Pat Kumicich




Pat Kumicich




Pat Kumicich


Suzanne Sanger

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Dorry Emmer


Naples, Florida


Suzanne Sanger


Suzanne Sanger (SS): This is Suzanne Sanger. Today's date is June 18, 2003. It is 1:25 p.m. and I'm conducting an interview with Pat Kumicich for the Quilters' Save Our Stories project and the Naples Quilters Guild at her home in Naples, Florida. Pat, were you living in Naples when you learned to quilt?

Pat Kumicich (PK): Yes. I had been doing a lot of needlepoint up until that point. I had never done any quilting, although I had sewed, and my daughter mentioned that she was going to make a quilt. I'm not certain how she happened to get involved in it, but she did, and I thought, 'Oh, I could do that.' You know, I've needlepointed everything that I could possibly needlepoint--all these chairs, all these pillows, all this stuff, and I was getting a little tired of it, so I thought, I'm going to try that, and I bought a book, Quilt in a Day. That was my first quilt. I had to buy a rotary cutter, and I had no idea what any of that stuff was, but I got it, and then I bought another book later on. It was an English book about appliqué, and then I designed an appliqué quilt. A wall hanging. And it was all out of upholstery fabric. I didn't know anything about a quilting stitch. I had no idea what that meant. I saw pictures but I didn't know, and then I made a log cabin quilt, and it was three-quarter inch strips cut and a quarter inch finished, and they were three-inch squares. It was a reproduction of an old quilt that I had seen, and I went through about three ironing board covers. It was terrible. [laughs.] And the quilt turned out pretty good. In fact, I still have it; I'm still working on it. I had finished it I had tied it. Up until then I think most of the quilts, I had made for the first couple of years--I started in 1994—were all hand tied because I was giving them as gifts to the kids for Christmas one year and they were all queen-sized quilts and one was a king, so I couldn't hand quilt them. And I did all that, and then a couple of years ago I took that log cabin apart and re-sandwiched it because it had real thick batting. So, I started quilting it but I'm using perle cotton and it's just slow. It weighs a ton. It's so heavy. It looks very pretty on the bed when it's in use. That's the one thing my husband says, you do all these quilts, but you don't have a quilt on the bed. [laughter.] That's one thing he wants me to do for that Tuesday bee now is to work on that quilt. [laughter.] We'll see.

SS: Let's talk about the quilt you selected for today. I know you made that. Tell me about it.

PK: It just sort of evolved. I had taken that class, and you had too with--who was it who taught that reverse appliqué?

SS: Machine? David Walker?

PK: No, hand. You did your mom's and your grandmother's quilt with the reverse appliqué, remember?

SS: [both talking together.] Oh, that was Charlotte Warr Andersen.

PK: Yes. We took that and I couldn't understand it. I learn better at home on my own. I have a hard time in classes because I just feel so stupid when I'm there. So I thought, I'm going to try doing that, working on those lips and the eyes, and I had a book on fashion and I used that as reference. And I made the first, the block in the center on the bottom with the polka dot hat is the first block I did, and it was just for practice. Well, it turned out pretty good actually, I thought. I was pleased with it. I just kept going. I like to embellish and I was beading all this as I was going along, and I had done some ribbon work, so I was just using all that kind of thing on each block, and I wanted each one to look different and I was trying to find fabric that would look like hair, and I used the French ribbon that's wired. I took the wire out to make the ruched roses, and then I used the wire as some of the jewelry on a couple of the blocks, and I wrapped it around pencils with beads, and just was trying everything. I used burlap. I got the gloves at St. Vincent DePaul. In fact, I didn't know about the border. I did nine heads, and I thought, okay, that's good. And I thought well, I can do a sashing, and then I thought I probably should do a border, and I really didn't know what I was going to do with that, so I drew it all out on freezer paper, cut it out, and then I thought, well I'll do a different block in each corner. By that time I had already decided what I would call it, "It's A Girl Thing", and it seemed old fashioned with the gloves; I thought the gloves would be a good idea, so I scoured around for gloves that were not mittens or driving gloves and I found them at the thrift shop, cut them in half because they were too thick, had to use a denim needle to get them on, but then at that point, and I had gotten the polka dot fabric at Queen Anne's Lace several years ago with my granddaughter when we were up in Orlando, and she picked it out. I had always wanted a polka dot. I bought quite a bit of it but I never knew what I would do with it, so this seemed like the perfect thing to use it on. Then I used clip art of the compact, the atomizer, and the little bag, that was more of the reverse appliqué, and then I wanted something different in the corner on the right side so that's--I saw an ad for some stockings, and that got me thinking about the legs so that's why I put the legs on there. Each corner was a little girly thing, but different. I'm not into symmetry. I like things different and that seems to work. I was happy with it when it was done.

