Thursday, April 5, 2018

Throwback Thursday: The Dollmaker Wannabee Me and Meeting Amy Butler

It seems that ever since Sandra of mmm! Quilts resurrected Throwback Thursday where we can share tales of yesteryear's quilts and creations, the months go by really fast now.  Fortunately, this also gives me a month to think about what my next post is going to be about and decided this one  will be about a memory.  One of the big differences about making a quilt years ago is that I, like other quilters, did not have a camera phone nor a social media connection to record yesterday's doings which is something I wish I had then for the time I'm writing about now.
I had mentioned in the past if I couldn't make quilts, I would make dolls and saying this in the presence of my fellow quilters, their comments were not very encouraging.  I could still hear Lynn, the owner of the quilt shop I used to work at, saying: "I don't think so."  I've only made two handmade dolls during my twenty years of quilting:  one was a Jan Patek pattern and the other one was an Amy Butler pattern which is what my post is all about.

Back around May, 2002, almost sixteen years ago, I attended the Spring Quilt Market in Kansas City with Lynn, the quilt shop owner and two of my co-workers, one being Carol, whom I've written about in several of my posts and in this post you will see why she is so valuable to me as a quilt peep.  One of the highlights attending this Quilt Market, besides being my first one and the excitement of seeing all of the designers and the fabrics, was meeting Amy Butler, before she became THE Amy Butler.  Carol knew all about her through Country Living Magazine and she even made one of her bag patterns.  I, on the other hand, didn't know a thing about her, just that as soon as I met her, I was so impressed with her happy and sunny personality, her talent and her booth was just wonderful.  Amy was at Quilt Market to promote her own pattern company, Art of the Midwest and had a line of doll patterns called Americana Angels. We visited her booth several times to purchase her patterns for the store and just to say hi to her.  And on the occasions we saw her outside her booth and on the escalator, we gave her the royal wave while chanting "Amy" in which she returned the same wave right back to us.  The sad thing about this encounter is that it is only captured in my memory and I don't have any photos with Amy...nada.
During our first visit to Amy's booth and when we were leaving, she said to me, and only me in the presence of my group, "Here, I want you to have this pattern--it was the Little Miss Liberty Angel doll pattern."  I was flabbergasted and managed to thank her and being someone stunned, I did not ask her to sign it.  I can't say for certain how my co-workers felt about this but there was a certain question lingering in the air as why I was chosen to receive this pattern.  Maybe Amy saw in me the doll maker I wanted to be.
Soon after Quilt Market, I made the Little Miss Liberty Angel Doll, the driving force being that I had to make it because the pattern was a gift and it was also during the time when patriotic quilts were popular due to 9/11 and beautiful fabrics were available in red, white and blue colorways.  I made my doll using Jan Patek's Attic Treasures by Moda and it spent some time hanging in the shop, and after that, has hung in my upstairs hallway wall for almost fifteen years now above a wall quilt I designed and made using the same line of fabrics.
This doll measures 15" high with a 13" wingspan.  It was fun to mix up the fabric prints for all of the parts, tiny and small, which needed to be made and sewn together.  The pattern was not difficult at all and easy to follow, but truth be told, I could probably make a quilt in the time I spent making my Little Miss Liberty Angel.  Probably this is the reason why I don't make many bags or purses or anything else besides a quilt.  Still, it was worth making my Little Miss Liberty Angel Doll and I consider it a remembrance of meeting Amy Butler and am reminded of it every time I walk by the doll/quilt.
If I ever find the time, I would like to make another one of her dolls, they're just that clever and cute.  The two patterns I purchased afterwards, the Sailor's Siren Mermaid Angel and Great Plains Cowboy Angel have been waiting for me to make for at least fifteen years.  I think the Cowboy doll would look great in feedsack fabrics.
Soon after meeting Amy Butler, her popularity exploded with fabric lines, publications and her own line of patterns and it couldn't have happened to a nicer person.  Every now and then after meeting her, Carol and I would still wonder about why she gave me the pattern.  This usually happened when we were around Amy Butler fabrics. Around four years later, I found my answer with Mark Lipinski's magazine "Quilters Home", August 2006 and the quilt celebrity he did a Q&A interview with was THE Amy Butler.  One of the questions he asked her was what her color was the most like her personality and she replied "Lime Green"-- Oh Yeah!--the color of the dress I was wearing when I first met Amy was Lime Green.  No one else in the group was wearing this color so this must be the reason why Amy singled me out, right?  I might add I was also wearing matching lime green anklet socks that had crocheted lace around the cuffs with my Mary Jane shoes so I must had also looked a little quirky too. I immediately called Carol to tell her that the mystery was finally solved and  to inform her I needed her to stay my friend for all times because I needed her to vouch for me that Amy Butler gave me a pattern.  Maybe I should tape a copy of this post to the pattern to make sure I never forget how this pattern was acquired.  As mentioned earlier in this post, no photos, just memories and Carol as my witness.  And yes, I like to give Carol yearly reminders about this important memory and hope that she and I never forget the time we met Amy Butler before she became THE Amy Butler.

