There are plenty of stories in the Q.S.O.S. archives about moms and grandmas–many quilters describe how they learned the art of quilting from a mother or grandmother–but there are many stories about fathers, too: from fathers with a knack for sewing, to husbands who are always willing to take the kids while we pick up a few more things at the quilt shop!

Today’s Q.S.O.S. Spotlight features two  interviews with quiltmakers who share stories about what their fathers taught them, as well as an interview with a quilting dad: Richard Tims, father of renowned quilter Ricky Tims!

14-31-E08-1-NY10018-001FindlayWolfeAVictoria Findlay Wolfe of Bumble Beans, Inc. described how her father’s job as a upholsterer provided early quilt inspiration: “My father had an upholstery business in Minnesota and I grew up on a farm in MN… When I started sewing, I had one of those Barbie sewing machines that had a glue cartridge that you would put in and it would put glue dots on the fabric. That really worked well (laughter). Then I moved up from there gradually and would steal my father’s scraps and upholstery sample books. I’d sew them together on my mother’s Singer. I remember him teaching me how to do a blind stitch and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world because you couldn’t tell there was a seam on the outside finishing it up. I thought it was pretty cool cause it looked like my Dad’s work then.

Jill Herndon describes a quilt she made for her father: 14-31-859-1-qsos-a0a8i7-a_15370

“I give quilts as gifts. I have made a special quilt for almost every member of the family. It’s become somewhat of a family tradition. It’s become a wonderful emotional bond with each person who has a unique quilt and the conversations with each one are very unique. One I made for my father has been on TV… It was a departure. I scanned photographs of him from when he was a boy through to his eightieth birthday, and printed them on fabric. And then I framed them in kind of crazy Log Cabins and embroidered a center panel that says it is Edward Beverly Herndon’s quilt. He has hung it at the end of his hallway with lights on it and there are many touching stories about it… It was before people started talking about scrapbook quilts. This is something people do a lot now, and I can see why, because it was really a celebration of my father and of our relationship, that he taught me how to sew, he taught me how to photograph, and he was an inspiration in my going into information technology as a career so that I knew how to handle all of the [scanning and.] printing on fabric at home, using my own computers and printers.”

Richard Tims tells the story of starting to quilt while working as a truck driver: 

ImageWhy did I start? Well, I was working with the trucking company and I was working four days on, and four days off and I didn’t have nothing to do around the house but nothing, and I says if Mama can make a quilt at 85, Richard surely you can make one at 65, and I started in. And I worked four days off in here by myself and then I’d go back and work my four days and come back work another four on the quilts. Something to play with, pass time away, and it just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

You can read more stories from quiltmakers (and their fathers!) at the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Alliance’s site.


Posted by Emma Parker
Project Manager,  Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories