Personal: Donna Thomas loves her pets so much that she named her company after her cats: Pre-Furred Qulits! When she is not quilting, Donna likes doing big puzzles. Donna is a devoted fan of the Outlander book series. She has the 8th book waiting for her to finish re-reading the last three books so she can refresh her memory of the details. She is almost done with A Breath of Snow and Ashes.
How did you get interested in quilting? My mother loved making clothes and so I sewed all my life from age 3 or 4 in some form or other, but mostly hand needlework and later clothes. In 1975, between my sophomore and junior years of college, I met this awful boy while at my summer landscaping nursery job. He used to tease me horribly. Finally, at the end of the summer, he asked me out on a date. He turned out to be quite a nice guy. That fall, he had a birthday coming and I had no money but I did have a bag of home economic scraps from the late 60’s and early 70’s and a picture of an antique Dresden Plate quilt. So I made this monstrosity from double knits, polyester denim, two extra loft poly batting, and no instruction—I just dove in. I cringe when I think of it. But I loved the colors, all the prints, the puzzle-like aspect of it—- and there were no zippers or buttonholes! Well, yup, I married the guy and we still have it. I take it to local lectures sometimes. It’s too heavy to ship for out of town trips!
Where do you find inspiration for your quilting? I love the old blocks—mixing them, changing them here and there, or designing my own. I’m a puzzle fiend and math geek so I love the geometry and intricacy of piecing.
What is the one quilting tool you can’t live without? My hands!! Why? I couldn’t imagine not being able to sew. I love hand piecing as well as machine piecing so at a minimum as long as I can cut and sew pieces, hold and thread a needle, I can make quilts. Not to say I don’t love my machines and rotary tools. But without my hands I couldn’t do any of it.
Where is the farthest you’ve traveled that was quilt related? I had the opportunity to live in Germany and teach at a German quilt shop in Bad Soden for several years. I also taught to American and German guilds around the country while I was there. I happened to be teaching in Berlin the week the wall started to come down. My family was with me and my sons got to chop off pieces of the wall and get their pictures taken with the Soviet soldiers on the other side. It was quite amazing to see history in the making.
What has been the best class you have taken? Harriet Hargrave’s machine-quilting class. I took it twice and I flunked it twice. But being a bit stubborn, someday I intend to conquer and master free-motion machine quilting!
What do you like best about teaching? When what I’m teaching ‘clicks’ and you can see it in someone’s face and they’re so excited and proud. There’s nothing better.
What is your best quilting tip? Learn to master making an accurate quilter’s 1/4” seam allowance. In addition to cutting accurately, there is nothing more important for frustration-free piecing. It’s hard to enjoy the process if your pieces don’t fit.
Visit Donna on her blog, Donnalynnthomas.blogspot.com]]>