Valley Journal
Valley Journal

Local women featured at quilt show

RONAN — Patsy Anderson and Jessie Merwin were the featured quilters at the Mission Mountain Quilt Guild Quilt Show on Aug. 2-4 in the K. William Harvey Elementary School gym. 

Anderson and Merwin brought in about 40 quilts they’ve made over their quilting years.

Patsy Anderson

A native of the Mission Valley, Pat and her husband Larry have been married for 54 years and have four children, one deceased.

Quilting got its hooks into Pat when she and her daughter took a class from Betty Martin at Thimble Magic in 1985, although she had never sewn before. During the class, Pat made a log cabin quilt and was bound and determined to use the serger she had gotten as a Christmas gift. 

“Betty kept saying a 16th of an inch makes a difference in a quilt,” Pat said, laughing, but she didn’t listen. 

That was her first quilt, and she remodeled it into a twin size. 

Pat likes the camaraderie of quilting and, of course, the fabric. She loves vibrant colors and burgundies and greens. 

“I like scrappy quilts,” she said.

Her favorite part of quilting is choosing the fabric and “the trip to the quilt shop.”

“A lot of people shop in Pat’s store,” she said, joking about the amount of fabric she’s collected over the years.

She sews on a Bernina and Janome and likes both machines. Her favorite gadgets are a seam ripper, “which I use a lot,” and a magnifying glass. Pat said she used to just do one project at a time, but now she starts projects when she gets inspired. 

One of her goals is to finish a double wedding ring quilt she started several years ago. 

Pat’s advice to new quilters is to quilt with good friends and “buy a seam ripper.”

Jessie Merwin

Jessie learned to sew growing up on a ranch in Jordan, and she made her own clothes. She married her high school sweetheart, Ron Merwin, in 1960. They’ve lived all over the United States and have three sons.  

The quilting bug didn’t bite her until 1987 when the Merwins were living in Long Island, N.Y. She joined a large quilt guild called the Smith Town Stitchers, with more than 250 members. Members brought blocks they’d made, Jessie said. A lady with a square rule met them at the door and measured their blocks. If they weren’t square, the blocks were not allowed.

What drew Jessie to quilting is the way colors play together and the sense of accomplishment she gets from completing a project. 

“Most of my quilts are done for a reason,” she said, smiling.

She sews on two Bernina machines and just sold her grandmother’s old treadle machine. Jessie always has lots of projects going. She makes blue star flags for mothers who have children in the military, aprons for newcomers at church, quilts and wall hangings. One project she wants to finish is a ’57 Chevy quilt she began years ago. 

Jessie has a sewing room separate from the house. She said her husband wouldn’t attach a bathroom because he said he would never see her.

“I’m partial to warm colors — browns, oranges, yellows,” she said. “I love to applique.”

Her favorite gadget is “my rotary cutter,” which she uses all the time. 

Missing involvement in a guild, Jessie started the MMQG. She asked Peggy Olson how would be the best way to go about beginning a guild. Olson said, “Put an ad in the paper and have a meeting.” 

So Jessie, along with Pat Anderson and Olson started the guild in 1986, meeting in the high school home economics room.

“Our goals are to teach, learn and care in our community,” she said.

Jessie’s advice to new quilters is start with a small project; don’t be afraid of fabric and color; don’t be afraid to ask questions; and buy a seam ripper with a light on it.  

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