About Sandy

I am an AQS Certified Quilt Appraiser, quilt historian, teacher and quiltmaker.  Dangle a new quilting technique in front of me and I want to learn it!  However, my two greatest passions about quilts happen to be educating folks about how to protect and safeguard their newly-made and older quilts and, to let folks know about the importance of labeling their quilts. The bottom line is I want women’s work and history preserved and honored.  For me quiltmaking represents a vital statement about women’s roles through history. I’m also a pushover for tools and technology.  And, I love a good story!  For me, quilts, quilters and quiltmaking provide it all---it is magic!

Here is a little background.  I grew up in S.W. WI in Spring Green where both sets of grandparents had farms.  My Grandpa, Frank, taught me the value of multi-tasking when he visited the local pub, with me in tow, to play cards with his cronies, all the while sipping on a brew, telling stories AND saying the rosary!  However, when he got his harmonica out all other activities came to a halt.

The window seat in the cheese factory at the end of my grandmother’s lane provided me with many happy hours of listening to the cheese makers tell outrageous stories while raking the cheese curds.  In the pub or at the cheese factory I couldn’t get enough of the older folks’ stories of “how things used to be.”

My grandmother’s button box proved to be my favorite toy as I arranged pattern after pattern with buttons held by pins to the back of the sofa.  And, a box of unfinished Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt blocks tucked away in the attic trunk provided hours of pleasure arranging and rearranging them into colorful patterns.

I learned to read when I went to a one room school.  Reading and learning became a passion as I wanted to learn about everything I saw.  I learned to knit and weave by the time I was eight. You might say I was a curious kid.

I must pause to say a word about the woman who most influenced me:  My grandmother, Mary Rhuland Smyth.  She had been widowed when my mother and her three sisters were preschoolers.  My grandmother, a 5th grade educated woman, who had gone to Chicago as a young woman and made hats for Marshall Field’s, back when the Chicago sidewalks were wooden boards, knew how to manage a farm, butcher a cow and bake the best cakes, pies, cookies and bread in the whole world!  And her friends were equally capable women.  What a glorious role model my grandmother was for me------ and her friends weren’t too shabby, either.

Following my year at the one-room school I moved to Illinois.