Welcome to my web site!
Photo courtesy of David Fox of DFox photos
Mingo and Mee-tah
In memory of Gertie-March
My name is Mary Ann Calvert. I thought I’d give you a little background on myself and my business: Mary’s Custom Quilts.
I grew up outside Chicago in a family of 10 kids. We had an Aunt Gertie who was just the greatest aunt around—at least we all thought so! (I even named one of my dogs after her, which she definitely got a kick out of.) She lived near Detroit so we didn’t get to see her but maybe once or twice a year. For Christmas each year we all got among other gifts, an Aunt Gertie quilt. I think that’s all we had in the house growing up was Aunt Gertie quilts. But, as little as we saw her, it wasn’t unusual for family, friends or neighbors to pick me out of the bunch and say that one is just like Gertie. I pretty much idolized her.
When I was 12 years old, just starting to learn how to sew, I made my baby brother, Brian, a baby quilt for his first birthday. It was
hand sewn and I was proud of it, but it didn’t last very long. (It cured me of hand sewing right off the bat! When people ask me if I ever hand sew a quilt, I can honestly say I tried it once and didn’t care for it.) But I was hooked on quilting. As an interesting tidbit of business history, Brian was my first customer when I started my business and is still a frequent customer. I am actually working on a quilt right now that his wife ordered for him.
Quilting has become a very big hobby for me, right from that very humble beginning when I was 12. I’s spend hours cutting up scrap fabric and clothing, I always had a scrap pile. You should see it now; I call it my “scrap pile from hell”. I could literally play in it for weeks, probably months at a time.
I grew up and married a sailor. We went through 3 cross country (plus a few cross town) moves and the scrap pile kept growing. During one of the moves one of the packers came across my scrap pile which was stored in little boxes by size, color, etc. She promptly opened all the little boxes and dumped them into one big box. I was not very happy with them to say the least!
After our last move back here to Norfolk, getting tired of working crazy restaurant hours, I turned my hobby into a business. Not that I knew anything about running a business! After a lot of trial and error I started to build a nice customer base, I still find it amazing that my backlog can be several moths long at times. I must have been doing something right!
About 2 or 3 years after getting started, I began to get requests for “t-shirt” quilts. My initial reaction was basically: “You want me to do what? With what?” I thought they were
crazy because I learned very early on that knits messed up the process. So I had reinvent the process. So a sideline, so I thought, was born. It’s become a huge part of my business,
Then the “memory quilt” aspect took off a few years ago after I took a very interesting class. That story is on the memory quilt page.
Lately, when my backlog has been light and I’ve been caught up on deadlines, I had time to play in the scrap pile. The result of that is I have built up quite a stock pile of finished quilts, along with a few other interesting items. My quilt cabinet is now bursting at the seams! So if you’re looking for a quilt that you don’t have to wait for me to make, let me know. I hope to have a new page on the site soon with a listing and pictures of these quilts.
If you have an idea for a quilt, I’m very open to crazy ideas. A lot of the quilts on these pages were made from customer’s ideas. Please click on one of the links above to explore it. Thanks for visiting.
Please e-mail me with any questions.