Aloha! My name is JoAnne and I'm in my mid-forties. I was born and raised in South Dakota. I can remember being in second grade and attempting to make clothes for my barbie dolls. As I got older, I loved going to fabric stores. My mom was at a loss as she did not sew, but then the coolest thing happened--she actually paid someone to teach me how to sew when I was in Junior High. These days I quilt more than I sew, but I can still turn out an adequate garment, if required. One of my grandmothers quilted, and I was drawn to them. She was quilting back in the 70s and 80s when hardly anyone else was doing so. She embroidered many of her quilts. When I was in high school and college, I started embroidering blocks featuring nursery ryhmes to make a quilt of my own for the future. I put them together with a peach solid fabric. The edges featured prairie points instead of binding, and I had quilted it and put it away. It was my first quilt.
I was in college when I met my husband. Growing up in South Dakota I had said that I would never marry a farmer (I'm by personality a worrier and I could not imagine living my life dependant on the whims of Mother Nature) or a military man (my father was killed in Vietnam). So even though the first time I met him, and was wearing his Army ROTC uniform, I was actually smart enough to go out with him. That was over 26 years ago! When we graduated, our Army Life began. We were at our first duty station--his Officer Basic Course--when the week of the class' graduation, Sadam invaded Kuwait and the Gulf War began. Welcome to the military! He deployed there, and has since gone to support the Bosnia thing, and was over when the Iraq war started, and just last year went to Afghanistan. He also spent a year in Korea.
It was during the Korean year, when we were apart, that I really got into quilting. It was 1995. I had done a little quilting but had no stash or books, or anything. I had made a Quilt in a Day quilt (Burgoyne Surrounded) and hand quilted it. I was living back in South Dakota but on my own with our daughter. I liked to haunt the local Northwest Fabrics store. There was a book in there, Little Quilts All Through the House, and I was in love with it! It was also over $20 and that was back when that was a lot of money. Finally, one weekend in March, the store had a 30% off coupon and I was going to buy that book. There was a blizzard! I'm not kidding, the snow was really coming down, but I got out and drove to the store and bought the book. I went home and read it cover-to-cover. Then I went back a few days later for some fabric, and the stash began!
Since then, I've made too many quilts to count. At least, I lost count after 150 or so. I like to make all sizes. I guess my preferred style is "scrappy," although I will try most anything. I love piecing on the machine, hand applique (using the back-basting method), and hand or machine quilting. I don't machine quilt anything larger than a lap-sized quilt--those I send to long-arm quilters. I will foundation piece and paper piece, although they aren't my favorite techniques. If I see a quilt that I really like, I will try to learn whatever technique may be needed to accomplish it. My preferred palette IS red, white, and blue, but I also love reproductions of all colors and recently I've been trying out different fabrics--more light and modern. For quite a few years I was a huge Thimbleberries fan, but now my tastes are modifying a bit and I even quilt with batiks.
My life as an Army wife is drawing to a close. I think my husband will be retiring in a few years. Our journey has taken us to Fort Gordon, Augusta, Georgia (3 different times); Fort Hood, Killeen, Texas; Fort Huachuca, Sierra Vista, Arizona; Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas; Fort Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska; Fort Leavenworth, Leavenworth, Kansas, Fort Shafter, Honolulu, Hawaii; and now Fort Eustis, Newport News, Virginia. Normally we live in post housing, in the military community, but here, knowing retirement is soon, we decided to start stepping away from full-time army life, so we live off post in Yorktown. If you are wondering where our favorite duty station is, I'll tell you "this one," because I always do my best to love where I am at the time. (Under torture, I would confess to loving Alaska most, though and also Hawaii was pretty wonderful, too, but I can't see myself living there full-time.)