September 2010
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Champion Quilter Stitches with Great Patience and Creativity

Delores Mount’s Yellow Flower Basket Quilt, above (detail on right), won first place in the Alabama Farmers Federation Women’s Committee hand-stitched quilt competition in 2008. The quilter who wins first place each year must sit out a year before competing again. Mount has won the competition four times. At right, the ladybug design is repeated many times on Delores Mount’s hand-stitched quilts.

   

Delores Mount’s award-winning creations can take over 700 days to complete

If Delores Mount would sell one of her handmade-with-love quilts, there’s not enough money in Fort Knox to buy it.

 
   

Just a quick glance at her quilts and it’s easy to understand why.

"There’s no way I could put a price on any one of them," Mount said, with a smile. "This one took two years to make and that one took just about as long."

"This one" took first place in the hand-stitched quilt competition sponsored by the Women’s Committee at the 2010 Alabama Farmers Federation Commodity Producers Convention in Columbus, GA. Aug. 5-7.

"That one" took top honors in the 2008 hand-stitched quilt competition.

Mount also won first place in the 2006 and 2004 hand-stitched quilt competitions at the Alabama Farmers Federation Commodity Conventions.

"When you win, you can’t compete the following year," Mount said. "But, I’ve already got my quilt for 2012 started. When I finish a quilt, I thank God it’s done; but I can’t wait to get another one started. If I’m not working on a quilt, I think I’m wasting time."

If the fruits of her labor are any indication, Mount has wasted very little time.

 

Mount’s Pink Flower Basket Quilt won the Women’s Committee hand-stitched quilt competition at the Alabama Farmer’s Federation Commodity Producers held at the Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, GA. Mount is a member of the Women’s Committee of the Crenshaw County Farmers Federation. She makes her home and her quilts in Brantley. Also shown, detail of Pink Flower Basket Quilt border.

What began 25 years ago as a way to honor her mother’s craft has developed into Mount’s passion for the art of the past.

"When I was growing up, I never sat at the quilting frame with my mother, but I did sit under it," Mount said, laughing. "But, I have put my grandchildren in their high chairs and let them pretend to quilt with me."

She smilingly admitted she has the patience of Job. And she’s got a million or more hand stitches to prove it. Having a quilt in the frame for more than 700 days doesn’t cause her any anxiety. But she sometimes has to step back from it for a day or two.

 

"There are times when I get tired of looking at it, but then I’m soon right back to it," Mount said, with a smile. "It takes a lot of patience and I’ve got a good bit."

Mount’s quilt frame is actually two sawhorses with poles across them.

"The frame is easy to put up and to take down, and it’s easy to roll the quilt as I work," she said. "I work at home and I work alone because I don’t work from traditional patterns."

Mount has a deep appreciation for the quilt patterns that have endured with time and, although she has made her share of them, she is not duty bound by them.

"I don’t make quilts to sell," she said. "I make them for my family; so I like to be creative and make each quilt special because it is for a special someone."

The creativity and uniqueness of Mount’s quilts are brightly and boldly obvious. Each quilt square is different and each is an individual work of art. The squares are linked by intricate borders and repetitive motifs into a work of beauty and comfort.

       
       


   

Clockwise from top left, Delores Mount's affection for butterflies is obvious in the way she uses them to add color and variety to her handiwork. The butterflies are made from cloth and wonder-under, and hundreds of tiny stitches place them right where they should be among Mount’s garden baskets of multicolored flowers which include buttons for additional texture; although she can’t compete in the ALFA Women’s Committee hand-stitched quilt competition until 2012, Delores Mount of Brantley has chosen her basket design and is ready to do what she loves to do — quilt; Mount hand stitches all of her quilts for family members and includes a special message to each on the back of the quilt.

"When I start a quilt, I don’t have any idea of what it will become," Mount said. "I love baskets and flowers so those are the designs I’ve used for the last two quilts. The baskets are different in each of the quilts and I have a different basket for the quilt that I’m making now."

Some of the flowers are appliqués with stitched borders. Others are embroidered. The variety of colors and the texture of the petals work together to make a whole of the different parts.

Mount’s affection for butterflies and ladybugs is obvious in the way she uses them to add color and variety to her handiwork.

The butterflies and lady bugs are made from cloth and wonder-under, and hundreds of tiny stitches place them right where a bug or butterfly should be among Mount’s garden baskets of multicolored flowers.

"One thing leads to another," Mount said. "I was making a quilt for my granddaughter and I had the idea to add a trailing vine to pull the squares together. Then, I thought the vines needed a few leaves and then they needed a few flowers. Then some of the flowers needed buttons."

That’s the way her quilts develop.

Another of her "loves" is buttons and she uses them as the center of flowers, giving yet another texture to her work.

"I want everything to be right. If I see even the slightest pucker of cloth, I take it out and start again," Mount said. "The quilts I make are for my family. Some of them have been small. I have a great-grandbaby and I made him a quilt with frogs and turtles. I got coloring books and found pictures to go by and it was a lot of fun to make."

Mount made quilts for her two adult grandsons. One was a "Rob Peter to Pay Paul" design and the other was a Star pattern.

The granddaughters, ages nine and 13, will be gifted the two quilts with the flower basket designs.

"Some people have said I shouldn’t give away quilts I’ve worked on so long because they might not be taken care of," Mount said. "But, I honestly believe my granddaughters will take good care of these quilts.

"They understand these quilts are handmade and they know how much work and love has gone into them.

"When I finally finish a quilt, I won’t have any fingernails and my fingers will be so sore I’ll have to put turpentine on them every night when I go to bed," Mount said. "But they will heal up soon and then it will be time to start the next quilt.

"For me quilting is such a joy and I thank God for giving me the ability to do something I love so much, something bringing me so much joy and, I hope, they bring joy to others, too."

Jaine Treadwell is a freelance writer from Brundidge.