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I first became interested in quilting when my family was stationed in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We were in the National Park Service, my Dad was a ranger and we were living in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. I would save my weekly allowance go down to the Five and Dime, buy my little scraps of fabric, cut them into the six-inch squares and I kept stacking them and saving them until I had enough to put a quilt together.
I was a hand quilter for a little over 25 years and then I had to bite the bullet and I had to learn how to machine quilt. It was not love at first sight – I absolutely hated it – but once I got the hang of it, it was like, “wow this is amazing.”
I often tell my students that my two most favorite places in the world are in front of my sewing machine and in front of a classroom. The really cool part is when I see my students passing what I’ve taught to them and they’re passing it onto others and it’s part of passing it forward.
I started hosting retreats for the fun of it. I love to get together with people. I like to spend time with them and teach them. On the second year people were coming back, and those returning retreaters, some had become ill, some had lost loved ones. I didn’t realize how important the support, the love the fellowship, how much these retreats meant. Quilting brings everybody together. I talked about the nuns’ quilt in my feather’s episode, and how the nuns used their handwork to get them through the hard times, and we all do that as quilters.
We use our quilts to get us through the hard times. We use our time together in fellowship to get us through the hard times and creating the quilts. It’s very humbling when you realize the process and see how all of this interlinks and it all works together.