In Verna Lee Musselman’s life, quilting is more than a project and more than a collection of materials sewn together in a certain order.
“I’m happy as a lark when I’m sitting at my sewing machine,” Verna said. “You can really chase away a lot of blues, and when you’re done, you have something beautiful in your hands.”
That sunny disposition, mixed with a great deal of talent and skill, landed her a first place, people’s choice, and local best of show award for her log cabin quilt in this year’s Art is Ageless® competition. The quilt also was selected at the masterpiece level competition to appear in the 2022 Art is Ageless calendar.
“I got a purple, blue and yellow ribbon,” Verna said. “This is the second one I’ve had make it to the calendar. I got a very nice letter that told me about winning and all. This year, I have to be humble — they didn’t have as many entries in our local manor.”
Verna began quilting in 1987, primarily as a way to keep herself busy during moments of tension. From there, she started making quilts to raffle off at family reunions.
“My brother from Texas gave me a kit he bought at a garage sale in Mesquite,” Verna said of her award-winning quilt. “Every piece in there was already cut — all I had to do was put it together. I can almost call that one my pandemic quilt. I started it in September, but it was into the next year before I finished it. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down.”
Throughout the years, Verna figures she’s produced well more than 100 quilts.
“I worked at the senior center here in town, and I think I made one all 11 years to sell chances on,” Verna said. “I even made a quilt or two for our Mexican supper. I guess you might call me an entrepreneur. I just say it’s too easy to say yes. ‘Verna Lee, will you do this?’ Why, yes, I will.”
She also works with the Linus Project, which creates quilts to give to children in distress, often as a result of child abuse or neglect, and she’s active with the local quilting guild.
But there’s one quilt that hasn’t yet been done.
“My husband Leon and I have only been married 55 years,” Verna laughed. “We have three children, seven grandchildren, and a little great-grandson. I’ll tell you — he doesn’t have his baby quilt yet, and he’s nearly 2 years old. What’s the matter with grandma?”