Norma McKone


"As for me, I have always sewn, knitted, crocheted, painted, or done some kind of creative hand crafts. My grandmother always had a quilt in the frame or several in progress and was usually crocheting an afghan at the same time. Now I wish I had paid more attention to what she was doing. My mother made most of my clothes from the time I was first attending school until graduation. When I graduated from high school they gave me a typewriter and a small Singer sewing machine. I really began to sew when I was at college and had to rely on books and patterns for my teachers. I often wonder why it is that we refuse to take advantage of the good examples we have around us. My handwork kept me busy through marriage and child rearing days. Then after 34 years my marriage failed and I suddenly needed to find something to do to support myself. It was at this time I opened a knit shop. It was a successful venture and after three years I was about to begin making a profit, which I understand is about average, and I remarried and closed the shop. It was about that time I took a Quilted Vest class with my daughter and decided that I really liked it. Then I began to venture into other areas of quilting and was hooked. I often say that quilting is like an addiction, which also includes collecting fabric and gathering many unfinished objects (UFO's) in the sewing room so you never run out of anything to do. That was about ten years ago and I have many projects and much fabric to show for it. I would say that I am a traditional quilter, as I like the old patterns that have a history behind them like Kansas Trouble and Ohio Star and Old Maid's Puzzle and Drunkards Path. Most of the quilts that I have made are combinations of ideas. I made a quilt for my granddaughter and transferred some photographs of her in her dancing costumes to fabric by using a Xerox machine. Then I placed them on fabric which looked like old fashioned wallpaper as if they were pictures on wall. I made another quilt using a cross stitch pattern and making a 1/2 inch square to correspond to the thread colors. It was a Precious Moments pattern, New Life, and was for a new granddaughter. Currently I am working on one which will be for my grandson who has just been given a full appointment to the Coast Guard Academy. It will be a quilt with some of the blocks which depict his interests in space and boating plus the Mariner's Compass and the Coast Guard emblem. "

"The conflict known as 'Desert Storm brought our nation together in diverse ways. One group of women that I am involved with expressed their emotions by putting together a group of quilts as a glorious statement of support for our country's effort. These women are part of a nationwide group who meet on computers to exchange ideas and discuss quilting issues. They are members of the Online Quilters Guild, via a computer network called Genie. Each member chose a patriotic block pattern and theme fabrics. She sent small pieces of her fabrics to every other member. Then each woman made one block of her design using the fabrics she had received from each one and returned the completed block to each woman in the exchange. Each one was then free to sew the block into a quilt of her own design and theme. You can see that each quilt contained the same blocks but used different theme fabrics. The combination of these blocks in different final settings made each quilt and each theme unique. They represent several different views of the conflict. One is dedicated to the women; one to those who lost their lives; one has the Constitution and Declaration of Independence printed on it; and several include photographs, maps, names, and special remembrances. My quilt was dedicated to our great country, 'God Bless America.' I included the words and a brief history of some old war tunes. Also included are names of all the countries that participated and the names of those who lost their lives fighting for freedom in the world. There is a legend of the quilt's organization and a map of the USA pointing to those participated in the quilt project. In addition, many of the women admired and respected the leadership style that General Schwarzkopf displayed and they made a companion quilt for him as a token of their admiration and gratitude. Each one made an additional block of her chosen pattern and fabrics and the swap organizer, Jody McFadden, assembled these blocks into a quilt top for the General. Many of the members of the swap had the opportunity to help with the hand quilting of this gift at various get togethers. The reverse side of the General's quilt contained hand pieced flags of the thirty two coalition countries which were involved in the conflict. The was appropriately titled "A SOLDIER OF CONSCIENCE" and was presented to the General. The General has graciously consented to loan his quilt for showing, but it must be hand carried to and from each show to ensure its safety. It is said that he does use it on his bed."

photographs unavailable until quilts are removed from museum display 8/1/96

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