Staffer’s quilts keep workplace warm

D’ Andrea Mitchell, City College’s famous quilter, works as a student assistant technician in the Financial Aid office, and her love of quilt-making has earned her recognition from many staffers and students.

Mitchell’s work can be seen throughout the office, where a quilt is displayed on almost every employee’s wall. The colorful quilts provide a homey and calming effect.

“If I’m stressed out, I’ll look at the quilt and look at the work that she’s done.” said Susanna Garibay, an employee in the office. “It gives me a lot of peace. It’s very soothing.

“I’ll look at the patterns and try to understand why (Mitchell) did different things,” Garibay added. “She’s so creative.”

Mitchell said she has been making quilts for over 25 years. She refers to the time she spends on the quilts as “play time” and said she and other quilters get together for what they call “play dates.”

Mitchell initially picked up the idea from a friend while working a previous job in the Admissions office.

“I started with a simple design and made lots of that,” Mitchell said. “Then I took a few classes through Continuing Education and at a quilting shop in La Mesa.

“I made more friends, got more info, and read quilting books and things online. There is more information than you can imagine available on getting started.”

Mitchell said her previous background in sewing made this experiment a success.

She has received pay for special-request quilts, including one featuring President Barack Obama that fetched $475. Mitchell has also held numerous jobs as a quilting teacher.

In 2000, Mitchell purchased a 12-foot sewing machine. She convinced her husband to help make the purchase by saying that she could quilt for others.

Mitchell has made quilts for many different occasions, including weddings and graduations. Tears came to her eyes as she described a quilt she made 20 years ago for a friend whose nephew had passed away.

“That was special because it was for her sister,” Mitchell said. “It was honoring the memory of her son.

“A quilt is something you can squeeze between your fingers,” Mitchell continued. “It’s something more tangible than a photograph.”

Mitchell is also known for making hand-woven baskets, some of which have placed and won ribbons at the San Diego County Fair, and she has experience with knitting and crocheting – but her quilts are what have earned her the most recognition on campus.

The wall in the office of Mitchell’s co-worker Alisia Acevedo boasts an American flag in tribute to Acevedo’s son, a soldier serving in Afghanistan.

“It helps break the ice with a lot of students,” Acevedo said. “The students sit down and they’re stressed out, but then they see the quilt. They compliment it, and sometimes they’ll say their grandmothers used to make quilts like that. They relax.”

Susanna Gonzalez, another co-worker, said Acevedo’s quilt “gives more life to the office.”

Donate to City Times

Your donation will support the student journalists of San Diego City College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, cover the cost of training and travel to conferences, and fund student scholarships. Credit card donations are not tax deductible. Instead, those donations must be made by check. Please contact adviser Nicole Vargas for more information at [email protected].

More to Discover
Donate to City Times

Activate Search
The news site of San Diego City College
Staffer’s quilts keep workplace warm