SS: I'm not surprised you were happy. It's just a wonderful quilt--especially when you can see it live. Does this quilt have any particular special meaning for you, Pat?

PK: Well, I think the fact that it was one of the larger ones that I had designed myself and the fact that I had done so much appliqué on it, which I never thought I could do needle turn appliqué, so I was just doing so much of it, plus I used Charlotte's idea of each piece was separate unto itself. I did the whole face and the hat and everything before I appliquéd it to the background. I really like that, and when I do hand appliqué anymore, to the extent possible I do it that way. I think it's much easier. It seems like the placement is easier. I like that. So it was just really an experiment, and, yes, so it's special to me in that it's very gratifying that so many people like that quilt. It's done pretty well in shows, but the one comment that's always made is that the quilting does not live up to the skill of the appliqué--which I know is true. I mean I really have to work on my machine quilting, but to me, that was one of the biggest quilts that I had actually machine quilted, too. Up until that time I had always hand quilted them, so it was a combination of a lot of things. That is special, that it combines all those things for the first time for me.

SS: It was a good learning experience for you, and a great experimental piece it sounds like. Was it one of the first quilts that you designed yourself, or have you always done that?

PK: I haven't always, but pretty much from the beginning I started doing that myself. I've done a few from magazines, not magazines so much but books, but as I said, I'm not good with symmetry and placement was always a problem for me. I didn't want to have to work that hard. And I wanted to do my own thing. It was just sort of fun. It's more like play if I can just put things here and there, so yes, pretty much I just like to design my own.

SS: Why did you choose this particular quilt? You have so many wonderful ones. How did you happen to choose this one for the interview?

PK: Well, my husband, it's probably his favorite, and I like it, but I discussed it with the women in my book club last night and they've seen all my quilts, and that was the one that the majority of them felt that I should show. It was a tossup between that one and the Op-Art Circles quilt, and I also thought about the Family quilt because the subject matter is special. But anyway, I thought I'd just go with the majority, and that quilt was already hanging up. [laughter.] So that's why.

SS: So you do keep this quilt hanging all the time. You use it as a decorative feature in your home.

PK: I do, although it goes out to shows quite a bit. It's going to be packed up in July going to another one.

SS: Oh, what show is it going to in July?

PK: The Pennsylvania Extravaganza or whatever it is, that and the Fantasy from this last year's show are both going up there.

SS: What other shows has this quilt been in?

PK: Oh, it's gone to Paducah last year and then it went to Indianapolis. I don't know if it was this year. It took a third in Indianapolis in their Heritage quilting show. I can't remember if it's gone to any other shows around here or not.

SS: Other than our show, is this the first quilt that you started entering in national shows?

PK: No. The first one was the "Hyperbolic Paraboloid" that's hanging in the den. That went to Houston. That was my first big show. And then that was in the fall and then in the spring this one went to Paducah.

SS: And now you enter quilts in national shows quite often.

PK: Actually, this was in Houston last year, too. I forgot. [both talk at once. inaudible.] Yes, it went to Houston with the "Op Art Circles."

SS: Tell me about what motivates you to send your quilts to national shows.

PK: Oh, just trying to get in. I'm always shocked.

SS: [laughs.] It's an incredible honor to be juried in to a national show.

PK: Yes, it really is. I'm always thrilled about that because I'm always hopeful, but I never really count on it. It's nice though. The first one I ever entered was that "Marketplace" quilt with the women. It was very primitive and I had the little Indian dolls surrounding it. Maybe you weren't even here then. It took Judge's Choice the year that it was here in Naples.

