Maria Teresa Ramirez




Maria Teresa Ramirez




Maria Teresa Ramirez


Karen Musgrave

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Martha Sielman


Boonville, California


Kim Greene


Note: Both Molly Johnson Martinez and Yolanda Ibarra acted as translators for this interview.

Karen Musgrave (KM): This is Karen Musgrave and I am doing a Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories interview with Maria Ramirez. It is March 6, 2007 and I am in Boonville, California. Maria tell me about the quilt you brought today for the interview.

Maria Ramirez (MR): This quilt is about the tragedy of 9-11, when the twin towers fell. Something, there was no way to avoid it. It felt really sad for so many people that lost their lives and all the people who were. I wish this would never have happened. Because a lot of people are still missing their family members that they still haven't found. That are still there.

KM: Tell me more about it, how you put it together, why you chose the fabrics that you chose?

MR: I chose the different fabric and I had it almost finished and then one day I found this blue color and I thought it may look better. If it was at night, with the ocean and the night sky combined. The dark blue was really sad so I combined the two. My husband helped me do it. He helped me cut the bridge. My kids helped me hold the fabric. It was really hard because it was so big.

KM: It was difficult when you were doing the machine quilting?

MR: Yeah.

KM: That is good that the kids helped you.

MR: I actually sewed with metallic thread all the little squares on the checkered fabric. The two towers represent the Eleventh Day.

KM: Good. I see it.

MR: It helped me feel better. I liked those standing the way they were.

KM: How many quilts have you made?

MR: Six.

KM: Six. When did you start quilting?

MR: About two years.

KM: You were here from the beginning?

MR: Si?.

KM: You were one of the first ones. So you have made six quilts, and you have sold one?

MR: I sold one, a nature scene.

KM: How did selling the quilt make you feel?

MR: Very good.

KM: Very good. You said one?

MR: Yes.

KM: Two quilts, where did the other one sell?

MR: In our first show.

KM: In your first show you sold one. What did it look like?

MR: It was like a natural scene. It had a river, trees.

KM: River and trees.

MR: It was all very green. Flowers a lot of flowers and grass and trees.

KM: The quilts have a very different look. Are you trying new things?

MR: Si?. I try to do that every time. I try to get better.

KM: Very good. Is this your favorite one?

MR: Si?.

KM: What do you do with this quilt?

MR: I am going to sell it.

KM: Do you have any quilts hanging in your home?

MR: No.

Molly: Nobody has them.

KM: Molly has them all. It is the Molly show. [laughs.]

MR: My husband made one. There is one of my husband's.

KM: Your family supports your quilting if he has made one.

MR: Yes my husband made one. He made one with natural things like bears, deer, and fish.

KM: What do you children think of your quilting?

MR: They want to help too. They want to cut and put some of the pieces too, help out.

KM: How old are your children?

MR: One is twelve, another seven, those are boys and my little girl is five, and my baby is three.

KM: She is cute, very cute. How do you feel about the group?

MR: I like it and I like the people and I think we help each other and we are helping each other progress.

KM: What are your future plans?

MR: Do more and teach it to my daughters when they get older. So they can see what we have done.

KM: Have you exhibited your work?

MR: Si?. I liked it because it shows people that they don't have to just sit around, they want to better themselves, they want to get better and better and help out to make a difference in the future.

KM: We are going to trade translators from Molly [Johnson Martinez.] to Yolanda [Ibarra.]. Tell me about some of your other quilts you made.

MR: About the little girl. She was very sad all the time because nobody liked her. She was sitting between all these daisies and I am into that song [Margaritas Amarillas.], so I decided I would like to make the quilt to the song I listened to.

KM: Whose hair is this?

MR: Mine. [laughs.]

KM: You put real hair in there. This isn't you though. Good. When did you make this quilt?

MR: Seven months.

KM: Which number? This is the third one?

MR: The fourth one.

KM: The fourth one.

MR: This is her last one.

KM: This is her most recent one. The Trade Towers was the most recent and this was the third one.

MR: Um, hum.

KM: She does people. [laughs.] [KM is teasing YI because she always comments during interviews that she cannot do people.]

MR: [laughs.]

KM: I am teasing Yolanda. She does them good too.

MR: Let's bring the angel over since we are talking about the angel.

KM: When did you do this one?

MR: About eight months ago.

KM: This hair is yarn.

MR: Ah, ha.

KM: You used metallic thread too. Do you find it difficult to work with metallic thread?

MR: It is but I like to use it.

KM: You like to use it. It is tough. In here too. [pointing to a place in the quilt.] Who is the angel, tell me the story?

MR: I felt depressed and I sat down and just decided to make this one. What kind is this, is this muslin? Is that what you call it? [KM nods ‘yes.'] I sat down and I saw that I couldn't figure out what to do with it and I came up with the face of the angel. It is a little bit dirty because of all the handling. I started designing it, those little hands.

