Seeing that I am the co-writer of this blog, I guess I need to write my own post. 🙂 So let me introduce myself.
My name is Betsy Alderman Lewis, and as stated, I help Sue out with the Sew, O’Susannah! blog. It’s a labor of love, I can tell you. Sue and I have known each other most of our lives, having grown up in the same town and also being friends with her two sisters, Jane and Margaret. They were sort of the sisters I never had growing up.
I am the daughter of a professional quilter named Betty Alderman. Betty died a year and a half ago but before she did, she had a successful quilt pattern business called, Betty Alderman Designs. Just before she died, I took the business over and am injecting some new life and designs into it. That being said, you would think I am an amazing quilter like she was. Well, I can tell you that isn’t the case.
It’s difficult for me to talk about my life as a quilter without mentioning my life with my mom. I made my first quilt when I was about 13 or 14 years old. It was the early 1970s and I remember sitting at a table in my bedroom, drawing not too accurate squares from a cardboard template on a lot of polyester fabric. It was a simple patchwork of many colored squares. I backed it with a pale yellow sheet and turned it to the front for a binding. I loved that quilt. It was perfect for curling up under on a bed on the porch at our cottage. That’s what that quilt reminds me of – a delightful childhood spent on a bluff on the water.
I made a couple of baby quilts before I was 20 but then didn’t quilt again for a very long time. Meanwhile, my mother, became an amazing quilter. Did I share in her efforts and knowledge – not especially. I was a young mother with a family, working full-time and we weren’t even living in the same state. So, unfortunately, all her knowledge didn’t exactly rub off on me. But she always shared with me – her accomplishments and her friendships.
Fast forward to the 1990s and my parents ended up moving to a house kitty corner from mine. Her pattern business was doing very well and I would often help sending orders out if my parents were out of town (they worked from their basement). As, at that time, technical writing was what I did for a living, mom often had me proof her directions and patterns so I gained an understanding of how the patterns were created. I also got to see what she was working on. I, along with my children AND my husband assisted in stuffing patterns. Anyone who has done this can attest to the monotony of it. But it was good family time. My daughter said it was the first job she had. I think she got paid a few cents for every pattern she stuffed. Now that I am stuffing patterns, my husband doesn’t want anything to do with that part, which I find amusing.
Mom and I collaborated on a booklet of patterns in 1997 called, “A Century of Sunbonnets.” It was a huge success selling thousands of copies. I was hooked but I still wasn’t quilting.
The thing is, as I now venture into designing patterns on a close to full time basis, I realize how much I learned from my mom. I realize I know more about sewing than I thought I did and I know quite a bit about the business side of things as my parents shared a lot of that knowledge with me and of which I had to learn to help them out when they were traveling.
Am I a great quilter? Not yet. But I can tell you that I am striving toward a level that I saw in my mom. I only wish she was still here so I could ask her the bizillion questions that I have. Her voice does sometimes come to me and it is usually in a, “Betsy, rip it out and start over,” or “Be careful with that! You’re going to cut your fingers off!” She took the rotary cutter away from me the first time I used it.
Anyway, enjoy this Double Patch block. I love the fabrics Sue gave me. The alphabet fabric is super cute and I LOVE green and LOVE polka dots – an awesome combination for me.
Enter the Blog Block Giveaway through our Rafflecopter giveaway. Don’t forget to comment on the post. We’ll be giving away all 12 blocks on May 1, 2014!