SS: Oh, that was yours? Oh, I always thought that was Jean's.

PK: No, that was me.

SS: That was my first year in the guild when I didn't know anybody, which is why I don't remember that it was yours. I remember that quilt. It was wonderful.

PK: So the woman who was doing the appraisals that day, she told me, 'Oh, you've got to send this to Paducah or Houston. They love this kind of stuff. That's what you should do.' So, I thought, "well, okay, I mean she's supposed to know what she's talking about.' So I did submit it Houston, I think it was Houston. It was one of those two. And I was rejected on it. But then I thought, 'okay, well, it doesn't hurt. If I don't tell anyone I'm entering, no one will know if I don't get in.' [laughter.] I thought, 'I'm going to try this again.' So the next year I submitted the "Hyperbolic Paraboloid", and they took it. You can always tell by the thickness of the envelope whether or not you're in before you even open it because it's thicker than just the single page that says no. [laugher.]

SS: It must be exciting when that envelope comes.

PK: Yes, it's cool.

SS: What do you get out of it when you enter these shows? I mean, you know, does it do some, what do you feel is the benefit to you?

PK: Well, I guess because I never thought of myself as being particularly creative. I mean, I think I have a flair for some of this stuff, but I never thought of being extremely talented with my stitching or anything like that. There's a lot I have to learn, but I enjoy it. I never thought I could get into the big shows, so that's been gratifying. And now that I'm in or have gotten in a few times, it's just a challenge just to see if I can continue to be juried into the big shows. And I belong to both of those societies, so it doesn't cost a whole lot of money, although some of these shows, it can get to be kind of expensive by the time you pay the entry, pay the shipping up, pay the shipping back. You know, you have to start thinking about is it worth it? So I've gotten more selective in the venues that I've submitted quilts to. It's nice to get the affirmation from people who know what they're doing.

SS: I think it's wonderful. I think it's wonderful that you do it, and you're downplaying your workmanship, but everyone I know is in awe of your workmanship. It's always just perfect. So the fact that you're being accepted in these shows doesn't surprise me at all. Do you have any further plans for this particular quilt, other than Pennsylvania?

PK: No, probably not.

SS: Is there kind of a cut off, that they can only be so old?

PK: Well, there might be, but some of the big shows like the AQS and the IQA, you cannot submit the same quilt more than once, in any of their shows. If you went to Paducah, you couldn't put the same quilt into Nashville.

SS: Oh, I see.

PK: So there is just a limit to how many places, how many chances do I want to take with mailing it and being put up on a pole and down on a pole. It's had enough, and I'm afraid they'll take a beating.

SS: And you probably miss it when it's gone.

PK: Well, I hang something else up there. [laughter.] That's the thing. I don't know where to hang all of these quilts. What do you do with all these things, you know?

SS: Now I know I've been in a number of classes with you and you were saying when you started quilting you basically learned from books. What classes, what was your first class that you took in quilting?

PK: The first one was with, it was an appliqué class, and she does everything by hand, her quilting and all, and she's a real tiny little thing. She's won all kinds of prizes. Suzanne Marshall. I had never done any appliqué before. So she came in. Were you in the guild when she did that?

SS: No.

PK: She was showing, kind of like your Hawaiian thing. It was a bug, and it was a whole design. You designed your own bug but it was kind of almost a wreathy kind of a pattern or something like that. Anyway, the basic thing was designing a bug and then you could be as detailed as you wanted to be, but you had to remember that you had to stitch it up once it was done. [SS laughs.] And I just had a heck of a time with that. Boy, I just did not like that at all, and I was working on a quilt at the time. It was half square triangles. I had just pieced it. It was supposed to be a miniature, and I had miscalculated, and so now it was this huge thing. I don't know what I was thinking, but I knew by the time I had cut it out that it was way bigger than a miniature, so I just kept going. And I thought, well that's okay. It was a big pinwheel. I've got it in the bedroom. So thought, I'm going to make a ladybug and I'm going to put it right in the middle of that half square triangle thing. So I did, and I did some embroidery on it, and it turned out pretty good, so then I designed a border, and I appliquéd leaves on it because at the time, my mother and dad, I had them both, I had to go back to Chicago as an emergency and I had to admit them both to the hospital. They were in the same room and I was sitting there for ten days, and I just sat there and I was sewing these leaves on. My mother just really liked watching me stitch away. When I finished that quilt, I took a picture of it and I sent it to Suzanne [Marshall.], and she wrote me back and she said, 'I know an editor that I'd like to submit this quilt to if you don't mind, send the picture to.' And I said, 'Well okay.' So she did, and it turned to be that Fons and Porter Love of Sewing thing. So they contacted me, and it was in their magazine.

