Growing up in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, there was not much to do outside of playing with my two sisters and exploring the outdoors with my forest ranger dad. From an early age, my mom taught me to sew. I still have one of the very first things I made when I was eight, a pink and white flannel doll quilt! I went on to fashion my own clothing and clothing for my family, to include my sister’s wedding gown, baptismal gowns, and many Halloween costumes! In the early 1990’s, I had a home sewing business, Snip & Sew. Over the years, as my Army husband moved us from place to place, I cross-stitched, embroidered, crafted, quilted and volunteered. I taught sewing and quilting classes at several places: Fort Dix, NJ; Fort Lee, VA; Fort Leavenworth, KS and in Sierra Vista, AZ. After my husband retired in 2003, we remained in Sierra Vista to raise our two beautiful girls: Stephani is a massage therapist and Michelle is currently finishing her Master’s Degree in Social Work.
In 2010, I joined our local quilt guild, Hummingbird Stitchers. I have been the programs chairman, worked on raffle quilts, made community quilts, worked at the quilt show, and was in charge of bead bags for the international non-profit, Beads of Courage. Since 2000, I have produced over 115 quilted items including pieces for sale, for gifts, for donation, and even some for myself. I enjoy entering my quilts in the annual guild quilt show, where I have won many ribbons. Completing the guild quilt challenges are probably my most troublesome and rewarding quilts. I enjoy starting with an idea and then making a quilt to bring that idea to life! I seldom work from a pattern, as I enjoy creating my own. One of my favorite quilts is the one that received the AZ Quilters Hall of Fame ribbon! It was based on a class I took from Michelle Watts. Another one of my favorites is one that took me over 20 years to make, “Our Army Life in Flowers”. Started when I first got married (1984), I cross-stitched a state flower for each state we lived in and one for each of the birth states of my immediate family. The quilt was finished in 2005; in 2012 it received an Honorable Mention at the quilt show.
Several years ago, my mother-in-law retired after many years of quilting and I inherited her stash (as well as a few of her UFO’s!). I try to use what I have when making new quilts, only buying new fabric to accent or finish each project. I don’t like to have too many UFO’s, so most of mine are done (I know, unbelievable!). Quilting has been my creative outlet, my therapy, my retreat and my comfort. I am so thankful to my mom, my mother-in-law, and all those who have helped me learn this beautiful textile art form. Beginners don’t give up; keep learning!
Debi Guilemette Gallery