VSQ Profiles in Quilting

ERNESTINE BRYANT – I have been a New Yorker for 45 years (by way of North Carolina). I was introduced to quilting by my grandmother and mother who did not quilt for the beauty of it, but rather by necessity. My first quilt was a baby quilt using squares contributed by family members in 1996. Then in 2002, a Christmas gift for my daughter and son-in-law was such a hit, I tried a double ring wedding quilt. Although it was not quite so successful, I did not give up and that started me on this road which I have yet to master. I enjoy seeing the final project and the surprises along the way. I also love doing new things and am trying to create my own quilt patterns. I used to sew my daughters’ clothes, but had to give that up when they discovered designer labels. Now everyone gets bed quilts for holidays. I retired six years ago from teaching at Ossining High School. I enjoy reading, traveling and my “grands.” And, of course, quilting.


JULIE CANNELL – My late mother was a hand quilter and her exquisite work took on a special meaning upon her death in 2001. I was finally able to embark on my own quilting journey last June in a class at the Country Quilter. As a long-time garment maker it felt as if I’d come home, and within a few months a sitting room in our home was transformed into a custom quilting studio. Time in this wonderful new space truly brings me joy and I’ve been able to complete a 4-patch as well as quilt tops of a triple Irish chain, a Kaffe Fassett design and a stack-and-whack. Now, to polish my machine-quilting skills sufficiently to quilt my own creations! Growing up I had the opportunity to live in the U.S. and Europe, but New York has been my home since 1976. I am blessed with a terrific husband and three sons. After 20 years working on Wall Street, I started my own consulting business working with the electric utility industry on investment matters. Small wonder that I’ve gravitated to quilting!


JUDITH HOFFMAN CORWIN – I am a graphic designer and author/illustrator of children’s books. Creativecommunication has been the basis of my career – everything from corporate identity for Xerox, NBC, the NYC Parks Department, the UN and UNICEF to logo designs, greeting cards, posters, book covers, as well as dolls and other designs for women’s magazines. Several of my children’s books are illustrated with small quilts and sewn and appliquéd work. I use machine and hand embroidery, hand-painted fabric and antique trim and buttons in my work. I love creatures and usually include them in my designs. I use a straight stitch as a drawn line and embroidery stitches for emphasis. I design by feel and reason with a sense of delight and love to experiment with color and design to transform fabric, thread, beads, buttons and embroidery into a magical space. I am a professional member of Studio Art Quilt Associates and Empire Quilters, Allied Artists and the Center for Book Arts. I currently have a watercolor in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden exhibit and a quilt in the Williams Club in an exhibit that celebrates the 10th anniversary of The City Quilter shop in NYC.


NANCY HEFFERNAN – Although my mother was a quilter, she did not teach me to quilt, but obviously instilled a love of fabric. As a result, the adult education class I took some twenty years ago started me down this wonderful path, and I have been quilting every since. I consider myself a traditional quilter and use all techniques in my work. My colors are usually chosen on the basis of my current project and its intended recipient. I am a freelance real estate paralegal, wife and mom of two, Girl Scout leader, and my other passion is reading. Not too surprisingly, there are never enough hours in the day to do all the quilting I would like.


BARBARA POWERS – Quilting is a very big part of my life in retirement. My four children are grown and are raising their own families, all out of town. After taking some classes in 1993, I set a goal of making a bed quilt for my three siblings (done), my four children (done) and my eight grandchildren. I am presently working on the third grandchild quilt and promise to bring the completed top in for “Show and Tell.” I was slowed down by four major surgeries during recent years, but I am happy to be able to come back for more fun at Village Squares. (Note: Barbara won the Viewer’s Choice award at VSQ’s Quilt Celebration VI in 2000 for her beautiful yellow reversible quilt-as-you-go quilt.)


MARION GRAY started sewing at age 11 and quilting in 1989. She loves everything about our craft, but has a particular love for making very large quilts (king size) with very small pieces (3½” squares). For the last few months she has been working on emptying a closet full of scraps. She is a retired registered nurse and nursing instructor and has one son. Welcome back, Marion.


It seems appropriate to honor Viola Lull whose 89th birthday is coming up on April 20. Our Viola was born in 1919 in South Dakota at which time only boys’ births were registered. When Viola needed a birth certificate, affidavits were required from her mother and aunt vouching that she really existed. Her life on the farm ended in 1926 when the family moved to Nyack and later New City following the financial crash. Married in 1922, Viola had 4 children and then became a teacher at a private college prep school where she taught all grades except the first. Her final working years were spent teaching high school math. Viola began quilting in 1980 and she has been making quilts ever since, many full-size, for her own children, 6 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren (not to mention the dozens she has made for VSQ Outreach). Her most recent was a Sunbonnet Sue for her latest great grandchild. She was a founding member of the Village Squares, served as Treasurer and participated in the Bedford Babies program for some years. In addition, Viola has found time to knit, crochet, weave baskets, serve as an active member of the Memorial Union Methodist Church and Interfaith. Her advice to us: Stay active and keep learning new things. Her biggest problem now: How to say no to pleas for help! Congratulations, Viola.  We are very lucky to have you.