KM: That works.

MR: I just started. It brings it out.

KM: What is this one?

MR: I took it apart.

KM: Why did you take the quilt apart?

MR: I don't remember.

KM: You don't remember this quilt at all?

MR: Something came out wrong down here at the bottom and I took one out and it didn't come out the way I wanted it to, so I took it out.

KM: You don't remember it. [laughs.] Do you have a sewing machine at home?

MR: Si?.

KM: Where do you sew?

MR: In the kitchen.

KM: Universal.

MR: I don't have any other space, enough room for it.

KM: That is why you have a kitchen table. Which one of your quilts is going to be in the book? This one, the one about the song. Is this your favorite quilt? This is her favorite one.

MR: Si?.

KM: Very nice. What do you think about the book?

MR: Okay. I think nothing. If the book doesn't go good, I want people to see what we do, it is up to the people who see it if they really like our stuff. I don't know if they will like it.

KM: I think they will. Especially the quilt community. The quilt community is a very giving community. I think quilters are very curious. Aren't you curious about other people's work?

MR: Si?.

KM: How much time do you spend working on quilts?

MR: Two to four hours.

KM: Wow that is a lot. What do you like about quilting?

MR: I like it to do the whole thing, but my sons and my kids don't give me enough time.

KM: We have all had that problem.

MR: I use the table for dinner and I have to clean it up. [laughs.]

KM: Your family supports her quiltmaking.

MR: Si?.

KM: Is there any part of quiltmaking that you don't like?

MR: No.

KM: You like it all. Do you like to machine quilt?

MR: Si?. I have a difficult time with it sometimes.

YI: I asked if she does anything by hand.

KM: Does she do anything by hand?

MR: These little things. Little stuff. I am making this quilt with that little Japanese girl on it and I am doing it all by hand.

KM: Why did she choice to do a Japanese girl?

MR: Because I have this material and I liked it and that is what I came up with.

KM: The fabric spoke to you.

MR: [laughs.] I had red and black I liked so I decided to make a Japanese girl.

KM: Are you interested in the Japanese culture?

MR: I don't know. I just came up with the idea.

KM: Just curious. I like learning about other cultures. I like that, so if you are interested in Japan I can understand. What other quilts do you have in mind to make?

MR: A lot. I wants to do one of the border.

KM: A border quilt, crossing the border quilt?

MR: Si?. Because they are mad when people are crossing over. [laughs.]

KM: I can understand that.

MR: That is what I want to do.

KM: What size do you like working in? This quilt is pretty big and this one is a little smaller and this one is in-between.

MR: This one here the most. It is hard to machine quilt.

KM: Machine quilting would make it difficult.

MR: I don't have enough room too.

KM: To hang it?

MR: Or to sew on it.

KM: Yes I can understand that.

MR: More the smaller ones than the bigger ones. I guess it depends on what is on it too.

KM: I think the theme would have to make a difference also. Do you like writing the stories for the quilts?

MR: No. [laughs.]

KM: Do you come up with a story first or after?

MR: Afterwards. I have difficulty. I don't really like to do them. [laughs.]

KM: You don't like to write the story, but the story is important.

MR: Write how I came to do that quilt and what is in it.

KM: What about the movie that Lee [Serrie.] is making? Have you been involved?

YI: She hasn't been to class.

KM: You haven't been to class?

MR: I do this at my house.

KM: You don't come to class on Wednesdays?

MR: No I haven't for a while. Not too much.

KM: Sorry to hear that. Do you miss it?

MR: I have a baby sick or I have some work to do at my house. I don't have time to come.

KM: Do you bring quilts?

MR: Si?.

KM: You finish the quilts at home? That is good.

MR: I do them at home and bring them in.

KM: Do you plan to continue to make quilts?

MR: Yes.

KM: Good. Why is quilting important in your life?

MR: It's for me. I want to learn more. When I die I had something, I didn't try to do this, I did it. You only live once so you might as well learn.

KM: Did you sew before you took up quiltmaking?

MR: No.

KM: This is your introduction to sewing.

MR: Never thought about it.

KM: You never thought about making quilts?

MR: No. [laughs.]

KM: How did you end up being part of the group?

MR: English class. A lady comes in and shows us how to do quilts. I just thought it was little pieces, not, blocks. I never imaged that it would be like this. Put your mind to work. I can do some interesting stuff because everybody puts their mind into it, everybody in class. Everybody is very interesting.

KM: Thank you very much. Thank you for sharing your quilt with us. I need to take your picture now, so I'm going to end our interview at 2:20.


“Maria Teresa Ramirez,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed June 23, 2024,