SS: No kidding. I didn't know that. How exciting for you.

PK: So they put it in there, and then they sold a kit, which I didn't know they were going to do, but they did sell a kit and I guess they sold out of it.

SS: A kit based on your quilt?

PK: Yes. I never signed any papers. I never knew how all that happened. I was so surprised, but they did. [laughs.]

SS: I'm not even going to pursue that one.

PK: [laughing.] Anyway, they sold out of it. What's her name? Marianne Porter was here at the guild this last year. I stopped and talked to her, and she remembered the quilt. You know, I thought that was pretty good seeing as she has so many quilts in her magazine. So that was my first taste of fame. It was inadvertent, but it kind of cool that Suzanne thought it was good enough. So that was my first class.

SS: That was a very beneficial class. I was going to ask how you think classes have benefited you.

PK: I like technique classes more than project classes. I never go to a class ever having the right stuff. I'm always all thumbs. I don't even feel like I can even thread my sewing machine when I'm at a class. I don't like all that clutter. It's just messes me up. So I just go to learn whatever technique it is and then I come home and I'll do it my way if I have to adapt it to my own skills or practice it until I can kind of do whatever they were doing, and then incorporate it in whatever I'm working on. Usually I try to make quilts with different techniques or do something different each time. Mainly it's the challenge to see if I can actually do it. And I just keep plugging away, and I don't mind tearing things out. That doesn't bother me too much. I'm not a UFO person either. I always start and finish. I don't have anything that's not done. [laughs.] It's just not my nature.

SS: I don't have too many UFOs either but I know an awful lot of people who have tons of them.

PK: Yes, I can't get into that. I really don't let myself. I think about the next quilt all the time while I'm working on what I'm working on. I have to stop myself from thinking and get back in focus. But usually, it's kind of my reward, just like my housework is. When I get the housework done I can go sew. I get it done in the morning so I can go in my sewing room.

SS: How many hours a week do you quilt?

PK: I'm probably in there seven or eight hours a day. Virtually every day.

SS: What's your first quilt memory, Pat?

PK: I think the first quilt I ever actually saw I think my aunt had given it to me. It was from their family. It was a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt. It was hand done. She gave it to me, I guess maybe because she knew I sewed, because I sewed the kid's clothes and did home dec sewing. I never made any quilts, never even thought about doing such a thing.

SS: So you were a wife and a mother by that time.

PK: Yes. My kids were in grammar school. And I thought that was nice, but you know, it was an old quilt. Big deal. But I kept it, and it wasn't until we had moved that I stumbled across that old quilt, and I thought, 'Oh wait a minute. This is old.' And I had forgotten about it, and I could really appreciate all the work that went into it now that I had done some. I think that if you've never stitched anything like that you have no idea of the time and effort that goes into that stuff. So I really did appreciate it then and I wish I had taken better care of it. I'm going to someday try to mend it. There are some of the little patches that have frayed because I did wash it, that could be fixed, but that's the first time I actually ever thought about a quilt as such.

SS: Now you say you thought your aunt had made it, so was she the only quilter in your family or were there others?

PK: Well, I talked to her a few years ago about it, and she doesn't even remember that quilt at all. Maybe it wasn't even her, but I thought it was at a family party that she brought it out [tape is stopped for a few seconds.] so I guess I don't really know who made that quilt. It may have been her mother. I know my mom, when I first started quilting, mentioned that she was going to finish something that her mother had started, and she did finish it. I think all she really did was quilt it, but she didn't know how to quilt either, and I wasn't living close by or even knew enough about it to tell her, but I remember her talking to me and she was real upset because her sister wanted to see the back of the quilt. 'Why would she want to see the back of the quilt? Why do people do that? Why? I think it's about the stitch or something.' She was real offended by that. I came across the quilt and I can see why she was concerned. There's lots of big knots [laughter.] and stuff back there. But she managed and she finished it, so I thought that was pretty cool that she did that.

