Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

About Me

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.)


  1. What an amazing life you have lived. I thought I had to move a lot; but you have really been to quite a few different places. It is hard sometimes to pack up and move; but exciting to see new and different places as well. You have a lot of great memories I am sure. :)

  2. I was curious as to where you lived and was excited to see it's in Newport News! Our son is career Navy and will be retiring soon back to the Virginia area. When we go back to visit perhaps we could meet at a local quilt store!

  3. Love your choice of fabrics. Do you live near Richmond? What do I have in common with you? Love of quilts5, patriotic fabric, we both lived in Kansas and Texas.

  4. Joanne:
    Love your work. We are two musicians who have discovered a new instrument of long metal rods in a soft arc that we bow with a big bass bow but now with 2 and 3" of cloth like Thai silk. We thought maybe you would have some idea of what we could buy as a tool that might hold up to 3 inches of cloth tightly that has a handle on it. This is a wide jaw thing for sure. Essentially if you held a 3 foot strip of cloth in front of you so the edges face the ceiling and the floor something that would very firmly clamp the cloth on the ends and your hands would grip something that would allow a sliding back and forth motion around the 1/2 circle arc of metal rods. Any thoughts on something we could adapt or set up. Eventually we will be making these fabric bows for sale so we can jerry rig a prototype but ideally something we dont need to do a lot to. Thanks for any help you can offer.

  5. The email address i use is alan@TheResonanceCenter.com

  6. Hello! I have missed your blog posts and thought it was my computer's problem. I came here to see if you had posted an update. Now I am concerned about you and that something troubling has happened to you or a loved one. I will send warm thoughts and prayers your way. Mary My email address is howlandquilt (at) gmail.com.

  7. It's me again. I've missed your posts. I hope you've just been too busy to post. I hope you're and your family have a very Happy Thanksgiving. I don't have to cook the entire meal so I'm using this time to drop a note to those I've missed.