Celebrating National Craft Month – Donna McElwain’s Quilts
It’s fitting that Donna McElwain has won prizes at both county and state fairs, including both the Indiana and Kentucky State Fair. She can trace her interest in quilting back to seeing the beautiful sewn artwork on display at local and state fairs.
Before she took up quilting, her mother taught her to sew at the age of nine and she began competing in 4-H sewing competitions. As a child, her mother insisted she learned to make straight and perfect seams. Back then she didn’t enjoy correcting her mistakes but today she’s grateful for her mother’s lessons.
“I am so happy she was persistent. It has made me a better sewer and quilter,” said Donna.
Even when working full time as a registered nurse, she continued to hone her craft, making prom dresses, bridesmaids’ dresses and doing alterations in her spare time. Then in 1978, she created her first quilt, a blue and white queen-sized log cabin pattern. Since then she has made more than 100 quilts, mostly gifts for family, friends and charitable organizations.
For beginners, Donna recommends quilting clubs as a good entry point into the craft. Many clubs offer workshops and classes including the Nimble Thimbles Quilt Club where Donna was president. When Donna first started, she found books and information at the local library. Now there are YouTube videos, which are great for novices because they can watch the videos over and over until they’ve mastered the different techniques.
Donna sees quilting as a relaxing and rewarding hobby. She enjoys being a part of a quilting club, where she has found many friends, and participating in community service projects. Quilting isn’t her only hobby, she also enjoys cross stitch and hardanger embroidery, which is a Norwegian cutwork style of embroidery.
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