The Quilter Next Door - April Gibble

I'm starting a new series - where, hopefully, once a month, I will focus on a quilter that I have come across -  I'm hoping to search out quilters not only in Poland, but wherever I find myself.

Our first quilter to be featured is April Gibble. 

 This is a quilt April is making for her mother. The embroidery is delightful!

This is a quilt April is making for her mother. The embroidery is delightful!

I've known April since we were in college together - she used to work on security on campus and my sis and I often worked at the print shop late into the evenings and back then, we weren't allowed to walk back to our dorms alone (It is a Christian university so they can have this kind of rule) - so if one of us happened to work there alone--at the end of the shift when it was time to go to the dorms - 10 pm-ish, we needed to call security and have one of their girls walk with us. I remember getting to walk across campus with April from time to time.

But I had lost track of April through the years.  Then I found out that my daughter married her nephew! Yes - my daughter, Abigail, married into her family - April's sister is my daughter's MIL.  So, when I found out that she quilted, I found that interesting. Previously I wasn't aware that anyone I knew from college days was 'into' quilting. ( Note - I wasn't interested at all in quilting back then, though - not even a tiny little bit!)

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I went to April's home and we talked inside her quilting studio where she has a long arm set up along with her other machines.

Let's begin with some basic information. I asked April these questions:

Where do you live?  I live just outside of Greenville, SC on Paris Mountain.

When did you start quilting?  Twenty-six years ago , when when my daughter, Lydia, was a baby. I took some classes with a friend, and I made a few log cabin quilts.  Then life got in the way and I didn't quilt for many years. I really wanted an embroidery machine back then but I they cost $4,000 and were the kind that took cards - so they seemed to be limited in their usage.

I sewed some through the years, but didn't get back into quilting, really, until July, 2016 when I got a second-hand Gammill quilting machine with a 14 foot frame! I wouldn't have gotten such a big frame as it takes up so much room, but it is what the person was selling.

What's your favorite part of quilting?  I really love the planning  especially choosing the fabrics. I also love making each quilt unique by adding embroidery. I really love embroidery - and when doing embroidery I especially enjoy open, lacy designs. These open designs allow me to quilt right over them.

I don't enjoy doing round things and rarely do applique.

You will see in my quilts that I often add embroidery to the blocks. I love the look.

 

Tell us a little more of your history.

Not long after I started quilting the first time (26 years ago), we started a log home business and a fireplace business. Between the businesses and raising my children, quilting and most sewing had to take the back seat. I'd always enjoyed sewing, however, and when I got a chance to sew, I did. Years passed and we finally got to the place where we built our own home. Ten months after we moved in, my husband had a stroke which has left him with some physical problems.

Then, in 2013 I was diagnosed with leukemia. I began treatment and after two and a half years of chemo, I began to feel better - my hair even came back  in time for my younger daughter's wedding

And then I got sick again.

 The quilt April took to the hospital back in early 2017 to help the hospital feel a little more like home!

The quilt April took to the hospital back in early 2017 to help the hospital feel a little more like home!

This past year in September (2016), they did a bone marrow biopsy and decided I needed a transplant.  In December, they found out that I had both ALL and AML types of leukemia!

In January of 2017 I spent time in the hospital being treated for AML and then ALL leukemia, alternately.  I was in the hospital for 7 weeks - during which time I was very sick.  I had finished a quilt by this time, to take with me to the hospital to help it feel more like home.

I also had made a quilt for the Cancer Institute here in Greenville to be hung in the doctor's office.  

After 7 weeks of being in the hospital early in the year, I was able to come home and try to gain strength for my needed bone marrow transplant.  

 This is a panel April wants to make into an attic windows quilt.

This is a panel April wants to make into an attic windows quilt.

After fighting with various infections and general weakness, the doctors finally approved my transplant.

On May 3 I was able to get the bone marrow transplant from my daughter. I was terribly sick afterwards and from Mother's Day until Father's Day of this year I hardly remember anything! There were several times when my family thought I wouldn't make it.

However, one time, at least, I remember the sense of angels surrounding me.  I had many many people praying for me from all over the world - (including me - writes Becky).

OK, back to quilting now - do you have any words of advice for us about using the long arm?

Just relax and enjoy it!

 The quilt April made for the Cancer Institute in Greenville, SC

The quilt April made for the Cancer Institute in Greenville, SC

Thank you, April, for opening up your studio and your heart to us!

Your work is beautiful!  We wish you many more years of quilting.

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Becky Petersen6 Comments