Rosemary Jordan: I grew up in Omaha, NE and eventually wound up in New York where I met my husband, Richard. His boyhood friend married Theresa Reilly (a former member of Village Squares). She became my best friend -- more like a sister. She got me interested in quilting back in the 80's, and I've been quilting ever since. I'm also a member of the Hudson River Quilters. I've made bed quilts, crib quilts and wall hangings. One Christmas wall hanging was in the December 1997 Quilter's Newsletter Magazine along with the article "Looking Beyond Tradition" that I wrote about it. In the past I always did hand quilting, but I'm now doing machine quilting. I think machine quilting is fun and really lovely as well as fast. The speed is important to me now. We have six married children. Five have their quilts, but I still have one to do. And so far I've done only one full size quilt for our soon to be 16 grandchildren. I also love to read, and when I was younger I was a tutor in English and Writing for SUNY's Empire State College. Now I play with grandchildren and I quilt -- a lot!


Sandra Parrott: Sandra is a transplanted mid-Westerner who has lived in Westchester since 1979. She has been creating art as long as she can remember and has studied (and done) printmaking, watercolor, photography, collage and sculpture. Teaching at Westchester Community College and in various adult education programs also has been a part of her life. Since discovering quilting, less than a year ago, she has completed 8-20 art quilts and has been accepted into the Mamaroneck Artists’ Guild as a fiber arts member (she has been a member in other art fields for some time). Sandra has very quickly become a dedicated art quilter and loves working in what is a new medium for her. She is married and has one son and two grandchildren, 4 and 6.


Nancy Rice: Sewing and knitting have always been hobbies of mine, but it is fairly recently that I have started quilting, which I am really enjoying. Cary Lou Canfield and Viola Lull are friends of mine (that I met at Memorial United Methodist Church) who invited me to join the Village Squares Quilters. I am probably more traditional at quilting, although I am interested in learning and trying new things (as I said, I am so new to it that I am just learning). I like to use a variety of colors. I have mostly done smaller projects and have recently done some Christmas pieces — all of which have gone on to someone else! My paternal grandmother and aunt had great talents in sewing and at times used this talent as their means of support. I think my grandmother may have done a bit of quilting. I have lived in the White Plains for 24 years. My husband is a retired Methodist minister who hasn‘t learned to retire and who is currently doing an interim pastorate at the Park Avenue Church in Manhattan. We have 4 children (2 boys, 2 girls) all married and living across the US and 9 grandchildren. I am a retired registered nurse (last working at White Plains Hospital). We also have a family cottage on Cayuga Lake where we spend part of the summer. I like to travel — our most recent trip was a cruise through the Panama Canal, which was very exciting.


Linda Goldberg: Here it is! My life in rotary cutting! My first quilt, for my first grandson, I thought would be a snap...a few months later it had taken on an amoeba-like quality, the top and bottom separating inside creating an amorphous, deflated balloon. I tried to amend it, and the baby didn‘t mind my un-handiwork, but later (after several revisions), when the poorly chosen material (read: soft knit backing) started to shred, I had to de-struct, reconstruct and hope that the grandboy would like the =new‘ blankie which contained only a piece of his original one. Fortunately, by this time, I had taken a quilting course or two and had given up trying to quilt the way I drive: this can‘t be too hard, let‘s see where this takes us. To my relief, he loved it. Born in the Bronx, raised in Queens and a Westchester-ite for coming on 40 years, I have always done crafts. My mom started me on knitting while I was in elementary school and after a great sewing teacher in junior high, I made almost all my own clothes and had an alterations business locally in college. Since then, I‘ve done pottery, stained glass (another way of putting together pretty colored pieces), jewelry, scrapbooking, macramé, etc. For a while I tried to make my living doing pottery and stained glass, but found that turning a hobby into a business made it much less fun. Besides, I was just tooooo slow at them. I am a retired ESL (English as a second language) teacher and enjoy gardening, reading, and the usual spectrum of now- I‘m-retired activities. I found VSQ because of a flyer at the Mamaroneck Quilt Cottage advertising the 2008 quilt show at Solomon Schechter and ran into Paula Shamoian, my former BOSS from Mamaroneck Adult Ed. I‘m delighted that she encouraged me to join and look forward to more involvement over time.