SS: Yes, I think it's really cool that someone who doesn't really quilt starts to.

PK: Yes, so I guess maybe I inherited that from her, that you jump in with both feet and just do it whether you knew it or not. You'll learn something.

SS: Were you aware of other quilters in your family? Did you ever see other people in the family working?

PK: No. Never. My daughter was the first one that I know of.

SS: How does quilting impact your family?

PK: Well, my husband, he's very supportive. That is really nice. He always says he wishes he had a passion for something the way I do for that. The kids are impressed, and that's pretty nice.

SS: Yes, it's always nice when you can impress your kids!

PK: They're happy for me that I like it so much. They were all out of the house and gone when I started quilting. It's really like my job now.

SS: If you're working eight hours a day, it is.

PK: But I really like it, and I have to force myself to get out. That's why that quilt bee will be good for me, because I would not do that on my own. I need to just get out.

SS: I'm a lot like that, to tell you the truth. Have you ever used quilting to get through a difficult time?

PK: Working on the quilt in the hospital, I think helped pass the time. I haven't ever made a quilt that was pain based or that helped me work through a problem or an illness or anything like that. Although my dad just died in February and I collected a bunch of stuff from the house. He was a member of the Moose, and the VFW, and Boy Scouts, and he was in the service, and I downloaded his obituary from the newspaper and printed it up on fabric, and I'm going to make a quilt based on all this stuff and use that obit as the background somehow. I thought that would be kind of cool, and it would be an experiment of sorts and yet it would be something in his memory.

SS: A nice memory of your father. What do you like best about quilting?

PK: Oh, the chance that it really gives me to create. You know, it's like play. I really like just fiddling around to see will this work here, will that work there. I like all the fabric, and I've dyed some fabrics; I like that, although I don't know that I would do a whole lot of that because it's so hard on the back standing over that sink and rinsing that stuff out, but it's really like play. I go in there and I turn my music on, and I just am lost, and it's just great. I have to set the timer in the afternoon so I'll come in and think about making dinner.

SS: [chuckles.] My husband comes to the bottom of the stairs. 'Food!' What do you not like about quilting?

PK: I don't like preparing fabrics, like washing and ironing and all that junk. And I don't do it anymore. I don't like ironing generally anyway. I don't mind pressing it up to square it up, but I don't want to go through all that washing and taking all the knots out the selvage, yech. So I don't do that.

SS: You don't make too many bed quilts.

PK: Not any more. I have made, with the two houses, four bed quilts for us and then each child and each grandchild has gotten a bed quilt from me, and that is it. I don't think I'll do any more. Unless my niece gets married maybe and if that's what she wants, I would do it, but I'm not into it any more, the big stuff. I think the wall quilts I make are big enough.

SS: And you really don't need to wash fabric if it's going to hang on the wall.

PK: Right. So, yes, that's probably my least favorite part.

SS: If no one was ever going to see your quilts, Pat, would you still do it?

PK. Yes. I do it for me. I know I get into the shows, and that's nice but I don't make one thinking that it's going to get in. [Pat's husband enters and Pat speaks to him briefly.] So mostly it's for my own learning benefit, and if I can get them in, that's nice, but that's not why I do them. Even our show, I don't do it for a particular category or anything. I just get an idea that sort of develops on its own, and that's why I do them. I enter them into the show just to support the guild, really, but it's just for me.

SS: What do you think makes a great quilt, Pat?

PK: I think color is good. I like collage kind of quilts, but I don't really do them. It's something I want to try working on, but I like all those different ideas in a quilt rather than just the old traditional patterns. I guess I'm not, I mean I do some traditional things or try to incorporate traditional things in a different way in my quilts, but I like the diversity. I appreciate a story quilt that somebody has put something into. I haven't really done that. I don't have messages or anything like that in my quilts. I think it would be unique but I don't do that.

SS: What do you think makes a quilt artistically powerful?

