2021 spotlight quilters

September - Alana Tomer

Alana tell us about yourself...
I live in Webster with my husband and youngest son. I have three children, a daughter who lives in Las Vegas, a son who is in college in Massachusetts and a son who goes to Webster Thomas High School. I am a recently retired teacher. I started sewing when I was about 10 years old. I started out making Barbie doll clothes and eventually started making clothes for myself. A kindly neighbor taught me how to sew and my parents gave me a sewing machine for Christmas when I was about 11.

How long have you been quilting?
About 10 years.

Who taught you to quilt?
I saw a beautiful quilt in a local church and decided to track down the lady who made it to ask if she would make one for me. It was an appliqued picture of children of the world pictured around an earth. My mother-in-law collects dolls from all over the world, and I thought this would be a nice gift for her. The creator (Dorothy Humphrey) was 86 at the time and didn’t want to make this quilt again. She offered to teach me how to do it. So, my first quilt was a hand appliqued quilt. She taught me how to applique using freezer paper (a method I still use!) That quilt now hangs in my mother-in-law’s living room. I fell in love with quilting immediately and have been doing it ever since.

What do you like best about quilting?
I love the whole process of quilting. I think my favorite part is seeing how it looks when it all comes together.

What's your quilting advice /mantra?
Read directions carefully, measure, repeat, and then cut!

Here are some pictures of some of her beautiful work.

Em grad quilt
David bed quilt
court house steps
Civil war
Children of the world
garden quilt
Row by row
wool quilt

August - Jeanne Muhl

A Little Bit about myself...

I grew up in Syracuse, moving to Rochester as a new bride in 1968 when my husband took a job working at the Strasenburgh Planetarium. I started sewing at the age of 12. I took a summer class at the local Singer Sewing Store learning all of the sewing basics. My grandmother, a tailor by trade, continued sewing lessons teaching my sister and me all the tricks we needed to know in order to make all of our own clothes and even our own prom and wedding dresses. I continued that tradition by making wedding dresses for my two daughters.

How long have you been quilting? / Who taught you to quilt? .....

I didn’t learn about quilting until the late 70’s when the Bicentennial brought back an interest in “early American crafts”. My friend had just completed a Susie Payne sampler class at Patricia’s House of Fabrics.  She asked me to help her baste her quilt.  We worked forever pin basting her huge quilt on the floor of her family room only to find out we had pinned most of it to the rug! My only comment after that was “quilting is way too much work, I can’t imagine spending that kind of time and energy on one project”!!!! I had no clue. Now after 40+ years of quilting I have grasped the concept of why we quilters do spend enormous amounts of time and energy on quilt projects……it’s therapy, it keeps me sane!

What do you like best about quilting? ....

I started quilting in the dark ages, no rotary cutters, no fancy rulers, pattern books dating back to the 20’s and 30’s, no 100% cotton quilting fabric. Polyester blend fabrics, scissors, tracing and cutting individual pieces using templates I most often made myself…..I am a traditional quilter. I enjoy needle-turn appliqué, hand piecing the complicated quilt blocks, and hand quilting. I especially enjoy creating pictorial quilts and participating in round robins, both really force you to work outside of your comfort zone…. They are real challenges. I have had to force myself to learn how to long arm quilt to speed up the process of quilting baby/charity quilts. I’m still a work in progress on that score! Over the years I have learned that to enjoy quilting you have to learn to relax and enjoy the process, I don’t fight it, the quilt will tell you what it wants when its ready.

Because I come from a traditional quilting background I love finding UFO’s at the antique store and finishing them. I feel a real connection to the ladies that left unfinished blocks and tops. I enjoy reading through my library of quilt books (300 and counting) and I can’t resist buying the end of the bolt. I try not to have too many UFO’s, but there are just too many quilts to make and not enough time to complete them all. I hope someday someone will find a pile of my unfinished blocks in an antique store and love the process of completing a new quilt.

Here are some pictures of some of her beautiful work.

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July - Sue Jay

A Little Bit about myself...

I am a Webster girl, born and raised.   My sister still lives in the house we grew up in.  I have had many hobbies over the years including knitting, crochet and cross-stitching and now quilting.  Mom taught me to make my own clothes from a very young age.  My favorite hobby though is singing!  I have been a singer my entire life and was involved in many theaters and singing groups over the years.  I have even sung with big bands and for the Pope in Italy at St. Peter’s Basilica.  I also Directed and Produced many musicals and plays for area schools before retirement and volunteered in Tennessee in the high school for the Drama Department!  In 2008 when my husband John and I retired.  We moved to Tennessee to get away from the cold winters!  We moved back in 2018 to be closer to our grandchildren!

