SVMQG Member Spotlight | Dianne Gates-Anderson

My Quilt Story in Photos

Author: Dianne Gates-Anderson, 2021 Guild Senior Vice President & Co-VP of Programs

Hi, I’m Dianne Gates-Anderson and I am the Executive Vice-President (or whatever the title is) and Co-VP of Programs for the Silicon Valley Modern Quilt Guild. 

When I am not quilting (and there’s not a pandemic) my other interests include travel, writing, and being a wanna-be foodie.  When I was asked to write this blog post, I thought the easiest and quickest way to write this blog would be to dig into my tub of precious (think old) quilts in my garage and put together a photo essay of my quilt story.  So, here is my quilt story and a few of my more recent quilts that I am most pleased with. Enjoy!

My quilt story actually begins with my grandmothers.  Both of my grandmothers were quilters and had sewing machines tucked away in the corner of their bedrooms.  They hand and machine pieced their quilt tops and hand quilted their quilts. Most evenings my Grandmothers were either quilting or crocheting. This is an unfinished quilt top made by my grandmother.  

This quilt was made by my mother and grandmother and given to me when I went away to college at age 18.  It may not be fancy by today’s standards but I look at this weathered quilt and see the hand stitching and know that these stitches were made for me and filled with love.

This is actually the first quilt top I ever made.  The year was 1982 and I was a newly graduated, newly married, young mother.  I made this quilt as a wedding gift to myself. It is 110 x 90 inches and was made to fit my king-size waterbed (remember those?).  The marriage didn’t last, but I kept the quilt and I have dragged it with me everywhere I’ve moved to through the years. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I made this. I saw a picture of the quilt on the cover of a magazine that I couldn’t afford to buy.  I made a pattern out of brown bags (no strip piecing here) and used ⅝ inch seam allowances.  I sandwiched the top with that awful super puff synthetic batting of the 80s and a king-size sheet and then gave up because I had no idea how to quilt it.

In 2015, after a 33 year hiatus I began quilting in earnest.  These two quilts are the first two quilts I made.  I made these quilts for my mother who has alzheimers.  I was motivated to make them when I did because I wanted my mother to be able to know that I made her a quilt.  The first quilt I made, a “Trip Around the World” quilt, was called Zoofari because of all of the faux animal print fabric in it.  I had enough leftover fabric to make the second completely improv quilt which I called Gee-Whiz, in a nod to the quilters of Gees Bend.  If you look too closely you’ll see that the quilts are a hot mess, because, once again, I taught myself (with the help of the internet) everything I used to make these quilts.  I didn’t know anything about borders so I attempted to put a “wide” binding on Zoofari and couldn’t figure out why my mitered 2 inch corners failed (they actually curl up).

I made this quilted wall hanging in response to a guild challenge to make a mini quilt that explores scale..

I made this quilt following the murder of George Floyd.  I was juried into the We Are the Story: Gone but Never Forgotten: Remembering Those Lost to Police Brutality and Racism exhibition and it is now traveling with the exhibit.

This wall hanging is my latest finish and I am quite pleased with it. It is the class project from the Mid-Century Modern Curves class given by Carole Lyles Shaw.  After completing this quilt I realized that I can comfortably quilt a wall hanging sized quilt. I still tend to find larger quilts more challenging and tend to rely on straight line walking foot for anything larger than this piece.

Thanks Dianne for sharing your quilty story with us!

Check back each month for more Member Spotlight blogs where we’ll feature one or more of our guild members who will introduce and tell us a little bit more about themselves and their quilting journey.

If you’re interested in being featured on our Member Spotlight, fill out the form on our Member Resources page and we’ll reach out with more info.

One thought on “SVMQG Member Spotlight | Dianne Gates-Anderson

  1. It was so fun to read about your quilt journey, Dianne! When I first joined the guild (shortly after you did), your quilts inspired me and I thought that you must have been quilting for a bazillion years in order to be so artistic and skilled. Little did I know that it was a fairly new thing for you. Congratulations on getting juried into the traveling exhibition with your George Floyd quilt!

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