Quilting ﾖ it's like Life
ﾓEverything goes together if you get the right mix.ﾔ
Words of wisdom about quilting and life, from almost-nonagenarian Norma Mikesell, Hillsboro's quilter extraordinaire. She didn't plan to become the area's most noted quilter. ﾓIt's just what I do.ﾔ she states.
Born at Beaver Creek to Clabe and Mary Alderman Kellison, Norma and her eight siblings grew up working the family farm. ﾓMy mother sewed. I learned to sew when I was six. We all sewed on a treadle machine,ﾔ Norma recalls. Her sewing was utilitarian then, primarily mending clothes.
Then came graduation from Hillsboro School, nursing training, a stint in the Navy during WWII, marriage, and a busy work schedule and active outdoor lifestyle in California and Arizona. Along the way she earned her pilotﾒs license, developed her writing skills and learned T'ai Chi. There was little time for utilitarian, much less creative, sewing.
Fast forward to 1993. Norma, retired and living in Hillsboro again, bought tickets for a quilt made by Charlene Beverage and others for a drawing to benefit the Hillsboro Library. ﾓI won,ﾔ Norma reminisces. ﾓI got it home, put it on the bed and kept looking at it thinking 'I could do that.'ﾔ The following summer she and friend Edith Workman found a large box of fabric squares while perusing items at a yard sale. ﾓEdith was a quilter,ﾔ Norma explains. ﾓShe told me I should buy the fabric, so I did. I paid $3 for the whole box.ﾔ
The first quilt Norma made was a simple nine-patch made from those fabric squares. ﾓI didn't even know that was the name of the pattern,ﾔ Norma chuckles. Since then she has created hundreds of quilts using many patterns, styles and colors.
ﾓI like to make oddball quilts,ﾔ she admits. ﾓI love to put colors together that you wouldn't ordinarily put together. I really love to make 'scrappy' quilts,ﾔ she continues. ﾓI have fun sorting through all my scraps of fabric and seeing what I can make with them.ﾔ
What Norma makes, she shares with others. She loans her quilts for display at the Hillsboro Library and the Senior Center in Marlinton, usually changing them with the seasons. Her quilts have decorated the Hillsboro School gym during the Little Levels Heritage Days and the Opera House in Marlinton during the Fall Festival. She is an active member of the Cranberry Piecemakers Quilt Guild, helping make quilts to give to families in need. She donates her quilts to civic organizations, churches and charities.
ﾓI call it my Quilt Ministry.ﾔ she reveals. ﾓAs a nurse, I've waited on other people my whole life. There's lots I can't do now, but I can still make quilts. I think a quilt is very personal. Everyone seems to enjoy getting them.ﾔ
ﾓQuilting is like life,ﾔ Norma muses. ﾓYou have to make choices and live with the results.ﾔ