The Quilting Life of an Army Wife: an Interview with Aby Dolinger

The Quilting Life of an Army Wife: an Interview with Aby Dolinger

Web Exclusive Interview

QN chats with Aby Dolinger about her new pattern concept and life during deployment.

Aby Dolinger creates classic quilts using Layer Cakes, precut 10˝ squares available from Moda Fabrics. Her article "Cutting the Cake" is in QN's October/November 2009 issue, and Moda distributes her patterns.


QN: What does quilting mean to you as a military wife?

AD: My husband, Ran, is an Army chaplain, and we move every three years. Military wives rely on each other for emotional support while our husbands are deployed, and quilting helps us forge close, enduring friendships. When I arrive in a new place, I immediately check out local quilt shops, guilds, and quilt groups. If I don't find a quilt group, I start one.


QN: How do you prepare for moving?

AD: I go through my fabric and tools and donate everything I won't use again. I pack fabrics one color to a box. With online shopping, there's no need to stock up before moving overseas. The post exchanges at larger installations in Germany sell fabrics and quiltmaking supplies.


 QN: How do you stay in touch with your quilting friends?

AD: The Internet! The American Samplers, a group that started on an Army post in Germany in 1995, maintains a Yahoo group. We post photos of projects and host two or three block exchanges, challenges, round robins, or group projects every year. We meet annually at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Virginia to catch up, laugh, view quilts, shop, and eat.


QN: How did you become involved with Moda?

AD: I devised a way to make traditional quilt blocks while conserving fabric and saving time. Layer Cakes, Moda's stack of precut 10˝ squares, and my method went together like peanut butter and chocolate! I emailed Moda's marketing director. She gave me an opportunity to prove myself, and the pattern buyer selected ten of my designs. I love Moda fabrics. They really spark my creativity.


Buttons for Betty

Buttons for Betty, 57˝ x 57˝, 2008.


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Army Wives Group
I too was in my first quilting group in Darmstadt Germany, 1989. My husband was in the Army. Actually changed my life. I was always a sewer and needed a place to put my passion. I am still quilting an plan on doing it forever. It was a great community and has always filled my creative desires.
From a Carlisle Barracks Quilt Group
My hat is off to Aby. I too am a retired Army Wife. Glad to see Army wives break into the professional quilt market!
Aby Dolinger
Aby worked at The Quilters Quarters in our early years. Randy would say she loved fabric so much, she married a man of the cloth. Always an inspiration and a great lady. She can move back to Leavenworth anyday and her job is waiting for her. Good Luck Aby,
Aby Dolinger
I was thrilled, proud, but not suprised to see Aby's work in Quilters Newsletter! Aby is an exceptional human being. She shares and encourages the beginner, even though she is an expert. Aby is also an accomplished artist and quilter! I love Aby and miss her here in Northern Virginia. With her moving every three years she seeds the earth with kindness, compassion, and skill. Aby makes the world a better place. Thanks always Aby!
Aby Dolinger
I have known Aby since the 1996. At that time they were serving our community at Fort Polk, Louisiana. I was involved with her through the post quilting group as well as the local "Sew Crazy Quilters Guild". I was a quilt shop owner at the time, where Aby shop and designed a quilt for my shop based on different historal areas around Fort Polk, "Paradise Sampler". Aby is not only a gifted quilter but a great Christian spiritual leader. She is missed greatly and thought of often in this area.
fello American Sampler
Aby is such an encouragment and inspiration! As a fellow Army Chaplain Wife, I appreciate her great advice and enjoy her sweet spirit. Her creativity and energy astound me. She has been a fun and bright influence on my three quilting daughters. Thanks Aby for being YOU!
fellow American Sampler
Aby is a wonderful quilter who thoroughly enjoys sharing her quilting knowledge. Her patterns are well written and easy to follow. During our time together in Germany I attended several workshops she taught and always came away with new techniques.
Our new member in Germany
Last month Aby arrived at our quilt guild, the Black Forest Quilters in Stuttgart, Germany. We are so excited that she is here with us and are looking forward to three delightful years with her! Aren't we lucky to have such a talented new member! And she even speaks German, which is nice in our international group.
My Mentor
I am a new quilter and met Aby about 3 years ago, when I was a brand new quilter. She has taken me under her wing as friend and mentor. She is a great influence in my life.
love you Aby
I've known Aby Dolinger since 1996 and continue to be amazed by her talent and ingenuity. I too am an Army wife, albeit now retired and echo everything she says.


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