The Indiana State Quilt Guild (ISQG) Lifetime Achievement Award will go to Judy Mercer Tescher in 2022! The ISQG board members base their decision on the significant impact a quilter has had on Indiana quilters and beyond. See the award ceremony and meet Judy Thursday, July 21, 2022 at Marion Public Library, Meeting Room B. There is no admission fee for this ceremony.
Judy Mercer Tescher - A Quilter’s Journey
My grandmother, Kate McDaniel, was a prolific quiltmaker on her treadle Singer sewing machine and I am now the proud owner of her machine. She did not live close to me, so I only visited her once or twice a year, but her influence was huge in my life. She showed me many quilts during those visits. I loved them all! The intricacy of her piecework and mostly the glorious colors inspired my love of quilting.
I made my first quilt in 1963 as a 4-H project. It was an “Improved Nine Patch” with many curved seams. I received a blue ribbon that I’m sure was only awarded because I completed the project! I loved the process of making that quilt. I was hooked. I have quilted continuously since that first humbling effort.
Fortunately, my hometown of Pendleton, Indiana, had a small department store that sold cotton suitable for quilts. I took my babysitting income and bought what I could for twenty-five to fifty cents a yard. When the business closed, I was married and employed and had $300.00 to buy as much fabric as I could. I offered to buy out the whole department, and to my great delight the owner accepted my offer! Wow, did I have a lot of fabric!
In the 1980’s I was tired of that fabric. My friend, Barb Moll, showed me a quilt top that she made and disliked. She noticed a box of Rit Dye and dumped it and the quilt in the washer. Seeing how her fabrics changed inspired me to dye some of the fabric I had from the department store. After several years of experimentation with different dyes, I published a book, Dyeing and Overdyeing of Cotton Fabrics, American Quilter’s Society, Paducah KY, 1990. I thank Marti Michell for believing with me that quilters would be interested in dyeing fabric.
The 1990’s found me at the computer designing my own digital fabric and printing it on my home printer. Who knew that the day would come when professional companies would be able to print my designs!
Today there are so many wonderful fabrics available! I am just having fun in retirement creating quilts in the “modern” style and I am back to the basics with a more traditional look.
Over the years I have won numerous awards in regional and national quilt competitions, had my work featured in national magazines and books, and written and taught about quilts. I have always enjoyed bringing new quilters into the fold. Most of all I cherish the hundreds of quilters I have met along the way and the memories that we share on our colorful journey.