I had an early interest in crafts and tried my hand at knitting, needlepoint, cross-stitch and, yes I must admit, even macramé. But when I made a baby quilt for my first child in 1982 I discovered my real passion. Finally, an excuse to buy some of that lovely fabric without having to figure out how to wear it! Sewing had always fascinated me, but I am not, nor have I ever been known for my fashion sense. The big plus with making quilts is that they don't need to fit.
My husband and I owned and ran a graphic design/printing business in San Diego for 10 years. Between that enterprise and raising 2 children, I didn't have much time for quilting, but I joined a guild and started taking every class I could squeeze in. It was a small step from graphic design to quilt design, but I honed my skills on the computer without actually using very much of my growing fabric stash.
In 1992, I was part of a friendship group at Hope Methodist Church in Rancho Bernardo that began making prayer quilts. A few years later, after moving to Poway, I organized what is now Prayers & Squares, The Prayer Quilt Ministry. This interfaith non-profit organization as of May, 2019 has over 1200 chapters and is in 11 countries. I began designing and teaching simple, strip-pieced patterns to be used for prayer quilts. My stash was finally being used at a great rate but even more fabric was being donated, mostly in the form of scraps. Figuring out what to do with mountains of scraps was my next challenge, and I continued to design patterns with this goal in mind.
I started doing guild lectures several years ago, choosing the topic "Scrap Management". I usde my collection of antique quilts, plus some of my own creations to illustrate and teach some of what I has learned in the process of making loads of "scrappy" prayer quilts. I love coming up with ideas for improved piecing techniques, and I invented a system of cut-after-you-sew tools called Quilters' TRIMplates®. My specialty is a fast, easy and accurate method for making the traditional "Storm at Sea" pattern without using templates or paper piecing. My book, "A New Light on Storm at Sea Quilts: One Block, An Ocean of Design Possibilities" was released by C&T Publishing in March, 2009, along with my fast2cut TRIMplate tools. Another invention, the fast2mark Easy Triangle tool came out in August, 2012. This little gem is for making half-square and quarter-square triangles with no squaring up. (Update: The TRIMplates and Triangle tools have now been discontinued by C&T Publishing. I am still producing and selling a newer version of the TRIMplates.)
After selling the printing business, I worked for several years as a graphic designer, first for Palomar Community College, then designing quilting books for ASN (American School of Needlework). I was a freelance book illustrator and editor for C&T Publishing until a few years ago. I taught adult ed quilting classes for Palomar College for 8 years. Now I primarily do guild lectures and workshops. I have been teaching for Emply Spools Seminars at Asilomar since 2012, and will be returning at least through 2020. I have been invited to serve as "Artist in Residence" at Empty Spools, Session 2 in 2020.
I truly enjoyed having the opportinity to teach on quilting cruises to the Caribbean, through the Panama Camal, and to Alaska (twice). Now I'm looking forward to a New England/Canada cruise, organized by Stitchin' Heaven, in September/October, 2020.
On the home front, I am still working at whittling down that stash and scrap collection. After over 30 years, I finally realized a goal of making a quilt for our own bed. (30 years!) I enjoy being a part of the music ministry at my church. Dan and I are proud grandparents of 4 boys and we get to babysit at least 2 days a week. It can be loud, crazy and lots of fun. Not as much sewing gets done, but I just love being a grandma!
All images © by the artist, Wendy Mathson, and are not to be copied, reproduced or distributed in any manner.
Last update 5/1/19. Website design by Holly Knott.