How long have you been quilting? / Who taught you to quilt? .....

It is when we lived in Tennessee that I learned to quilt from my good friend and neighbor.   Boy did I catch the quilting “bug”!   I have to say that I did not think I would like quilting at first because when I was pregnant with my first child – I took a quilting class here in Webster and the baby quilt I made was entirely done by hand – piecing and all!  I swore I would NEVER quilt again!   BUT – my friend Kathi assured me that I could use my sewing machine to do the piecing AND quilting!   I took many classes in Tennessee at quilt shops and in our quilt guild.  I was even fortunate enough to take a class from Kaffe Fassett who came to Knoxville!

What do you like best about quilting? ....

Quilting is all about creativity and relaxing for me!  I sew almost every day.   I like to go into my quilt room – which is downstairs in our town home and just sew on projects or organize projects.    I really got into Quilts of Valor in Tennessee due to the large number of veterans in our community and our Quilt Guild was quite active in giving!  Since being back here in Webster, I have been involved in charity work for a group called “Keeping Our Promise.”  I make quilts for families coming from other countries that come with nothing but the clothes on their backs to have something to keep them warm and welcome them to our country!

What’s your quilting advice/mantra?

I enjoy quilting for other people and love choosing a project that will make those that I am quilting for feel special.  I also have a large family and send quilted gifts to everyone at Christmas time – even to Switzerland.  So – I plan ahead and start in the summer!  I make the same project for each person – so I usually set up an assembly line to make the project go faster!  It works for me!

Here are some pictures of some of her beautiful work.

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June - Sue Floyd

Sue is newly "retired" from almost 30 years at Xerox and is really looking forward to spending more time exploring quilting.  She has adapted her life to allow her to quilt more:

  • She now listens to audio books and quilts at the same time!
  • She travels around the US and the world and includes stops at quilt stores; she also takes photos of designs that can be incorporated into a quilt.
  • She tries to dedicate at least an hour each day to her current quilting project, and
  • her friendships with fellow quilters has strengthened.

Sue is a self-taught quilter, in 1976 she saw a photo of an Amish Log Cabin Quilt and decided she was going to make it herself.  She borrowed her Mom’s featherweight sewing machine, some scissors, a ruler and tailor’s chalk and went to it!  Then she hand quilted it.  She submitted it as a homework assignment for a Color Theory class in school.  Looking back, she feels she went about it the hard way!  Her favorite reference for making future quilts was The Collector’s Dictionary of Quilt Names and Patterns, that had drawings of over 2400 quilt blocks.

Sue didn’t try again for a while then made a couple of quilts for family member’s beds using the same method of figuring out how to piece it together from seeing a photo of a quilt she liked. When the 1st five (of 7) nieces and nephews were born, she made each a wall hanging either piecing or applique.  Sue still had never used a pattern or taken a class.  Then making a living got in the way for 25 years until she took a class at Café Sewciety Quilts.  Sue feels quilting is great therapy and an outlet for creativity.  She still likes the process of designing a quilt the best and is always looking for classes that will teach her new techniques in quilting (piecing, applique, paper piecing and machine quilting).  She feels like she still has a lot to learn.

Sue always has more ideas than time, which can leave one overwhelmed and with many unfinished quilting projects.  She thinks the happiest quilters she has met, limit the number of quilting projects they are working on to one or 2 at a time, work on projects they really love, and are willing to recognize when it’s time to give a project a new home (when it no longer gives you a sense of pleasure or accomplishment).  She needs to follow their example.  Sue has taught a few of her own designs at the shop and is teaching the Project Bag next month.

Here are some pictures of some of her beautiful work.

Dakota's Baby Quilt
My Small Quilt Corner
Storm at Sea Wall Hanging 2020
Fall Wall Hanging
Storm at Sea Wall Hanging 2020

