The first quilt I ever knew adorned my bed when I was a little girl. Mrs. Archibald, a farmer's wife in Seaforth Ontario, made it from bleached flour bags and calico. She gave it to my immigrant parents, who had very little of their own when they first came to Canada to work on the Archibald farm. I now know that it was made with a churn dash block and its variations (Sometimes also called 'hole in the barn door'). That quilt saw a lot of use, but eventually wore out and was tossed away.
I learned to sew myself when I was very small. My friend Ingrid and I would make Doll clothes on her mom's sewing machine. I came over so often, her mother told Ingrid that if I was going to come over to sew, I should bring my own thread!
Art was always my favourite and most rewarding subject throughout my school years, but that ended after my first year of college when the graphic arts program I was enrolled in was cancelled. When I applied to other colleges and showed them my portfolio, I was told that I had little talent for three dimensional depiction, and they refused to admit me.
Somehow I myself never made the connection between art and sewing despite my constant artistic pursuits! From Doll Clothes, I had graduated into making my own clothes. Sewing in Home Economics however was exceedingly dull due to the slow pace and lack of instant gratification when projects extended 10 months before seeing results.
When I married, I learned that my husband's family was steeped in quilting tradition. Both of his grandmothers quilted, and even one of his grandfathers would quilt. Wes Miller was a London Ontario tinsmith who would cut block patterns out of tin; his quilting stitch was sure, swift and even. He and his wife Edna Miller would quilt into the long hours of the night together; they would sell their quilts to make a few extra dollars just to get by. My husband's mother's mother, Edna Patterson, had a more rustic quilting touch; but she managed to create quilts for every child's wedding, and every grandchild's birth, up until the year she died.My husband's mother Estella Miller and all of her sisters have carried on the tradition of quilting, and I feel privileged now to count myself among the many in the family who quilt.
Just prior to the birth of my own son (has it really been over twenty years ago now!), I began my first quilt, using the books of Georgia Bonesteel, and the 'Quilt as you go method'. I quickly completed two double-sized quilts. I did not quite catch the quilting bug at that time, however. I now had quilts for all our beds. That was enough of bed covering!
Time passed as I pursued other amateur artistic endeavours: stained glass, pen and ink, painting in watercolours, acrylics, oils, making many household objects, both crocheted and knitted, etc. I became president of the Strathroy Art Group, where I live. Through the Strathroy Art Group I met Tim and Shirley Bobier, the current owners of "The Marsh Store", a quilt store in Coldstream Ontario. Shirley was the quilter extraordinaire of the area who viewed quilting as an art form not just a means of providing warm blankets.
It was through Shirley's profound insight that I was able to finally put my love of art and my love of sewing fabric together, and I rediscovered quilting with renewed passion. This web site chronicles some of that passion: I have an online scrapbook of some of my quilts.
Since that time I have never looked back, and recently I have been churning out quilts like crazy. To help support my habit, I have started teaching quilting to others, giving trunk shows, and even offering the quilting world my unique designs .
I still work out of the dingy basement of our home. Upstairs there are beautiful quilts and quilted wall-hangings in every room -- bedrooms, kitchen, dining room, living room, family room, etc. Sometimes I'll lay out my quilts on the living room floor to bind -- and that can spell trouble with either the dog or the cat!
I always have several projects on the go, some of which I hope to share on this web site.
Quilting for me is more than a hobby. It is a World of Passion, Art and Self-expression.
Sometimes I get the opportunity to go through my quilts, organize them, take them to a guild or group that has asked me to speak, and tell the story of each one of them - all the while, encouraging others to express themselves through quilting. My 'pile' is getting to be quite large now. But there is always a place for you to unleash your own creativity, ~Among Brenda's Quilts~ .
Once in a while I get some publicity. Check out how I'm in the News!