Lisa Green-Douglass, lecturer in Spanish
I am a quiltmaker. I made my first quilts during my early years
in graduate school. At the time, I knew nothing about what I was
doing. One of those quilts is still in existence, although in tatters.
In the early '90s, I took a one-day workshop through a fabric store
and made my first pieced quilt top. I knew nothing about putting
it into a quilt and the inside bunched up after a few washings.
Finally, I decided to commission the quilters at the Senior Center
in Johnson County to quilt my quilt top. They invited me to join
them, which I did. They were wonderful teachers! Since then, I've
made four bed-size quilts, three baby quilts, and a few quilted
I love fabric-the look of it, its texture, and even the smell of
new fabric. I find the entire process of piecing the quilt top to
be very relaxing and it provides me with a creative outlet. My interest
in quiltmaking goes back to my childhood when I would admire the
fabric prints in the quilts that my grandmother had made. She used
to cut fabric for her quilts while watching television, listening
to music or while waiting for a pie to bake. The individual fabrics
were not always pretty, but the final product was always beautiful.
It fascinated me to see the patterns emerge as the quilt was being
I feel a great deal of satisfaction when I've completed a project
that is not only a practical item, but a thing of beauty.
Greg Cotton, technical services librarian
I'm a spinner, weaver, and knitter. Ibegin with wool fleece as it
comes off the sheep and end up with a sweater, a rug, or a pair
of socks. These crafts are about as far from
administering library computer systems as they could possibly be.
For me, knitting, spinning, and weaving-activities that involve
mindless repetitive motion-put me either into a meditative state,
where I can think the great thoughts that I don't seem to have time
for during daylight hours, or into a place where I am free to concentrate
on some idea or problem. It is extremely relaxing.
I grew up on a farm with various kinds of livestock, but the sheep
were my favorites. As a child I was amazed at how wonderfully clean
and bright a sheep's fleece was underneath the weathered outer surface.
My maternal grandmother taught me to crochet when I was 4 or 5 years
old, and I suppose that piqued my interest in threads early on.
When I was in college (during the back-to-the-earth 1970s) I started
wondering if old crafts would die out and, not knowing any knitters
personally, I decided that I would do my part and preserve one of
them (old crafts, not knitters) and teach myself to knit. When I
started weaving, I learned that looms consume a huge amount of yarn.
I decided then that I would buy a cheap spinning wheel and teach
myself to use it; my father was still raising sheep and the price
of raw material was extremely adequate for my purposes.
My fiber work reminds me of the amazing standard of living we enjoy
in contemporary America. When you've taken wool off the back of
a sheep and by various bits of magic transformed that wool into
a pair of socks, your attitude toward your socks changes! I have
an entirely different relationship with socks I acquire that way
than with socks I pick up at Kmart. The real satisfaction for me
is seeing the process through from start to finish-starting with
a raw fleece, washing, dyeing, and carding it, spinning the yarn,
and then knitting the yarn into something useable. I suppose it
speaks to some sort of need for rootedness.