Emily and Andy at HalloweenDawn, and her husband, Walter, live in south western Pennsylvania, in the small town of Delmont, about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh. Daughter Emily and step-daughter Katie are college seniors, son Andy is a college freshman, and their dog Clancy is a doggie-obedience school drop-out. All which means that Dawn and Walter are about to begin enjoying an empty nest.

Clancy the dogIn a recent interview Dawn had this to say about her life and quilting:

“I started sewing when I was in sixth grade. It was back in the days of Home Economics, and I was always so thrilled when the sewing semester came. We made dirndl skirts for our first project, certainly not what was in fashion in the late 1960’s. However, I was hooked. My aunt, Willie, was a seamstress and when we visited I would look through all the pattern catalogs and dream of the wonderful (and stylish) clothes that I would make.

Mom and Dad“I sewed straight through high school making most of my clothes, some for my mom and gifts for my dad. I won an award as a high school junior for a dress that I made and I can still remember walking down the runway of church tables in the local mall at the completion of the contest. Man was I ever groovy!

“Even then I should have realized that I was destined to become a quilter. I saved all the scraps from the clothes that I made and pieced them together. I made a patchwork skirt from the yards of pieced material and wore it, along with my red, white and blue sneakers to the Bicentennial Celebration. Now I was the most far-out thing in town.

“I graduated from a textile college in Philadelphia, began a mundane job, married, had kids and then divorced. All the while ignoring the call of quilting by involving myself in life’s daily routines, rounded out by sewing drapes, making Halloween costumes, and sewing on missing buttons.

“In 1995, in the sale pile of a local bookstore, I picked up a copy of a book about old quilts and couldn’t put it down. Walter seized a golden opportunity (little did he know he was creating a quilting monster) and convinced me that a move from one side of Pittsburgh, to the other, would be a good thing for me by offering to buy me a new sewing machine. (Some day ask to hear the story of his commute home the night of the Grateful Dead concert in Pittsburgh, and then you will understand why it was enough to agree to move for only the price of a sewing machine.)

“From that point on it has been like a snow ball rolling down a hill. I have been piecing, appliquéing and quilting my heart out. My two favorite quilting related things are teaching; I love sharing with others the pleasure of quilting, and appliqué. I feel so lucky to have a supportive family who has given me the time and space to start this business, my quilting buddies who have become the best of friends, and the opportunity to share with others the joy and relaxation that quilting can bring to a home and the people in it.”

The family