Diane Minor hated sewing. But in junior high she had to take a sewing class. There was a treadle machine and two electric sewing machines. The students had to master the treadle before they could move on to the electric ones. It did nothing to help her dislike of sewing.
"To this day, I even hate sewing on a button," she says.
Thirty-one years ago, when a neighbor invited her to a quilting class, she was skeptical. She couldn't imagine liking quilting when she didn't like to sew.
"I've been hooked ever since," says this avid quilter.
She thinks it is the challenge in trying new and different techniques that appeals to her creativity.
Her first quilt was the Bear Paw pattern. It took her about a year to complete.
When she first started quilting, she pieced and quilted everything by hand and even though she does do some machine piecing now, she still enjoys quilting by hand the most.
Her home in Albrightsville is filled with samples of her talent, which she is quick to credit as "The Lord's talent."
The living room wall is the perfect backdrop for her dramatic Circle Dance quilt, a kaleidoscope of colors.
"It's one of my husband's favorites," she says. Her husband of 44 years, George, a retired chemical engineer, doesn't like black and white. He loves colors, which is evident in every room.
Another wall hanging, which is an example of her talent and love of different techniques, is Picture Piecing. Her first Picture Piecing class involved a kit of 1,170 pieces of material that when completed made a picture of the Grand Teton Mountains. When it was finished, George asked her to do the same thing with his parents' Finger Lakes cottage, a place where he spent many happy summers and later shared memories with Diane and their three children until it was finally torn down. From a 4-inch by 6-inch color photograph, Diane first had to "map" out the design.
"I'd work on it for awhile, get frustrated and set it aside. Take it out, work on it, get frustrated and set it aside. This went on for a year. Finally I finished mapping it. It consists of 450 individual pieces. It took about another half a year to complete it."
The end result is almost a picture perfect match of the photograph and truly an amazing work of art.
A series of Hawaiian quilting blocks hang above the wide expanse of windows that overlook a woodland vista that goes on for miles.
A lovely Cotton Theory wall hanging graces the Minors' bedroom wall. A Cotton Theory quilt is reversible. It is quilted first, one segment at a time, then assembled.
"It's one of my favorite techniques to do," says Diane.
The Minors love to travel and have been around the world, visiting places like Ireland, Scotland, Israel, Africa, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Hawaii, the Balkan Islands, India, Nepal and much of the United States. She tries to visit as many quilt shops in her travels as she can, often bringing home material that she hopes to incorporate into her quilts.
Every Wednesday Diane attends the Towamensing Trails quilting group from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. She has about 10-12 quilting projects going on at the same time.
"One is for traveling in the car, one is always in the living room, another is in the downstairs TV room (a Storm at Sea quilt she has been working on by hand since 1991, which she just works on during "Movie Night") and there's always ongoing projects in my workroom," she says.
Her workroom, affectionately named the Pepto-Bismol room by her daughter, Cindy, because of the paint color, is a treasure trove of quilt patterns, works in progress, a spacious work table and her Bernina Aurora 440 Quilters Edition sewing machine. An old Singer sits in a place of honor, but just as decoration.
Homey quotes like "Old Quilters never die, they just go to pieces" and "Quilters do it piece by piece" decorate the walls.
Many of her quilts and quilting projects are gifts to their three children, Chris, 41, Cindy, 38 and Dan, 35. She now has twin grandsons, Cooper and Max, 5, to design quilts for. She has made many gifts for special events in their lives and the lives of her family and friends.
Samples of Diane's work can be seen this Sunday at the Polk Township Historical Society quilt show, Stitch in Tyme, at the Polk Township Volunteer Fire Company, from 1-4 p.m. She plans to bring with her the Picture Piecing of her in-laws' cottage, a Sea Scape 9-patch quilt made from batik material, a Playful Pups quilt, Woven Stars table runner and miniature Storm at Sea wall hanging, to name a few.