Tamar Drucker: I‘m so happy I joined the Village Squares Quilters. It was fun to participate in the last quilt show and be honored with a ribbon — thank you. I was born and grew up in Israel and always loved to draw and sketch. After starting to work with young kids and starting my own family, I found myself drawn to work with fabrics. Back then I did something like appliqué and embroidery. Shortly after coming to the USA I met a friend who taught me the basics in quilting. I‘ve been quilting for the last 20 years. I‘m so happy that I have this hobby and a world of friends who share this passion. It is like oxygen to my life. I enjoy the process of researching and creating an idea, looking for the right fabrics and the sewing, and often have more than one project going. I mostly work with appliqué, traditional and/or raw edge to create pictorial wall hangings. I love hand quilting but find myself using machine quilting mostly because there‘s never enough time.Thank you for letting me join the group.


Toni Bernstein: I'm called Toni, though my proper name is Antonia, and since I learned to knit at age 8, I have always done craft stuff. I knitted for many a year, often designing as I went along, tried my hand at weaving at The Penland School in North Carolina, and began drawing classes until my arthritis blew out first my right hand, and after I switched to drawing left-handed, blew that one out too. Finding machine piecing has really done wonders for me and I'm still very much in the learning stage. I began quilting with a group of friends with whom I tried to form a book group. It turned out that they wanted a quilting group instead, and I thought, “What me? Cut up big pieces of fabric into small pieces so I can sew them back again into big pieces? Not me, thank you.” Our group started in 2001, and since several members were good friends already, I gave it a try, despite what I considered the totally ridiculous process. A couple of members (we had eight then) taught me a couple of steps, and to my surprise, I really loved it. I love looking at fabric, picking up a piece and thinking about what it might be placed next to, and then, after tearing out several clumps of hair, replacing it many times until I think the combination “sings.” The quilts I make tend to have references in them, either to events in the lives of the recipients, or to experiences I've had or want them to have, but often the messages are not blatant. For my first granddaughter I put in indications that she should not follow known paths in life, but should go out and try things that nobody expected her to do. She isn't six yet, so we'll have a way to go to see if she “got it.” My grandmother, who came from Russia in 1907, made her living in Russia sewing uniforms for Czarist officers. Because she thought being a tailor had such a low status, she refused to teach my mother how to sew. Somehow, the instinct came down to me, and I passed it to our son who can knit and weave and do some hand-building with clay. At the moment he is in the business world but that interest may come back to him in later life. Two things go together to form the texture of my adult life. My husband, David, is a professor at Sarah Lawrence, and as academics (I taught History at Fieldston and other places) we've been able to live in a few other parts of the world (London, Hawaii, Boston) and travel around either for just plain old fun or fun cloaked as academic pursuits. We've visited family members who never left Russia and still keep in touch with them. My one big quilt, finished in the fall of 2008, was a wedding gift for our “Russian daughter” who is actually a second-cousin to my husband. I may show it at the next Village Squares show. Since moving to Dobbs Ferry in 2007, I’d been thinking of a quilt guild, and when Nancy, at The Quilt Cottage, mentioned your show, I went to it, saw the varied levels of quilting on display, and thought I'd pop in to see what your group was like. I liked it and joined in January.


Cathy Johnston : I’ve been in Westchester four years, quilting for twenty years and have two grown daughters. I am the manager of the Townhouse Association property where I live, but am otherwise “retired.” Mark and I love living here and being able to get into Manhattan often.


Eleanor Schmauser : I attended a VSQ show in the early 80’s and after sewing clothes and for the home for many years became hooked on quilting following a class at Hartsdale Fabrics in the 90’s. I retired in 2001 when I became a member of VSQ and have since made quilts for everyone in my family (12) plus 5 lap quilts sent to Germany. In addition to quilting/sewing, I enjoy playing bridge, reading, lunching with my friends, traveling as much as I can (I am now in Australia or New Zealand), and I still enjoy going down to the city for shows and museums.


Helen Supcoff : I am a retired high school biology teacher living in Rye for over 30 years and have been a member of VSQ for at least 6 years during which time I entered several shows and won a couple of ribbons. My hobbies include just about any handcraft (except tatting but including clay and wood) which I still try to do between quilting projects as well as teaching knitting and crocheting part time. I limit my cooking and all types of baking to special occasions as I find I, and my family, eat too much.


Maxine Shaines : I began quilting after retiring as a director of IT (information technology) and have found the analysis and precision required to design computer systems lends itself to creating quilts. Spending the winter in warm Naples, Florida has given me time to quilt, sew a lot of home decorating projects, and visit with family and friends. I look forward to getting back to VSQ whose members and community-oriented activities have become very important to me.


