Close to Nowhere
When I first became interested in quilting, at one of the first quilt shows I attended, my friend Jane was so excited to meet and have her picture made with Alex Anderson. Alex had a quilting show, Simply Quilts, that Jane loved.
I didn’t see any big deal at the time, although I later came to love Alex Anderson’s quilting shows and books.
There are many quilting shows and teachers that I’ve come to love over the past 15 or so years. One of my personal favorites, Eleanor Burns, is still doing quilting shows on TV. I’m also a big fan of one of the few men quilt teachers, Kaffe Fassett.
Another long-time favorite is Nancy Ziemen. She’s had a show on the Wisconsin public TV station “Sewing With Nancy,” for 35 years. I’ve watched that show a long time, even before quilting struck me senseless.
Nancy Zieman had a bunch of shows and projects. One of my favorite things was a catalog, Nancy’s Notions. Any arcane thing you could think of that you needed, that catalog had it.
I met her several times at quilt shows, usually at the Nancy’s Notions booth. She was also just as she seemed on television, quiet-spoken, intelligent and nice.
Nancy did her shows and public appearances long after she was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy. Part of her mouth and cheek were paralyzed and it seemed sometimes like she was sneering, but all her fans, we knew better.
According to Wikipedia, Nancy had been diagnosed and successfully treated for cancer in 2016, and continued filming on a modified schedule. On September 2, 2017, Zieman announced on her blog that after 910 shows of Sewing with Nancy, she was retiring, explaining that she had been diagnosed with both osteosarcoma and breast cancer, that one of these cancers had metastasized and that “additional treatments would not be helpful.”
She died Nov. 14 at her home, leaving her husband and two sons.
She won many awards and had written more than 40 books on sewing and quilting. She lived in Beaver Dam, Wisc., where the original Nancy’s Notions still operates.
I really admired Nancy. She endured a lot and yet she was always smiling and seemed to really enjoy teaching, especially quilting.
With all the turmoil going on now, we really need more people who are quiet, dignified and nice. They’re worth their weight in fabric.