My quilting LOVE story!

 A message of love to my Club!

“And you were the wind beneath my wings”

Hello my name is Pat. I am a quilter and this is my love story. (long post, no photos can do justice to the words and the story)

Ten and one half years ago I began a “club” at a local quilt store. The goal of the club was to meet monthly for long sessions of sewing,learning and fellowship. Little did I know at that time that I would be a part of quilting MAGIC!

Opening membership exploded with nearly 70 people signing up for the club! We met in 4 separate time slots. Fridays from 10 – 3, Friday nights from 7-midnight, Saturday from 10-3 and then we had a Sunday session from 1-6. While some of these classes changed over the years as we moved from one shop after its closing to another shop and into two different churches. We met primarily every third weekend of each month. During the first 7 years we offered an optional kit every month. Members could sign up for a kit pattern and fabrics were chosen by me and a friend Sandy help with all that and cut the kits. The kits were cut to the first cut so that members could hit the ground running and sew as soon as they arrived in class and did not have to spend precious sewing time cutting! Again, the kits were optional,instruction and teaching techniques were an ongoing event. Members could bring projects they were working on if they did not wish to get the kit for that month. The two shops I taught the club in were in their glory selling those kits. I was in my glory having so much opportunity to teach and was on the constant look out for patterns from designers that had lots of opportunities to teach new techniques or revisit/rethink skills that we thought we knew but maybe needed to discuss and “relearn”. As a side note here the two shops we found sponsorship for the club in have since closed that is when I took the club to church fellowship halls. The club became a friend to all shops,a stand alone club not tied to any one shop. That is the way we now meet. Still on the third weekend of every month. For 10 1/2 years! Membership has remained between 55 and 70 members consistently for the entire time. Members pay quarterly dues. While I do not offer a new kit every month as we did in the beginning we still sew on! Frankly the members have enough kits in their UFO categories to last several years. I won’t explain that because UFO’s can be held against any quilter in a court of law and we have some major offenders here, I would not like to see them end up in divorce court. Bless their hearts! I have also held Summer and Winter Stitch Ins for  the members for 10 years. We sew for 7 days from 9am – 9pm. Yes you heard me right. 12 hours a day for a week. This event is huge my members plan family vacations around these Stitch IN dates. Our Summer Stitch In will be coming up soon in July.  So those are the bones, the structure of my story, or at least the cliff notes version. Now let’s get to the heart of it. Where the love resides.

Originally my goals for the club were learning, extended sewing time and fellowship. Oh boy have those goals been met and far exceeded. I am a proud mama. I have seen/witnessed baby quilters becoming fabulous quilters turning out amazing projects. I have watched quilters who couldn’t sew a straight seam much less locate a 1/4″ seam evolve into the most precise seamstresses I have EVER MET. The show and tell quilts at every meeting are not to be missed. Every single month I a quite simply BLOWN AWAY each month. Then there is the support factor. Everyone compliments and supports the makers of the quilts and encourages them on toward another and another project. No competition…just plain ol’ atta go! Did I say that I am so proud of them? Now we have Identified the bones and the muscle of the club. Lets get to the most important part, the heart. Can you feel my tears beginning to well up? Well they are. It may take me a week to finish typing this post.

The heart of the club is simply put,the members. I have had the great honor of watching friendships that will last until eternity, small groups born out side of our monthly meetings, groups that organize and travel to quilt shows around the county together. We have loved and cheered each other through weddings, graduations, births, deaths, retirements, HUSBANDS RETIRING, and every other imaginal life event.We laughed till our sides split and we had to run to the bathroom.We have cried together and held each other up during those awful times. We fought cancer with some of our members and loved our suffering friends all along the way. We have made quilts for nearly every charity around and we keep on giving. You name it we have seen it. I often say that “Thimbles Club” is most often a crisis intervention center. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen friends walk through the door. Set their junk down and start crying or telling a story that needed to be worked out. This is where we go to find support and that LOVE THING. This was safe haven for so many. We are a family, a church, a hospital and a psych ward all wrapped up in fabric, mats and rotary cutters. What about me? Now I get personal…very personal…

This club will be a source of pride for me FOREVER. I don’t make decisions quickly. I tend to over think everything. NOT good. That is why I write this blog post at 2 am, sleep is a problem. My decision to step off the stage and close my club was one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I could lead this group until kingdom comes, but with all things in life there is change. I need to have more time for family and for doing what I love and that is to teach,design and write. I’m going to be a Grandmother again in the fall and I want to be “present” in the lives of my grandchildren. My schedule is so packed with teaching/travel and design that I find myself in a position of great need to slow things down. (let’s just not go into the fact that I’m no spring chick anymore, I’m a fall chick). In deciding to close the club I talked to very few people about this I knew this would not be good news to the quilting community that is Thimbles Club. I walked in to club meeting and was not sure I could even get the words out to the group. The second I began to speak the tears flooded and I almost hit the ugly cry! I think they were shocked and then there were tears from nearly everyone. I have gotten the sweetest emails and phone calls as well. One thing I know is that they understand. They have been the group that has watched me design that first pattern, go to quilt market and now to writing books and traveling all over the country. It is because of them and my family that my design career even exsists…It would NEVER have happened if not for LOVE. So why is my love story important to YOU??? Let’s chat.

Here is what I say to groups as a do my lectures. “IT AIN’T ALL ABOUT THE QUILTS!” Quilting is about enjoying an art form, leaving legacies, fellowship, community and most importantly tangible evidence of love. It is a simple and as complicated as that. Is it a good thing to improve our skills in sewing absolutely! Is it the most important thing in quilting to have perfectly sewn units? Nice for sure, but most important…no way. What is important is the care, love, enjoyment that goes into the process of making quilts. This club, MY CLUB is a testimony to all that is good in quiltmaking. This is my love story. Now go and find a quilted love story of your own, you will NOT regret it. This is my promise to you.

I step off the stage here in my local quilt community with millions of memories, countless quilts, friends for life, gratitude for what these 10 years have given me, and LOVE that will never die. I will not be sad that it is over I will rejoice that it happened. I am a better person in so many ways because of this group. I had the honor of a lifetime to be at the front of the classroom for 10 1/2 years, I have been richly rewarded and given far more than I could ever give or repay. All I feel now is gratitude and very blessed.

the end

Sorry this post is long but I needed to write it out.