Carol Ann Matthews teaches a Mystery Quilt class at QU: The Case of the Stretched Chains – July 28

By Kathy Johnson
May 17, 2017


Carol Ann Matthews has taught quilting for 30 years in local quilt shops, at our own Quilt University and in weekly sessions at senior centers.  She is returning to GAAQG Quilt University 2017 to teach a one day Mystery Quilt Class in Ann Arbor on July 28,2017 at Washtenaw Community College.  Cost for the class is $65 (GAAQG members), $85 (non-members). Class time is 9-5 at the Morris Lawrence Building, WCC Campus, 4800 E Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48105.  Register online at the GAAQG website (additional processing fee charged).


We talked with Carol Ann recently to learn more about her, her quilts and teaching quilting.  We also talked about mystery quilts and the fun of making them.

GAAQG: Since we cannot show the complete quilt in the class description, can you describe what is a mystery quilt?

A mystery quilt class is a fun class.  The students come with pre-cut fabric of their choice according to the class instructions. I give them “clue by clue” instructions on the assembly of the quilt.  As we progress the pattern may start to become visible and at the end of the class, I will reveal the finished quilt and the final layout.  This is a traditional pattern that can vary based on the types of fabric you choose (modern, 30s, batiks, etc).  You will leave with a good portion of the quilt completed.  This class is a good class for beginning quilters or a relaxing class for more experienced quilters. 


GAAQG: When did you start quilting?

I made my first quilt when I was 16 and it was suggested that I make a quilt out of my clothing scraps.  I had started sewing fashion clothing at an early age, first for my dolls and then later for myself and my sister.  By 16, there was quite a variety of scraps but, living in Southern Florida, quilts were not a known commodity.  I did learn about quilting and completed the quilt which I still have.   A while later, my real quilting journey began.  With my move to Michigan, I was able further my quilting skills by taking classes at quilt shops.   For 20 years, I traveled to the Houston International Quilt Festival and took classes with many well-known teachers at the time.


GAAQG: What is your personal style of quilting

Art quilts are my personal interest.  I use photos for my inspiration, usually nature, birds or flowers.  I use all the techniques that I have learned, depending on the quilt.  I have had several quilts shown at the Houston International Quilt Festival.  One of these was selected as runner up for the Founder’s award.  That same quilt was also used on the cover of a quilting magazine.  When the magazine selected their 10 best covers, my quilt was in the group and traveled in an exhibit to Japan.  Many of my quilts have been selected for calendars and notebooks. 

Recently, I am working on wedding quilts for my grandchildren as they are reaching that stage in life.  In the past, I had made tee-shirt quilts for them when they graduated high school with all their old tee-shirts.


GAAQG: How did you starting teaching?

I lost my job and when that happened, I decided to do what I wanted to do – teach quilting.  My husband said that he would “support the arts.”  That was 30 years ago and I am still teaching today and enjoying it. I teach applique, traditional piecing, design classes and textile surface treatments like painting and crayons. My classes have been on quilts, wall hangings, purses and jackets.  I have taught at a number of quilt shops in the area and currently teach at Canton and Westland Senior Center with weekly classes where the students can work on their own projects.  I have taught classes at Quilt University almost since the beginning.  I want students to have fun in my classes and enjoy quilting.

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This post was written by Mary Beth Donovan

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