Wyoming Whirligig quilt I made in the early 2000s.  I made it as a replica of one we had when I was a kid.  Apparently, it got destroyed so I made another one.  It still needs to be quilted but I love the way it looks.

What does quilting mean to you?

Quilting is a colorful creative outlet for me besides the clothing I make.  Sewing and quilting construction comes very naturally to me, and I like to challenge myself to new patterns or blocks.  I love to put on my favorite music or podcast and sew for as long as I can. Watching all the fabric I cut into small pieces, come back to life in a new big, or small, quilt top.  The feel of the fabrics, the colors, the seams.  Hand stitching around the binding knowing that is the last step and when I make that last knot and bury the thread….I can crawl under it and take a nap.

What do you wish you knew when you started quilting?

I wish I had not bought so much fabric and learned to be more selective…once I buy fabric, it is hard for me to get rid of it thinking I might need it, just that perfect piece or color for a future quilt. 

What is your next project?

I have so many next projects…..I love traditional piecing, modern piecing, and fabric collage quilts.  I have a couple of each already started…so I have to finish one of those before I can start a brand new quilt.

What is your dream project?

The project I dream most about is one that has piecing, and applique, and might tell a story. I want it to be a medallion quilt with a center vocal point, then blocks and applique around it in borders.

1 comment

  1. Lisa Pfeiffer - June 10, 2022

    I made a medallion quilt which used 144 four inch squares. Each square depicted something about myself, my family and my husband and his family. It took me 2 years to complete the squares. They were either paper pieced or appliqued. Then it took me a year to sew it together. Then I had to rip out 2/3 of it because I didn’t realize how important it was to measure, measure, measure! I then had it quilted. The ‘piece de resistance’ is the scrapbook that goes with it, explaining the meaning of each square. Whew!