an interview with
Wanda S. Hanson....
Over 50 years of Quilt
Wanda's Quilts published in Books
Early Years Sewing for Pleasure and Work
Q. How did you learn to sew?
A. At age 14, my Freshman year of High School in Home Ec. class in 1954. Then I started to make my own clothing at home using our treadle machine (human powered foot pedal). The next year my dad realized I was serious about sewing and got me an electric portable sewing machine. I was in the local 4-H Club and saw in my records that I made 16 garments the next year.
Q. When did you make your first quilt?
A. At age 17, my mother said, "Your cousin is going to have a baby. Could you make a quilt?" I said yes and began researching how and used information from a McCall's Needlework and crafts magazine. I machine quilted from the start because I didn't know about hand quilting. I quilted it in the same pattern as the mattress pad on my bed.
Q. Prior to becoming a professional quilter, you had a variety of foundational sewing experience. What was your first job in sewing?
A. I worked as a Designer's Sample Maker at Kaufman Dress Factory. I made the sample garments for clothing designers.
Q. You got married, had children...how did you keep sewing alive while being a stay at home Mom and bookkeeper for your husband's company?
A. When my oldest was 2-3 years old I began my own business as a seamstress making custom clothing, draperies, as well as alterations for a local menswear store and for individuals... I made wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses, home decor items... The kids respected my work and played quietly beside me.
Q. When did you begin to make sewn products for sale? And what types of things did you make?
A. I had my first booth at a Craft Fair in 1974. I sold my items at The Sandwich Fair as well as Art/Craft/Gift Stores in the region all the way into Chicago. In addition to pillows I made quilted wall hangings and baby quilts.
Q. As the children were becoming independent, did you step back into sewing related work outside of the home?
A. Yes, I taught sewing classes as well as worked at local sewing machine stores and later opened my own Main Street shop called Quilting Treasures where I carried a large supply of quilting fabrics and supplies as well as offering regular classes on quilting. From there I worked at a few other quilt shops and assisted in the fabric buying sessions with the owners. I also taught quilting classes at many local quilt shops for over 30 years.
Q. At what point did you begin as a speaker for Quilt Guilds and other sewing organizations?
A. I was one of only a few people in the area who did trunk shows at that time and in 1987 I spoke for the first time at the Rockford IL Quilt Guild. I continued doing the trunk shows and workshops on a regular basis for 20 years.
Q. You started the Exuberant Color Blog in 2007, what made you decide to start a blog?
A. A good friend who had her own blog suggested it and helped me get started. Since then I've been blogging daily ever since.