PK: Oh, color, scale, I would say probably color, though, speaks to me the most.

SS: What makes a quilt appropriate for a museum or special collection?

PK: Well, I guess, if it was me picking them, I would go on the design and all, but I would also go on skills and how well they're made. That is important to me because I think it would last longer if it's put together well. It shows better. It's flat. It's even. It shows that you've taken the time to do that. I think that's important. So I would look for those qualities, in addition to the impact of the face of the quilt, for a museum.

SS: What characteristics make a great quilter?

PK: I think somebody who's patient. I think somebody that really likes tactile stuff, you know, that that matters, the touch. And somebody who's open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, and appreciating all the different kinds of stuff there is out there even if that isn't their medium.

SS: How do you think great quilters learn the art of quilting, especially how to design a pattern, choose fabric and colors?

PK: I don't know, because it seems like a lot of people who are teaching just, you know, they probably have an art background or it seems like some of them did then many of them don't and it seems like they are self-taught. I think I like the idea of quilts not looking the same as everybody else's and doing it on your own I think helps that happen. But I'm sure there's a lot of information out there that is helpful. I'm always looking for new ideas and new ways to do things. The Internet has been a big help for that, and books. I would never write a book. I can't imagine ever doing that and I don't really want to teach, but I'm glad there are people out there who do.

SS: What does quilting teach you?

PK: It's taught me accuracy. [laughs.] It's taught me the appreciation of the craft and what everybody is doing, all the time that's spent into it, that they have to love it or they wouldn't put that time into it. So I appreciate other people's efforts. I always do think that success is in the effort, no matter what you are doing. Just trying it. I think that's wonderful, and even if you find out that that's not what you want to do, that's okay too, but you've tried it. I think being open to trying new things, because it could be, even with my own experience, a lot of the things I thought I never could do that I didn't like because I couldn't do it, I just made myself keep trying and not giving up, so--I forgot what the question was.

SS: [laughs.] What does quilting teach you?

PK: Oh, okay. It's taught me to just persevere. Keep plugging away.

SS: How do you feel about machine quilting versus hand quilting and machine appliqué versus hand whatever?

PK: Well, I like it. Actually, when I first started, because I was new to it, and then when I joined the guild, which I didn't even know existed for the first few years, I thought it wasn't a quilt if it wasn't hand quilted. Well then I got to thinking, 'oh brother, that takes so much time.' I've got a lot of ideas and I'm never going to get them all done, plus, I'd go to bed at night and my wrists would just ache. It's bad enough with all the holes I've in my fingers from the appliqué. I fought doing machine appliqué for a long time, but now I'm doing more of that, depending on what the quilt's going to be. I like machine quilting. It's much faster. You can use so many different kinds of threads, and it isn't just the speed, but that does help. But there's so many more things you can do, quilting wise, that you could not do by hand.

SS: Why is quilting important to your life?

PK: Oh, it's helped me define who I am, because, well I worked all those years and when I quit, I thought oh my god, who am I going to be? If I don't go to work, really, who am I? I don't know what I would do. I used to play golf. It's not my thing. All I could think about when I was waiting for them to hit the ball was I could be home sewing. I like to read, but I'm not going to sit and read all day long, so it's a matter of how will I spend my time and then not feel like I was wasting it? I've created something. I love doing it though. I like to sew, I like to paint. We have decorated our house based on the things I've made, and I like that. I like going through the rooms and seeing it all the time. It always makes me feel good. It's mine and nobody else has to like it, but I really do, and luckily my husband does too.

SS: Do you think your quilts reflect your community or region?

PK: I don't think so. Florida? I don't think I do Florida quilts really.

SS: What do you think about the importance of quilts in American life?

PK: I think it's really cool that it's so popular. Maybe the baby boomers have a lot to do with that. A lot of women are retiring and looking for something to do, and there are more shops out there, and there's more stuff out there that you can use. I don't know if Europe is in step with how many shows they have, but I know that there is a lot of support here in the United States for it, the venues that you can go to, all the different manufacturers are willing to support that art, so I think that the United States is getting into it. Look at the AIDS quilt, it's not really a quilt, but people gravitate toward it.

