Local woman's quilt makes cut for national magazine feature

Posted: Monday, February 05, 2001

Low-key doesn't begin to describe the way Gen Nestler found her quilt was being featured in a national magazine.

"I sent them a photo. I didn't hear from them," said Nestler, a Juneau nurse.

"Then right after Christmas I got an envelope with two copies of the February 2001 issue of McCalls Quilting/Creative Ideas for Today's Quilters. There was just a yellow sticky on page 74 where my quilt was. No words, no nothing," Nestler said.

The quilt McCalls selected for submission was a queen-size creation in the pattern called Persian Stars. Nestler made it up in purples, jades and light brown. Hung on a rod, the quilt covers an entire bedroom wall.

Tina Kelly, a Juneau quilter who recently moved to Eagle River, was delighted Nestler was chosen for

national magazine exposure.

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"She has a wonderful talent for blending colors and picking out phenomenal pieces to quilt. She was my mentor and deserves a big pat on the back," Kelly said.

A registered nurse, Nestler, 55, has worked for Juneau Recovery Hospital since 1985.

Like many contemporary quilters, Nestler picked up this popular fabric art on her own, rather than learning it from family seamstresses.

"My mother can't understand why I take perfectly good fabric, cut it up and sew it back together," she said with a laugh. "But I have sent her some wall hangings and she likes to receive them."

Nestler began quilting about six years ago.

"I like the creativity of quilting. You get to plan things out. There's quite a bit of math involved if you want to make up your own patterns. And you get to choose your colors - which can be hard to do."

Nestler saw a quilt in Oregon that she is trying to duplicate.

"There was no pattern (available), so I took a photo and bought a protractor. It might take me a few years to get it done," she said.

Nestler usually has several projects going simultaneously, including a piece for the local quilt show in March. She was the big winner at the Capital City Quilters show in 1998, receiving first place in the traditional category. The public also chose her work for the Peoples' Choice award that year.

"The best thing about quilting is that the people who quilt are so nice. I really enjoy Capital City Quilters," she said. "We have UFOs (Unfinished Object sessions), where we start at 9 a.m. and go to midnight. You come as you can. You learn stuff and get inspired from seeing things other people make."

Nestler often gives away her creations, but is working on a project in fall colors that she's going to keep, called "Sweet Dreams, Brown Eyes," for her husband, Ken.

"It's a Blooming Nine Patch with a tiny cow in the middle for a little humor. Everything on our bed has been too small, and every night there is a tug of war. This one will be a generous queen size so we will sleep better," she said.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at achandonnet@juneau-empire.com.

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