January Monthly Member Spotlight: Dona

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No matter how long you’ve been in the quilting community, you know that no two quilters creative spaces are the same.  We all have our own organized chaos, ideas, and systems that we know work best for us. But get us in another quilters sewing space and we WILL go wild with curiosity.

We have all been there, which is why we’re launching this new online series called Monthly Member Spotlight. It is our pleasure to introduce Dona!

Name: Dona McKenzie

Facebook Name: Dona McKenzie and Silverlining Quilt Finishing LLC

Instagram Name: @donamckenzie

When did you join VTMQG? July 2016

When brought you to VTMQG? I had been to QuiltCon in Austin in 2015 and Pasadena in 2016. I just love the energy and enthusiasm of the Modern Quilters. They take chances! They are truly “makers”. I belong to another “traditional” guild in Keene, New Hampshire, but my heart and soul are really modern.

When did you start quilting?  I broke my leg skiing in 2007 and was in a wheelchair for a while. My Aunt Sylvia (yes, that Aunt Sylvia!) sent me the basics to begin quilting (rotary cutter, rulers, cutting mat) while I was recovering. I loved it and kept going. In 2015 I made the transition to becoming a longarm professional, after tons of classes and training.

Why do you quilt? I am thoroughly entranced with quilting as an art form. After college (I majored in Studio Art and English), I wanted to go to graduate school and earn an MFA in Printmaking. I had done a fellowship with a master lithographer in San Francisco. However, I was too short to operate the presses in graduate school, so I switched to graphic design. Now, as a longarmer, I feel I have returned to my roots. I am helping finish other peoples’ masterpieces. My job is to enhance the work, not overwhelm it. I have great reverence and respect for the work that quilters do. I don’t think I will ever stop being in awe.

What was your most recent fabric purchase? Alison Glass Sunprint Overgrown in Sapphire. I love the work of Alison Glass, Sarah Watts and Tula Pink. I love all of the Cotton and Steel.

What is on your “to make list”?  I am in the middle of a Victoria Findlay Wolfe Double Wedding ring. I love her extraordinary take on the traditional. She is an inspiration.

What is something you struggle with? Patience! I have so many ideas for quilts I’d like to make, and there are just not enough hours in the day!

What do you do when you aren’t quilting? Longarming other peoples’ quilts! I am also doing some exciting graphic design for Michelle Renee Hiatt’s line of patterns. She is wonderful to work with. And I teach Strategic Media and Marketing at Granite State College. I am pretty much working 7 days a week.

What kind of machine do you sew on? I have a Pfaff Icon and a Pfaff Passport. I am really impressed with Pfaff’s precision. I also have a featherweight in mint green from 1969 named Layla. My Longarm is an Innova with Mach3.

Describe your sewing space in three words? Organized, efficient and clean!

Where do you sew the most? On the dining room table. I am a very social creature.

What is your most useful (or least useful) notion? I love my seam ripper with the little rubber tip that seems to remove stray threads.

Anything else you’d like to say? Thank you for giving me the opportunity to welcome you into my studio.

Show us some photos of your sewing space!

Sewing space with husband and my three boys.

Threads in protective case.

Quilts in the queue. 

I love quilt books!

Longarm workstation.


Thanks Dona for sharing with us! Your space is spectacular! We can imagine the moment you step inside, you are inspired to sew, sew, sew. (Definitely taking some organization tips from you for our own spaces!).

And that’s a wrap for January’s Monthly Member Spotlight. See you next month with a whole new member and a whole new sewing space!