Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum
By Deborah Jones
A native Georgian, Elizabeth Stephens is a member of the Chattahoochie Evening Stars and Quilters in Stitches guilds. She celebrated her April birthday with Sheila Miller, the daughter she never had. Elizabeth is part Cherokee, has two older half sisters, and was born in Pelham, Georgia. Her mother and grandmother were quilters and learned to quilt at their knees. They made her Dutch Doll and Butterfly quilts, which she still owns. She also has her grandmother’s treadle Singer.
When Elizabeth was eight, her mother passed. She and her father moved to Camilla and then to St. Simons. Dad called her “Sugar”. They moved to Atlanta where Elizabeth attended Grady High School and some college. Her father remarried and she and her stepmother became great friends.
Elizabeth worked for Southern Bell Telephone for 31 years and a day, where she met her first husband Pete Allen. They dated two years and were married for 22 years before their divorce. They had one son, Greg. Seven years later, while using the CB in her car, she was talking with a couple when a third person said “Where’s that sweet voice?” He was next to her in the left lane and wanted to stop for coffee. Mad Mama and Mad Daddy convinced her to stop and she did. They met on Christmas Eve Day and married Christmas Eve Day – two years later. Steve brought son Kyle into their home and Elizabeth and Kyle became great friends. Steve and Elizabeth were married almost fifteen years before he passed. He drove long haul trucks, and Elizabeth filled her time with quilting and handwork. She is very proud of her two sons.
Elizabeth was in the Navy Reserve when she met Steve. During her twelve years in the Navy, she was a Yeoman with top secret clearance; stationed in London, France, San Francisco, Treasure Island, Key West and New Orleans.
Her first quilt was a Cathedral Window and is still a UFO. Elizabeth enjoys machine piecing her beautiful quilts and loves all handwork – tatting, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. Like most of us, she made all her clothes. She also enjoys canning and her specialty is a delicious soup mix. As a result of water damage, she is currently creating the sewing room of her dreams, with a neighbor’s help. Elizabeth feels it is unbelievable where quilting has gone since she started. The sky’s the limit with new patterns and techniques and the rotary cutter. It’s like a puzzle and the process is fascinating.
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