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  • Writer's pictureSandra Cesca

Local Quilt Maker Judi

Colors, designs, fabric, patterns…these all began to fascinate Judi when she watched her aunt create intricate quilts over 30 years ago. Judi took a quilting class at the local community center in northern California where she lived and was hooked. She went to local quilt shows to get ideas and learned there are thousands of patterns, many having names, that have been created throughout history. For her first quilt, she used the 1863 log cabin design in pink and brown.

Usually, when writing these stories, I focus on the local Mexican culture. Although Judi is American, the skill and techniques she uses to create her quilts match those of Mexican embroiderers and clothing designers. The entire quilt is stitched by hand except for assembling the hundreds of small fabric pieces into strips which she does using her sewing machine. These strips will then be laid out together using various old patterns or her own design for the quilt. Some materials call for added hand sewing to enhance the design. The final piece of three layers is either hand-tied or hand-stitched including the binding along the edge.

Judi has no idea how long it takes her to make a quilt. To give you an idea of the magnitude of such a project, a queen-sized quilt made up of 5-inch squares needs 323 of these squares! If one square contains several smaller pieces of material, then multiply that number by 323 to see the challenge she is faced with. Often she is working with 1200 pieces or more!

The fabric drives the design of the quilt. Numerous fabric remnants have been given to her over the years. Others she finds while scouring local fabric stores in Mexico, the US, and Canada. Judi uses 100% cotton material for the front and back of the quilt. The inner batting, the third layer, is either all cotton or a mix of cotton and polyester.

Judi only uses a hoop for all her hand sewing and final assembly. Some quilters use large frames for this but they take up a lot of room. By using a hoop, she can work on her quilt almost anywhere. In fact, she did just that while living in India, Pakistan, and Africa where some of her quilts have found homes with people she has met during her travels. Others have been sent to friends and relatives in the US, Canada, and here in Mexico. She told me she’s lost count of how many she has made but guesses 70-100 over the past 30 years.

Her biggest challenges are finding good fabric that will hold up for years, finding a strong cotton thread that won’t break, and assembling the finished binding that must gather all three layers around the entire quilt without pulling or puckering. The binding requires a blind stitch which is more tedious than the straight stitch she uses to quilt the materials together.

Her creations range from baby quilts up to king-sized bed quilts. She has also done pillows and purses. Several of her quilts can be seen at Vallarta’s local artisan coop, Arte Viviente at the corner of Libertad and Matamoros in central Vallarta.

You might think that quilts are hot for this Vallarta weather. However, because she uses cotton, they are surprisingly comfortable. She does make quilts without batting which are lighter and cooler. Extra batting will make it heavier and warmer if you are in colder climates. Interested in having Judi create a quilt especially for you? Reach her at:

Judi Hamman WhatsApp +52 322 348 7366 Facebook Messenger

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Jul 30, 2021

That's amazing!

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