SS: What ways do you think quilts have special meaning for women's history in America?

PK: I don't know, I guess just thinking about the women who made quilts out of necessity and the very few tools at their disposal, it's just remarkable, and how far we've come since then. When you think of all the work they had to do, and then they had to find time to make something to put on the bed, it's just mind boggling. I don't think I would have done it. I don't know. Of course, who knows? But I like the fact that I don't have to make them to sleep on. I can just make them to just look at. Although men are creeping into this, and I'm not sure how I like that really. I'd kind of like to keep it more female. [laughter.]

SS: Why is that?

PK: I don't know! Why is that? Because it seems like so many great cooks are at home but all the famous chefs are men in the restaurants and on television and like that. I could be way off on that. Not that there are not a lot of creative men out there. There certainly are, but I wish they weren't getting into it as much, although I've learned a lot from some of them. I'm sexist enough that I'd like to keep it for the women. It's so much fun, they don't deserve it. [laughter.]

SS: I wonder, thinking about the chefs, you know, they make a living at it and the women are at home not making a living at it. I wonder if that makes men, when men get into something hands on like this, if they're tending to make a living at it, if it makes them more driven and more, it that's why they become more famous, maybe, than women.

PK: Well, you know, I don't have enough experience with men that are doing it except the big guys, and they obviously are, I assume, making a living at it. They're teaching, they're competing, and they do. I don't know how many men are actually out there doing it at home that you never hear about, but I tend to think that there's not a whole lot of them doing it. I don't know.

SS: Yes, we don't have any in our guild. And it's a big guild. How do you think quilts can be used?

PK: Well, I think it's a sign of love to make something as a gift for somebody. The fact that you thought enough of someone to give of your time like that, and talent.

SS: When you make a gift, do you get input from the person or do you just think, okay, I want to make a quilt for so and so, and this is my design and this is what I'm going to do?

PK: Usually I just do it on my own. I know my granddaughter loves pink, and I did a lot of pinks for her, but I try to take into consideration who I'm making if for and make something that I think they will like, not just because I like it, but I would do that for any gift.

SS: Are there other ways you think quilts can be used?

PK: Well, obviously I decorate with them. I've got them all over the house. I like that. I think it's a warm, wonderful feeling. I wish I had more blank walls. I have a couple of friends, they don't use expensive quilts and they're not quilters, but they use them as tablecloths, and it looks really cool.

SS: How do you think quilts can be preserved for the future?

PK: Oh, I don't know. I'm sure there's a lot of studies on that. I don't care about all that archival stuff. I don't know how long my quilts will last. I've asked the kids to please take them and not sell them. I make things to sell and that's okay, but the things I've given them, I just hope they will keep in the family. I don't expect them to last forever. I don't know. I've never really thought about it. I know that museums are doing a big job, and there's a lot of people putting their heads together and there's all different, you know, should you roll it on this, should you put it in a bag, should you not put it in a bag, and all that. It's too much. I don't care. They will last as long as I live that's okay.

SS: Pat, we've finished our questions. Is there anything you'd like to add, anything we didn't discuss that you'd like to include? Something you'd like to go back to?

PK: No, although one thing I've found just in general for my own benefit is putting a label on a quilt is really important, and I've been putting more information on it so I can refer to it later--the size, surely the date, maybe a reason for it or if it was dedicated to somebody. I think it's important to take the time. I used to just write a little thing with indelible ink and slap it on. I don't do my labels as fancy as Cindi [Goodwin.] does. I think her labels are fabulous, but I really think it's important to do. I'm sure that at some point the kids will want to know, or somebody will want to know who did it. I take pictures of everything I've ever made, and I keep a little album with the date and the name of it on there, always. I like to look back and see how I've progressed.

SS: So, you're your bit for the preservation of quilt history, too.

PK: Yes, I guess maybe I am in my own little part of the history.

SS: Is there anything else you wanted to talk about?

PK: No, but I think this is really a neat project, and I thank for your time to do it.

SS: Well, I'd like to thank you, Pat, for allowing me to interview you today as part of the Q.S.O.S. project. Our interview concluded at 2:12 p.m., June 18th, 2003.


“Pat Kumicich,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed July 15, 2024,