I enjoyed sharing this memory and adding it to my quiltlore.  BTW, I hope you check out the other quilters' stories, especially Sandra's, mmm! Quilts because she gave me an idea what my post for next month will be.  I have a month to think about it in my head.

Linking up with MMM! Quilts' Throwback Thursday


  1. Thanks for sharing, that is such an interesting story! It must be cool to have met someone before they became MAJOR.

  2. Great memory story...i love that mermaid doll..I have collected 3 handmade dolls that watch over my quilt space...and my great Aunt used to make dolls...(her hubster stuffed them for her--a project for two!!;)) )
    After i make my LASt (gasp!) big quilt i am pondering how to go for projects and dolls have always appealed to me too...your Liberty Lady came out just beautifully. My only worry is that i am not good with sewing smallish things..I'll be very interested to see the birth of your doll creations...hugs, Julierose

  3. What a great story thanks for sharing!

  4. What a fun story, a cute doll, and a great memory! I don't think I'd have the patience to make one of those dolls, but yours is cute, tucked on the ladder with the quilt. Thanks for sharing, Rose!

  5. What an interesting story, Rose! And such sleuthing skills for you to figure out the lime green connection. I love your quirky Americana doll. Every doll has a story. (Neat ladder, too!)

  6. what an awesome story. I love the Liberty Angel Doll and I am envious that you met Amy Butler. I so as not to be outdone I sat beside Denise Schmidt on the shuttle bus to Quilt Con. Also a very friendly person.

  7. Oh you woman of many talents, you! What a wonderful doll, and you designed and made that fantabulous quilt too? Where were you for my 30 quilts challenge, huh? huh? Right. Been there done that, okay... I hope you have a pattern for that patriotic quilt because I bet you'd sell a hundred in a day! AND. From the bottom of my heart, thank YOU!! You too have *vintage* patterns that have yet to be made? :-) How I love you for publicly admitting that, and well, I guess I as good as admitted it now too. Angel dolls! Another thing in common! I took a class for an angel doll about that same year, a Becky Holloway doll. Hers are Gessoed and painted and incredible. I did the garden angel doll and I just adore her. However. Mine is still bald. Yup 15 years her 'hair' has bee wound around a doll curling nicely, ready to apply to her poor bald cold head. Maybe I should add her to a Quarter __ FAL. Maybe Q2 of 2020? Bahaha.
    What a wonderful (I'm lime green jealous with envy) story that you met Amy before she was Amy Butler! I also love the mental picture I have of you in your lime green dress with lime green socks and Mary Janes... :-) And I am also jealous that you have been to Quilt day I hope to get to Paducah, and after that, Houston. Thank you for linking up and for again writing such a fabulous quilt story. er - doll story, with a quilt! Write that pattern, woman...

    1. Yikes! Sorry for writing an epistle there. Call me Paul

  8. Very fun TBT post. My strongest Christmas-gift memory from my childhood is the big hand made doll my mom made when I was around 8. She was the coolest thing in the world. I have made a teddy bear back in the 80s, but no dolls.

  9. Such a great story! Do you always wear lime green at quilting events now?? :)

  10. What a fun post and doll. I like Little Miss Liberty’s attitude. And just think—you can remember the time you met Amy every time you walk by Miss L. I have great admiration for doll makers. I think that the detail work in doll making requires super sewing skills. I love the lime green dress/socks connection. When my kids were little, I spent a couple of years as a school playground supervisor. On hot days I wore dresses to try to stay cool, but I needed to wear running shoes for comfort so I always wore socks to match the dresses. It was a fun way to dress. I thought I was cool. Not sure my kids did. Oh, and yesterday I cut into my last piece of my favorite Amy Butler fabric. It was time. But I thought of you and your wonderful story.

  11. What a terrific story! You are so funny about the socks and your Amy Butler encounter! I am sure you are right about the dress and socks! My instructor yesterday in EQ had a circuit dress which I had to look up while sitting in class - not that I wear dresses now! I am glad I went back to this one, somehow missed this entry while on my quilt retreat!