Fran Fister learned to knit when she was 6 and crochet when she was 7, but quilting came along later. Her very first quilt was a kit from Woolworth’s, with blocks of stamped embroidery and fabric for the sashing and borders. Fran started the quilt for her hope chest (remember those?) but was married and pregnant with her first child when an Amish woman offered to hand quilt it for her.  As her children were born, Fran made each of them a crazy quilt, with all the embroidery stitches she had learned as a little girl. Then, when the Fisters moved to Bloomington-Normal, Indiana, there was a quilter living right across the street, and Fran stepped into the world of traditional quilting.

Many of us know Fran for her dedication to the Guild’s Block Party, where kids make quilt blocks that are displayed at Georgia Celebrates Quilts®. Her first venture teaching youngsters was a class for kids on Saturdays at a needlework shop. At the same time, she was teaching her own children to knit, crochet, embroider and sew. As she worked with them, she invited their friends to join in, and as her kids grew up, she continued to teach the children around her the basics of sewing, knitting, crochet and embroidery.

These days, Fran has a group of young girls who have been with her for about a year, coming once a week to sew or work on other needle craft projects. They gather in Fran’s basement studio, which she and her husband Ron outfitted with six vintage Singer sewing machines about 10 years ago, when she was watching her grandson Landon for the summer. Fran taught Landon and his friends to sew during weeklong “camps” and the word spread.

Fran has continued to quilt for herself and her family. “Landon & Grandma’s Wildflower Garden Patch” is her favorite because it grew out of her time with Landon. It’s been a long time since Fran needed someone else to hand quilt for her – “Landon & Granda’s Wildflower Garden Patch” was awarded 12 points on a 10-point scale by a judge at a show in Kentucky. The next year, it took home a Blue Ribbon from Georgia Celebrates Quilts®.

Fran joined the Guild about 9 years ago, because she wanted to take advantage of the workshops by national speakers and the community service projects. She and her students are working on Bead Bags now and have a quilt for DFCS in the works. Thanks Fran, for sharing your knowledge with the younger generation!

Landon & Grandma’s Wildflower Garden Patch

In the Midst of Triangles – I am a Diamond

Sewing Classroom

Mom’s Log Cabin in the Woods

This is one installment of Who We Are, a monthly series in this newsletter and on our blog spotlighting ECQG members and giving them a chance to tell their quilting stories.