Today’s Q.S.O.S. Spotlight is shining on a 2002 interview with Rosemary Zaugg, in Fort Worth, Texas. In her interview, Rosemary shared about the 30 year gap between her first quilt and her second, how she came to quilt-making (again), and her advice to new quilters. Read on for more words of wisdom from Rosemary:
My first quilt was when I was 18 and right out of high school. When I was 15 or 16, I made a list of things that I was going to accomplish in my life and one of the things on there was ‘piece a quilt.’ And so I took a cardboard shoe box and took some cardboard templates, I first went to see my dad’s cousin who had tons of quilt tops that she had made all her life. People brought her scraps and people in the town had given her scraps to make quilt tops and they’d come and she would sell the quilt tops and she had hundreds of them. So I went to visit her and I picked out a pattern and she gave me her templates and I had cardboard templates and I cut out all these triangles with the scissors. The pattern was supposed to be “Hope of Hartford but I got the pinwheels turned around, half of them, so I called it “Hope of Rosemary.” And I got the quilt finished, my mother put it on the frame, and she had her friends come and quilt it. And I was going to learn to hand quilt and I pricked my finger and it bled on the quilt and my mother said, ‘Honey, you can serve the lemonade.’ So I never learned to hand quilt because I was serving the lemonade. So I checked off on the list that I had made my quilt and it was quilted. And that was in 1964, and I never did a quilt again until 1994. […]
In 1992, I had a liver transplant and I could not go back to work as an accountant because I couldn’t–I wouldn’t have the stamina to take that many hours. I had done our daughters’ wedding–we had two daughters get married and a liver transplant in eight months and when that all was over with, I got bored. I couldn’t go back to work and I said, ‘I think I’ll piece a quilt.’ My husband said, ‘Well, why don’t you write a book?’ and I said, ‘No, I think I’ll piece a quilt.’ I got a quilt book and by the first time I had–by the first quilt I got done, I had three more cut out. And it was just my thing and I just got into it and I made thirty-two full-size or queen-size bed quilts. I’ve made over 180 quilts. I have paper-pieced 1500 blocks in wall hangings, jackets, and quilts and I’ve got a few unfinished projects […]
Edie Jones (interviewer): What advice, in parting words, would you give to new quilters?
Rosemary Zaugg: The first couple of years, I said, ‘There are quilters who talk about it and quilters who do it.’ I said, ‘Get out there and do it. Don’t just go to meetings and learn about it. Don’t go to classes and never make a quilt. Get out there and do it.’ And the vender booth Pastime Fabrics has this display and she’s got these quilter’s quotes out there, and as I walked past it yesterday, I pointed to the one and I said, ‘It says, She who dies with the most fabric wins.’ I said, ‘That’s not really true. She who dies with the most fabric is still dead, so get out there and use the fabric, make the quilts, don’t just collect the fabric.’
You can read more quilt stories on the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Quilt Alliance site.