The Quilting Bee
This may come as a big surprise to many of my friends and acquaintances, but I love quilting. I have always enjoyed various crafts, mainly involving textiles…long, LONG ago, I did decoupage (messy); then cross-stitch (tiny Christmas ornaments and finger towels – basically useless); yarn crafts (no, not knitting…never picked that up – I’m referring to “pictures” of squash blossoms and Wizard of Oz scenes in yarn – seriously!); trips to Joann’s Fabrics for items to decorate Christmas wreaths and gift baskets…you name it. For many years, I even made a lot of my clothes, including gowns for professional performances.
Soon after I moved to NH in 1999, my dear friend from grad school, Pam Ashbaugh, came to visit Pam and I met in 1971 at Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville and have been close friends ever since. Pam was thrilled to visit the state where Keepsake Quilting was located, one of the most famous quilt shops in the country.
Thus, my first wall hanging was “born”, thanks to Pam’s encouragement and helpful, patient instructions. For a number of years, I would make wall hangings, tree skirts, table runners, pillow shams, and placemats for family and friends. I never got around to a project as large as a bed-size creation (daunting), but the smaller projects were certainly within my creative goals and abilities.
After a few years of creative output, I put aside quilting for various reasons (lack of space, lack of interest, lack of manual dexterity). However, Pam’s visit last fall to NH got the juices flowing again, and I dug out some of my creations that were not given as gifts, and hung a couple on the high walls of my mill building condo.
A few of the creative women at my office told me about a local quilt shop called Patches Quilt Loft, which happens to be but a 20 min. drive from my home.
Patches is owned by Diane Tkacz and her husband TJ, and they have efficiently packed an abundance of gorgeous fabrics, quilting notions, patterns, and a cozy work room in the back of the shop. Here are some photos.
Below is another wall hanging, which my neighbor helped me install on one of the 14′ walls of my condo.
About once a month, I visit the Quilt Loft where women gather to quilt, chat, and enjoy their creativity while cutting, measuring, and sewing together beautiful textile shapes, which then turn into functional and always beautiful creations.
I think about women through the ages, sitting together in a chilly castle, a small log cabin, a friend’s hobby room, or a cozy shop like Patches, enjoying the camaraderie of sharing their love of textiles and creating beauty.
Here are a couple of photos of a craft I learned while living in Denmark. Patterns of shallow slits are made in styrofoam shapes (eggs, balls, cones, hearts), then fabric is pressed into the slits. The design is completed with gold or silver twine, and fastened with tiny beads. Labor intensive but so very satisfying to make and give as gifts.