Ann Ringgold Rainard ’87 Enjoys Common Threads Between Quilting and Programming

Ann Rainard in front of a quilt Ann Ringgold Rainard '87 learned the art of making quilts from her family members. (Photo by Holly Donaue Veenis '14)

Sewing is a common thread between Ann Ringgold Rainard ’87 and her grandmother, mother and three great-aunts. Her talented relatives pieced comforter tops and taught a young Rainard how to tie off all the knots. By age 9, she was sewing doll dresses and taking sewing lessons.

Sewing is a good fit for Rainard’s introverted personality. She finds it relaxing to design unique pieces or use quilting kits to create works for family and friends and to sell at The Dayton Market, in Dayton, Va. Rainard’s sewing space is her haven: She’s at home listening to an audiobook with fabrics spread out across tables and several machines humming as she works on multiple projects at the same time.

Rainard was a computer science and mathematics major at BC and has worked in the College’s Information Technology (IT) Center since 1990. The careful attention to detail required for her work as a programmer translates well to the quilting world.

“The precision of cutting fabric and sewing the exact seam allowances, making all the puzzle pieces fit, that makes quilting enjoyable for me,” Rainard says. “I love it—probably because of my analytical programmer brain.”

Several members of the College community have been bestowed with Rainard’s colorful creations. Every baby born to someone in the IT Center in the past 12 years has received a handmade quilt or crocheted blanket from her, and many staff also display Rainard’s lap quilts, wall-hangings and Christmas tree ornaments. She especially loves creating baby blankets and memory quilts and estimates she’s made about 20 bed-sized quilts and 50 lap and baby quilts over the years.

“I hope that the people who have received my quilts know the delight I have in sewing and feel the love in the finished item,” Rainard says.

— By Kylie Lehman Mohler ’03