May - Kelly Goodman

Kelly’s love of sewing began when she got tired of waiting for her mother of 4 girls to get around to sewing for her!  In high school, back in the 70’s, she was fortunate to be able to take all the Fashion and Apparel classes that were offered at Greece Arcadia High School.   Her college years were spent at SUNY Oneonta where she majored in Home Economics Education with a minor in Clothing and Textiles.   Garment sewing has always been her first love, but around the mid 1990’s she took Suzzy Payne’s Basic Quilting class at Patricia’s Fabric store.  There, she completed her first quilt.  It was a traditionally pieced sampler and she learned so much about quilting through that class.  At some point, Kelly had also taken a class from Betty Mean… She learned from the best!  Recently, Kelly retired from the Fairport School District where she was a Family and Consumer Science Teacher for 20 years. She taught mostly high school culinary and child development classes, but 5 of those 20 years she was in the middle school teaching Home and Careers where there, happily, was a sewing unit.  Over the years Kelly worked in several fabric stores and has taught many classes in the stores and in her home.  Her favorite age to teach is children. Kelly’s hope is that each of them will develop their gifts of creativity, gain some practical skills and establish an inspiring, lifelong hobby. (Kelly will be teaching at our summer kids camp in July) Kelly loves quilting because of all the colors one gets to work with.  It makes her so happy to play with and combine colors!  Kelly’s quilting mantra is “I will not buy any more fabric until I use up the stash I have at home, I said. And then I laughed and laughed.”   As anyone who knows Kelly knows that this is so true!  Sew on and sew forth!  Her advice to others:  Done is better than perfect, enjoy the process.  Challenge yourself by trying new techniques and projects so that you will be happy as a quilter in a fabric store.

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April - Nancy Lewis

Nancy grew up on a farm in Lyons, NY and started out in 4H learning how to sew at age 8 or 9 and has sewed ever since.  She made most of her clothes as a child and young adult as she was very petite, and stores did not sell clothes to fit her.  She was excited when petite clothes showed up and quickly turned to quilting.  Nancy has not looked back except for the occasional Halloween costume for the grandkids.  The first quilting class she took was at Betty Means shop in Webster in 1970.  For her second project she made a queen size quilt!  She has taken many classes over the years and her favorite style is appliqué.  It is slow, peaceful, and relaxing.  She also loves to hand quilt.  Nancy’s favorite thing about quilting is finishing a quilt/project.  In fact, she spent the pandemic finishing 15 unfinished projects.  Her next goal is to take scraps of fabric from all her past projects and make a baby block pattern quilt for each of her four children.   Nancy’s advice for new quilters is to try classes for all different types of quilting and she emphasize practicing how to use color to your advantage in projects.  Here are some pictures of some of her beautiful work

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March - Audrey Pantas.

Audrey is a Rochester area native and married with two grown sons.   She is retired from a long career at Xerox in information technology and technical service.  Audrey has been sewing all her life and learned to hand sew quilts in 1980.  It was all hand stitching, templates, and scissors!  She still has the sampler made in her first class - though very worn and faded.  Her sewing was put on hiatus while she worked, and her boys were growing up.  Her first purchase after retiring was a quilting sewing machine.  She took many local classes to learn and improve her quilting skills.  Audrey’s goal in 2020 was to become more creative, design modern quilts, work "off pattern" and continue to learn new skills.  When I asked Audrey what she loves most about quilting she stated “ I love most aspects of quilting but especially love seeing the quilt come together.  I find it calming to sew all those little pieces into a finished project!  The most rewarding part of quilting is giving the gift of a quilt to someone that truly loves it!  The quilting community is wonderful.  I have made many new friends and learned from so many through quilting.  ”  Audrey’s advice to others:

(1) learn the basics - cut accurately, master the 1/4" seam

(2)  Challenge yourself - take classes and learn from others

(3)  Join a guild to be part of the community

(4)  Enjoy!

Here are some pictures of some of her beautiful work.

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February - Mary Merritt.

Mary is a retired real estate agent and has been quilting for 12 years.  She has been sewing since she was a child and had been interested in quilting for quite a while. Mary started taking classes at Scarlet Thread in Webster and The Quilting Bee in Sodus and quickly had the quilting bug.  She loves learning new techniques and trying new tools.  Mary finds quilting relaxing and she loves to see how the different colors and shapes go together to form the completed project.   She loves the camaraderie of sewing with friends. They are a big help when something is not going right and also share lots of creativity and ideas. Mary’s advice to quilters is to make sure you read all the instructions carefully, label your cuts and have fun!  Here are some of Mary’s lovely creations:

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January - Sam Brzoza.

Sam and her husband live in Webster and she is a professor of nursing at Roberts Wesleyan College.  She has been quilting for thirteen years.  Sam’s introduction to quilting was from a class at Scarlet Thread (which was also located in the village of Webster) called Quilting for Dummies taught by Monique Barnes.  She loves the creativity of quilting; the cutting of the fabric and working with the patterns to create the quilt.  For Sam quilting is a great outlet!  Sam’s advice is to make sure you have the right equipment before you start a project.  Here are some of her beautiful projects:

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