Greetings! My name is Tricia Patterson. I recently joined Quiltmaker as an associate editor. I’ve worked as an instructional designer and project manager, mostly with learning and information technology organizations, for many years. My dream has always been to tie instructional design with my passion for fiber art in a job. I’m excited to be living my dream.
I grew up in Greensburg, Indiana. It was a small mid-western farm community when I was young. My first memory of fabric is not my baby binky, rather the carefully drawn knife and fork my grandma put on the end of a tea towel to teach me how to handle a sewing needle. She taught my sister and I how to embroider the towel in between spewing out loads of basket quilt blocks from her treadle sewing machine. I also remember we took scraps from her basket nearby to dress our dolls. My sewing skills grew as she guided me through many 4-H clothing projects. My grandmother planted the first seeds of passion for the touch of fabric, the splendor of many colors and an itch to stitch.
As a young woman I sewed as much as possible. I made clothes for my younger sister and brother, myself, and then for my husband and sons. My sewing projects led me to quilting during its renaissance in the mid ’70s. I completed my first hand-stitched baby quilt with the birth of my first son. I was hooked from there. When parenting started taking more time and I began working outside my home, the quilting projects became smaller in size. I discovered I could take piecing projects with me to the boys’ ball games and practices. I also learned that I could get to the satisfaction of a finished project quicker because a small wall hanging or throw didn’t take as long to complete. During that time period I learned hand stitching was an art form to treasure. Since then I’ve always had a large hand-stitch quilt in progress. My sons have blessed me with many events that deserve a quilt: graduations, leaving home for college, marriages, births, lounging on the couch to watch TV, and decorating a grandchild’s room.
I moved to Colorado, became more involved with work and migrated to making art quilts by machine. Although some are still hand-stitched I have been developing my machine stitching skills through these wall hangings. I’ve hand-dyed or printed many of the fabrics I use. I enjoy embellishing them with special beads, ribbons, yarn, buttons, and many recycled objects. I have been known to add stars cut from beer cans to the face of a wall quilt. I create thread-painted and crocheted pieces to adorn them, and some contain embroidery stitches (Thank you, Grandma.). I do follow one rule: All of my wall hangings must contain some element of traditional quilting.
I’ve always been a traditionalist at heart. I love the history that quilting brings forward to our modern day. Perhaps it’s a longing to stay connected. It makes me feel really good to know that there is something I’m doing that my grandmother also found engaging. I think that’s why, when I make a bed quilt for my family, I give them a hand-stitched one. I may use modern patterns, a twist on traditional, or a design I’ve created special for them. (I’ve shared a few of them with you below.) With a quilt I’m giving my time, a piece of my creativity, sharing something they know I endear, as well as passing on family memories that I hope they will also cherish.
I couldn’t believe my fortune to have this job come my way. I walked in on my first day of work to see quilts hanging on all the walls, over the cube sides, in the cubes, on the desks of the cubes–everywhere. You can’t beat working with people who share your passion. Quilts are in my life every day as I work on calculating yardage, writing descriptions or assembly directions. I get to see so many creative and wonderful quilt patterns and fabric choices. The best part is when the quilts for our publications arrive from their makers. The quilts are spread out; my co-workers take a break from their desks to gather around one-by-one. There is a breath of silence as we absorb and then murmurs of appreciation come: for the pattern, fabric, quilting motif, and the maker–because that’s what quilters do. It’s then that I know I’m in the best place for me.
Here are a few favorites of my hand-stitched quilts:
I asked my daughter-in-law Gina to send me a picture so I could share the quilt I made for her graduation from optometry school. Note she received this quilt before she became engaged to my son. I knew then she was special. A mother’s intuition…
I made the quilt below to celebrate the marriage of my youngest son and his wife. The choice of the Double Wedding Ring design doesn’t need an explanation. I added the Cathedral Windows to symbolize the importance of looking through the grist of daily life to remember the love you share.
I want to share this wall hanging because it’s my first authentic art quilt and the one I’m most proud of. It took me three months to create. It’s all hand-stitched. Notice the metal stars? I call this quilt Colorado. My sons call it the shrapnel quilt. They aren’t fans of my art quilts, preferring my traditional hand-stitched bed quilts. I think that’s pretty cool because I hoped they would appreciate the historical significance of this stuff that mom is always doing.