Pat Julian : In 2000, after more than 25 years in the corporate world developing, maintaining and managing financial systems, I decided that it was time for a change. Travel became a larger (you could say, huge) part of my life and, after a class with Joan Jones in 2001, so did quilting. I joined VSQ in 2002 and since then have been quite active in guild activities - particularly the show (show committee 2004 & 2008 with a stint as show chair for Quilt Celebration IX in 2006) and the raffle quilt (member of the past three raffle quilt committees).


Barbara Wexler has taught art and art history locally for 30 years and serves as a volunteer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Nolen Research Library. She has just returned from South Africa where she’s worked with IKAMVA LABANTU an organization that teaches the skills to become self-sufficient. Barbara is looking forward to a great year a great year with the Village Squares Quilters.

Jeannine Fetsco - I am looking forward to handing in my first project, the blocks given out (at the October meeting).  So far I have the center done.  It is with honor and pleasure to be a part of VSQ and be entrusted with a project block on day one.  I feel confident I'll do a good job.  Now as for the name tag, OMG, after I took one look at the pieces and directions, I wished I had opted to have it made.....LOL (laughing out loud).  Sharing this with my boyfriend Jerry, his words echo "you can do it sweetie" as I look over at the packet sitting on the coffee table.  I guess I could bring it to the Sit & Sew session next month.  This is year two of dabbling in quilts (do it when I can).  As a novice, I look forward to how my quilt style and knowledge will evolve in the next few years surrounded by such gifted talent in the room.  I am looking forward to doing more projects and attending ongoing events.


Danielle Perillatt and Deborah Uhlfelder. Danielle shared this about herself: I worked as a Photo Editor for 18 years and just recently left the industry.  I'm relatively new to quilting - only 5 years under my belt.  I like kits the best because I am color-challenged.  I met my best friend, Deb, at a quilting class.  Now we do quilting road trips together and dream about going on a quilting cruise without the husbands or kids!


Marietta Douglas - I am thrilled and thankful to finally be able to attend meetings at VSQ!  I am a beginner and the October meeting I attended was my very first quilt meeting ever and I learned so much!  My mother was an avid quilter for many years (in the Albany area) and has drawers full of squares and I must admit that I have made many quilt kits.  I now feel like some might even get done!


Ellen Belson - My mother taught to me sew as a child.  My first project was making clothes by hand for my Alice in Wonderland doll.  I still have the clothes in my attic though the doll is long gone.  I made my first quilt for my daughter in 1981.  I drew pictures of cartoon and book characters on large squares of fabric with fabric crayons and sashed them together.  I didn’t know about machine quilting so I just hand tied the quilt together.  Unfortunately, the only material I could find at the time was some kind of non-cotton, satiny fabric and the quilt fell apart after several years.  I didn’t return to quilting until I semi-retired in 2006 and took my first quilting class at Hartsdale Fabrics.  Since then I have taken many classes, joined two guilds and enjoy making charity quilts with Comfort Quilts (a subgroup of the Northern Star Quilters Guild) and for the Village Squares Quilters.


Veronica O’Connor   I first want to say that I have felt very welcomed since the first of my two meetings with the guild.  Thank you all for that. I first tried quilting over 30 years ago when I made a crazy quilt Christmas stocking for my daughter.  At long intervals, that stocking was followed by a Christmas tree skirt (easy, 4 inch squares) and then a quilt with appliqué for my youngest son.  That quilt hung on the wall of a hospital room for three weeks – brightened the room and presented a topic of conversation for those who entered the room.  An icebreaker sorely needed by the five year old.

I tried to venture onward, but templates, correct, precise cutting and I did not get along well together.  I bought a kit to make my first granddaughter a quilt – started before she was born and finished for her first birthday (1998-99).  If I had known that machine quilting was “allowed” I think I would have finished it faster.  It remains my only hand-quilted quilt.  I made a few more, struggled with quilting on a Singer student model, with no walking foot, making a few Project Linus quilts, and small gift items.  In 2003, I upgraded to another machine, and I was off and running.

I’m excited to be able to take part in the Cuddle Quilts Project.  As a quilter and as a pediatric nurse this activity is very dear to my heart.  The quilts make a difference not only for the families and the children, but they also brighten up the world for the nurses and other care‑givers.  A colorful quilt in the midst of all that white linen is sunshine after a week of rain.  But to see the faces of the parents when we pass the quilts around is the best feeling there is.  They are so astounded that people who don’t even know their children care enough to make the quilts.  For me, the kinds of quilts that people make are astounding – not simple thrown together blankets, but intricate patterns and lovely fabric.  It’s easy to see that each stitch is a prayer or a thought for the recipients, identity unknown.  How could I not want to be a part of this?”