In 1974, my husband and I bought an old farm
in Missouri from Ida Vohs, a 79 year old woman who made quilts.
She had closets full of quilts, and I was entranced when she
got them out and showed them to us. At that time I was a painter,
and also dabbled in a number of other media. I had been sewing
since I was ten years old and quilting seemed like one more
fun thing to try, so I bought a book on quilts from the literary
guild. In that first book was a picture of a quilt called
"Rail Fence". It seemed pretty simple, and I figured
I could make it without a pattern. So I gave it a try.
This is my very first quilt, made in 1976. I didn't know
very much about quilts or how to make them, so I made a single
template out of cardboard and cut out each piece with scissors.
The print fabrics are drapery samples from a book of disconued
walpaper samples. The solid fabrics are heavy "triger"
cotton/poly blends. I laid out the pieces like a knitting
pattern and began to sew. The whole quilt was made with 5/8"
seam allowances, and when I started to sew the rows together
I discovered that accurate cutting and seaming might have
made the task easier. I didn't know how to quilt, so I tied
it with knitting yarn, using a sheet as a backing. Instead
of batting I used an old, very used up quilt that had been
made my my husband's grandmother. It was filled with layers
of thin, white, wool, knitted fabric, which I can only conclude
was worn out long underwear. The finished patchwork conforter
weighs about fifteen pounds, and keeps us very warm even on
the coldest night.