2009 Faculty – Betty Cotton

Betty Cotton, Osseo, WI

Betty will be teaching classes sponsored by Pfaff Sewing Machines and featuring her “Cotton Theory” method of quilt as you go.

Photo: Betty and her husband, Jack

More about Betty:

Carolyn: How many years have you been quilting?
Betty: I have been quilting for 24 years. Previously I was a garment sewer. When you have legs that go clear up to your neck, you learn to sew out of necessity.

Carolyn: What motivated you to start quilting?
Betty: I started quilting when I found out I was going to be a mother. My oldest daughter is now 23 and I celebrate Mother’s Day on her birthday, because that’s the day I became a mother. I wanted to make the entire baby’s room ensemble, consisting of bumper pads, diaper stacker, dust ruffle, pillow, and curtains and of course, the quilt.

Carolyn: Where have you traveled in your quilting teaching career?
Betty: Teaching Cotton Theory Quilting has taken me to all the National level quilt shows across the continental US, Alaska, Canada and cruise ships to various places.

Carolyn: What is the most, unusual, frightening, funny, frustrating experience you have had in your quilting career?
Betty: The most frustrating experience I had was not getting Cotton Theory to work the first two attempts. Good thing persistence paid off! The most frightening experience I had was a break-in, in my suburban while teaching at a show in Atlanta. The thugs decided they needed my $6000.00 sewing machine more than I did, along with my laptop and a suitcase of dirty clothes. The bright side was they left me my fabric kits for teaching, so class still went on! I have so many funny stories…..mostly while giving lectures and audience participation. When I show the baby quilt, pillow and bath mat to a group, I clearly state the bath mat is for the floor. The audience proceeds to say, I’m not going to let them walk on it. I’m going to put it on the baby’s changing table. Either way, you are going to have to wash it! Another lady who was 83 years old started complaining that she only had 2 grandchildren. She wanted a reason to make more baby quilts. She stated, that darn birth control……..it gets in the way every time! The most unusual experience I had was a gentleman in my class, Jim Taco, who never sewed before. When I asked Jim what made him sign up for my class, his answer was, he wanted to teach his wife, an excellent quilter, something she did not know how to do. What a sweetheart!

Carolyn: Does anyone else in your family quilt?
Betty: My two dear darling daughters quilt when time permits. They are both in college and we know how intense this can be. I love it when they join me!

Carolyn: What is your birth order? – only child, first, second, third, or ??
Betty: I am from a family of 9 children, an entire baseball team. My birth order falls in the middle. Being a twin, I guess you can say we are number 4 and 5. Then my mother, bless her heart, gave birth to another set of twins right after us. And there’s more…..The last child was supposed to be a twin, however only one baby survived. This is where birth control would have been needed, but I am truly grateful my mother decided to have more babies otherwise I wouldn’t be here!

Carolyn: Where did you grow up?
Betty: I’m a country girl! My birthplace is Libertyville, Illinois and my roots go back to many homes in northern Illinois until I married my husband and moved to Wisconsin. I absolutely love the peace and quiet of country life.

Carolyn: Do you have children – grandchildren?
Betty: As I mentioned earlier, I have two daughters, Sarah and Katie who I call Polly and Ester from time to time. With a last name of Cotton, wouldn’t it been funny to name them Poly and Ester Cotton?

Carolyn: Do you have any pets?
Betty: I have two spoiled cats, Cujo and Madison. Cujo is quite heavy so his nickname is fatty, so when I call them to dinner, it’s Maddy and Fatty! Both of them have had their fame. In my first book, Madison is featured, prim and proper. In my second book, Cujo is featured in his usual way, spread out all over the bed claiming it to be his.

Carolyn: What is your favorite food?
Betty: I love so many foods, that I cannot select just one. Fruit is the first thing to come to mind, mainly blueberries. I just love August when blueberries are ripe and the size of quarters.

Carolyn: What would be on your “bucket list” (like the movie) if you could do anything and money were no object.?
Betty: If money were no object, I would put up quilting retreats all over the country. Sewing, quilting and embroidery are very therapeutic and there is a demand to get away to enjoy the finer things in life.

Carolyn: Do you have any other hobbies besides quilting?
Betty: I love digging in the dirt, planting flowers and watching them blossom. Mother Nature is so beautiful! Basically I love to be outdoors, bicycling, hiking and camping. So these quilting retreats that I would love to place all over the country would have bike and hiking trails to accompany them.

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