I have finished designing Number 6 and final Lighthouses of Southeast Alaska. The prototype has been made and I am getting ready to send it to the printers. I hope to have it available in the web store within the next few weeks. I am pretty excited about it. To get a sneak peak, check out the photo on my FB page, gaylewindquilts.
My grandmother taught me to sew when I was about ten years old. Much to my frustration, she insisted that I learn to sew by hand before I could start using a sewing machine. She had me make two entire outfits completely by hand, and only then would she let me touch her sewing machine. I also learned how to do embroidery and crewel work from her as well.
I met my husband, Jim, in 1972 while I was in college. We married in 1973, and our dream was always to move to Alaska. We paid off our student loans first, and then kept moving farther and farther north. First to Eastern Washington, then Western Washington, and finally, we made it to Alaska in 1977.
My husband’s step-grandmother was the first one to show me how to piece a quilt. That quilt, which she made from fabric reclaimed from her dresses is still in my daughter’s childhood room. The first quilt that I made by myself was made in Petersburg, where we moved in 1979. Jim and I bought the Daybreak, a 36ft fishing boat in 1978 and we rebuilt it in the summer of 1979. We started commercial fishing in 1981, which took us all over beautiful Southeast Alaska. We fished on the Daybreak until we sold her around 1986 or 87. We bought our current boat, the 59.5 ft Charles T, in 1989 and have continued fishing the waters of Alaska ever since.
I truly started quilting in 1980, and at this time, I really didn’t know anything about it. I started out tying knots that were spaced evenly around the quilt’s surface to bind the layers together. Since my husband and I were living on the Daybreak at this time, I didn’t even have enough room to lay out the entire quilt to tie it. I had to go to a friend’s house to “borrow” his living room floor in order to lay out the quilt to knot it together. This continued for a while, but after making a couple of quilts, I felt that I needed to expand my knowledge. So, I headed to our local library to research quilting, and succeeded in making my first true quilt in 1998. It took me awhile, since it was king sized and cut, pieced, and stitched completely by hand. I had a sewing machine to use for mending and making clothes, but after that quilt I was hooked for life.
However, it wasn’t until 2002 that I started using a rotary cutter and mat. Prior to this time, I was using scissors to cut every piece. As you can imagine, this was both imprecise and very frustrating. During this time, I did technologically advance far enough to start using a sewing machine for many of my quilt projects and not just making and mending clothes. I still preferred to sew by hand and was still making special quilts for family members this way. However, gifts that need to be done by a certain date, such as for weddings and babies, etc, were done on a machine.
This last summer of 2011, I entered a quilt in the Deltana Fair in Delta Junction, Alaska. This was the first time that I had ever entered a quilt in anything, and much to my surprise I won both First Place and the People’s Choice Award. At the same fair, I also entered the first two patterns of my Lighthouses of Southeast Alaska series and won 3rd place.
I am now in the completing process of the designing of the Lighthouses of Southeast Alaska series. the pattern and kit for Cape Decision Lighthouse is available in the Web Store. This winter, I hope to have Cape Spencer Lighthouse available in the Web Store. At this time, I am making table runners and small wall hangings, which will be available in the Web Store, in time for the Holidays, as presents to give or keep for yourself. I have many more ideas of quilt patterns that will eventually make it up onto this site…..but so many quilts, so little time.