1) How do you prefer to be
described as, within the field of textile history?
If you have a business, please tell us
"Museum Licensed Pattern Writer."
2) When and where did you begin your serious interest in
the history of quilts, textiles or garments?
"After seeing all the spectacular quilts at the Shelburne Museum, I
approached them in 1996 about 'patterning' their antique
quilts, so they could be shared with more people. This experience led to
writing the patterns for Enduring Grace, which, in turn, has led to many
3) What "known" individual or group influenced
you most and why?
"Celia Oliver, former textile curator at the Shelburne
Museum, was influential in my wanting to further pursue the study of
antique quilts. She freely shared her tremendous knowledge, enthusiasm
and love for the textiles with me. It was contagious!
"Richard Cleveland, former Director of the Vermont Quilt
Festival, has also been a tremendous help and resource. His extensive
knowledge of antique quilts, imparted with a Vermont dry sense of humor,
has made learning about the quilts a pure pleasure. He's been generous
with his time and his wisdom and has helped me make some valuable
4) Who became your personal mentor as you began your learning?
"I do not have a specific mentor I've depended upon. Much
of the information I've gleaned has been through studying and learning
from the huge resource of quilt historians at my disposal. They range
from quilt curators to authors to internet historians, like Kimberly
Wulfert, who are thrilled and anxious to share their knowledge!"
5) What aspect of study were you most passionate about
at first? How has this changed over time and why?
the beginning, I was passionate about providing
instructions for the antique quilts that were as true to the original as
possible. I was insistent about including the hand instructions along
with the machine instructions as too many patterns ignore the hand
piecer. This is still important to me and has not changed over time. If
anything, I've improved the patterns by including color pages of the
actual fabrics and more detailed cutting techniques for all quilting
"I've also wanted to provide patterns that document the
quilts and offer the quilter glimpses into the history and, sometimes,
the 'story' of the quilt. I want to be your eyes to quilts you
may never see in person. These desires have not changed over time and
give me the incentive to make each pattern better than the previous one!"
6) What is your current "pet project"?
"I have so many irons in the fire right now, I don't know
which one to pursue first! I would have to say that my 'pet
project' is always writing patterns. From the initial research to
deciding how to make the pattern special to the planning of the
packaging, my perfectionism becomes a burden! I want the quilter to
become engrossed in the quilt - the history and the details of it - not
just construct it!
"Another project that has me very excited is the reprint of Enduring
Grace, Quilts from the Shelburne Museum Collection. It's a celebration
of a half-century of collecting one of the largest, broadest and most
diverse quilt collections in the country. It is filled with full-color
photographs and instructions that I wrote for five of the quilts (Sarah
Johnson, Calico Garden, Silk Tie, Pincushion, Sunflower) from the
collection. The author, Celia Oliver, presents an intriguing history of
quilts in the American home as well as the fascinating story of the
founder of the Shelburne Museum, Electra Havemeyer Webb. Available March
"These same patterns are also offered on my website, independently of
the book. They are more comprehensive and include quilting stencils or
freezer paper templates, depending on the pattern. Acrylic templates are
also available for several of the quilts.
7) What aspect of your research or contribution to
textile studies has satisfied you the most?
"I receive so many emails from people who just thank me
for what I'm doing. Nothing satisfies me more. One woman wrote -- I
have very little time to quilt and knit, but the time I spend, I want to
be quality time, rather than quantity, 'get-it-done-fast.' I
want to be creating the same way my great-grandmother, and her
great-grandmother did. In these days of quicky methods, and 'quilt-in-a-day' patterns, yours are a breath of fresh air!! I
SO appreciate your effort to duplicate patterns of the phenomenal quilts
of the past, so that we can try to connect with our
"fore-mothers", and create works of art ourselves.
"I'm not a well-known quilt historian or even hold a
degree in textiles or history, I just have a desire to share my
incredible fortune of working with antique quilts, so that quilters can
immerse themselves, as I do, in these spectacular and fascinating
creations. I feel that is my contribution - just the exposure."
8) Within the textile arena, what would you like to do,
but haven't done yet?
"Actually, I have been invited to create a fabric line of
reproduction fabrics. I would like to draw on my own collection of
antique fabrics to create a line that is truly conducive for recreating
the beautiful 19th century quilts."
9) Any further comments are invited.
"I'm so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with
such old and precious quilts. I'm even more blessed to have made so many
fine friends through this endeavor. That is truly the beauty of this
work. I have 'friends' all over the world - most of whom I'll
never personally meet, but whom through the love of quilting, have
created a bond that transcends race, religion, environment and age. Oh
what the world leaders could accomplish if they were only all quilters!!
"Please describe (in a list) the contributions you have
made via books, exhibits, presentations, contests, articles, fabric
lines, research papers and the like."
Licensed pattern writer for the Shelburne Museum,
Shelburne, Vermont, Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, MA, The VT Quilt
Festival, Northfield, VT
Pattern designer for
Enduring Grace, Quilts from the Shelburne Museum
Member of a juried guild, The Vermont Hand Crafters, Inc.
Have won ribbons in New York and Vermont quilt shows
A published review of HOOPLA's miniature Poinsettia pattern appears in
Issue #4 of "Miniature Quilts Magazine"
Issue #10 of "Miniature Quilts Magazine" published
"Small Quilts Mean Business," an article about HOOPLA's
Just Spoolin' Around pattern published in Issue #20 of
Exploding Stars pattern published in Issue #22 of
"Lady's Circle Patchwork Quilts," Issue #122 published
"Discovering an Heirloom," a feature article about HOOPLA's
reproduction museum patterns from the Shelburne Museum
"Quilting is Hot!" published a feature article,
Admired from Yesterday, Made Today, Treasured Tomorrow," in Volume
1, Issue 2
The Appliqué Society published a review of the Calico Garden pattern
in Volume 4, Number 3
Wrote an article, "Reliving History Through Quilting" for
www.historyofquilts.com/museumrepros.html. This can also be read from my website under WHAT'S
Invited to tape a segment on HGTV's Simply Quilts with Alex Anderson.
Froncie - your interview
has put a big smile on my heart. Why? It's due to the love you
show for antique quilts, and the mystique and personality you discover in
them to share with today's antique quilt reproducers. Your interview
put this relationship you form with quilts, eloquently into words. I
think you spoke for many who adore the older quilts. You are a
quilt's best friend. They must be as happy to see and share with you
as you are with them, not to mention the museums that let you into their
inner circle. Thank you for bringing these beauties to us in 3-D
through your patterns.
We look forward to your
fabric line, too. If I may put in a request, please consider
reproducing the fabric Florence Peto so beautifully fussy cut in her
"Calico Garden" quilt, one of your earliest patterns. Best
of luck to you in future quilt rendezvous!