Irma Gail, a former elementary school teacher, began quilting by making a small pot holder at a craft meeting she attended in Michigan in September, 1980. In October she went to her first quilt shop and bought fabric to make quilts for her mother and sister for Christmas. Needless to say, she had some difficulty finishing them in time, but she did it. When her mother opened her present, she gasped, "Oh, your stitches are so big!" Irma Gail decided then that she didn't have to make quilts; she could do other things.
After her family moved to Arkansas, Irma Gail attended a quilt show in 1981, and life changed then and there when she fell in love with quilts. Her first quilt was made for daughter, Gailyn, in 1982, and she has been making quilts ever since. She has won numerous ribbons, and her quilts have appeared on magazine covers and inside many books and magazines. She teaches classes and lectures nationally.
Her quilt, "Conway Album (I'm Not From Baltimore)," won the 1992 Founder's Award and a blue ribbon at the A/IQA show in Houston. In 1993 it won blue ribbons in Dallas, Silver Dollar City, and Riverside, CA, and Best of Show at Quilt America! In 1994 it won AQS's Gingher Award for excellence in workmanship and $10,000, becoming a part of the MAQS museum collection. In 1995 it qualified as a NQA Masterpiece Quilt, and was on exhibit
as one of the
100 Best American Quilts of the 20th Century at the 1999 Houston Quilt festival with the others. It is featured on the cover of the book.
Irma Gail was selected as one of
30 quilters in the World to have 3 of her quilts in the exhibit "30
Distinguished Quilters of the World" at the Tokyo International Great Quilt
Festival in January, 2002.
In April, 2000,
Irma Gail's quilt, Garden Maze, won the Timeless Treasures Award for Excellence
in Hand Workmanship and $12,000 at the American's Quilter's Society Show in
Paducah, Kentucky. This is the second time Irma Gail has won this award.
Irma Gail has written eight books on quilting. She was President of the Arkansas
Quilters Guild in 1986, President of American/International Quilt Association in 1994 and 1995. She is a member of the
Conway Applique Society and QUEST Quilters of Little Rock. Her husband once said, "Irma Gail, you can't quilt all of the time," but she has "shown" him!!! They have been married since 1957, and have 3 children and
6 grandchildren. Irma Gail has won many other awards which can be found on her awards page.
The books she has written include, Conway Album (I'm Not From Baltimore, Hot Fudge Sundae and Irish eyes plus 10 Secrets of Quilt Design, More Conway
Album, Blocks-Hearts, More Conway Album Blocks - Baskets, Foundation Pieced Blocks of the Month, More Conway Album
Blocks - Cross Sprays, and More Conway Album Blocks - Wreaths,
More Conway Album Blocks - Blue Birds, and Baltimore Style Blocks.