Sarah Ray Voelker is a retired teacher who now has plenty of time to devote to her quilting hobby. She fell in love with quilts before she knew how to make them.
“When I was a little girl I fell in love with a quilt my great-grandmother made as a wedding gift to my mother,” Voelker said. “She had used pieces of fabrics from dresses she and my grandmother had made for Momma over the years so it was very colorful and perfectly made. I guess that started my life-long love of quilts.”
When she got older, Voelker began looking for quilts in magazines and at flea markets and decided they were too expensive for someone trying to raise a family. So, she taught herself the craft and has now made about 150 quilts.
“I had taken basic sewing in high school so I decided to try to make a quilt myself since it would be so much cheaper that buying one. My mother gave me her sewing machine, which she never used because she hated sewing, and I was on my way. I am completely self-taught.
However, I started reading every quilting magazine published. I still do. I also watched quilting programs on TV and I learned a lot that way.”
While Voelker gives away most of her quilts as gifts, she has a scrapbook of every quilt she has made since she began in 1988. And just as a writer collects books, a quilter collects fabric.
“I have a large closet and a sewing room full. I could probably make 50 quilts without ever buying another yard of fabric, but I usually try to make the gifts in colors the recipient wants so I have a good reason to collect more. Besides, as quilters are fond of saying, ‘She who dies with the most fabric wins’.”