Welcome quilters and friends to my new blog! I want to share my love of quilting through my quilts, my teaching and my quilting events. And I’m sure that many other parts of my life will enter into these posts as quilts seem to tell our life stores.
I will begin by giving you some background about me and my quilting experience. For those of you that know me, you know that I am a quilter, quilt teacher and quilt event planner. Also, lover of my family, dogs, all things Oz and Wicked, antiques/junk and my garden. You’ll be seeing pictures of all of these things in future posts. I am married, mom to 4, grandma to 4 and dog mom to one, and a very large extended Italian family.
My sewing experience begins in high school, I basically taught myself to sew clothes, did NOT take any classes UNTIL college. Had to get all those business and typing classes in, no sewing, no cooking. In college though, I was a Clothing and Textiles/Fashion Merchandising major where it all took hold. I took design classes, textile classes, chemistry (YES!), and of course clothing construction and tailoring. I still have that 100% wool coat, Vogue pattern, buttonholes, satin lining . . . it will always hang in the closet! The love of sewing continued with Christmas crafts, Halloween costumes and of course quilting!!!!!
My quilting experience goes back over 27 years ago. I started taking a few classes here and there, at the local library and crafts stores. Remember Lee Wards and Ben Franklin? These were great places to get a good start on quilting. I still have these pillows and my hand pieced and hand quilted Amish wallhanging. What small stitches I was able to make! I credit that to much better eyesight back then. I made my first quilt when I was pregnant with my son Michael. This is how I know that my quilting goes back over 27 years. He will be 27 in December. This was a shadow quilting class, a little complicated, the quilt/applique pieces under organza. Also still have that quilt hanging over the cradle my dad made for this baby. After these classes and another baby, I pretty much took a break from quilting but basically became self taught over the years, watch Alex Anderson on Simply Quilts, reading quilt magazines and finding patterns on the internet. I really didn’t get back into serious quilting until about 15 years ago when I got into the Debbie Mumm grove and made many, many snowman wallhangings to sell at a local craft show. Then I was hooked again and soon began to plan to open my own quilt shop, Patches & Prints in Schaumburg.
I loved my shop but it was a lot of work for one person and the economy was starting to change. The shop closed but so many positives came out of that experience. First of all, so many wonderful quilting friendships were started, which continue to this day. Secondly, I learned so much about quilting from observing and listening to the instructors that taught at my shop and also as I started to teach. And thirdly, I began hosting quilt retreats. Our winter quilt retreat will celebrate our 11th year in January.
Since closing the store, I have also added a fall retreat called the No Frills Quilt Retreat where all participants work on UFO’s (unfinished quilt projects) in time for holiday gifts or just to catch up on everything that seems to get set aside over the year. Our winter retreat continues where 3 classes are offered at different skill levels. Many of the same people attend both events.
My quilting teaching began at the shop and has continued with private lessons, quilt groups and at the Winter Retreat. I really love to teach, especially beginners hoping to develop some good skills while showing getting them hooked on quilting.
I have also been very involved in a wonderful organization for the past three year, ConKerr Cancer, where we make and deliver pillowcases to hospitalized children suffering from cancer and other life-changing illnesses. Two and a half years were spent as Chicago coordinator, building the chapter and delivering over 13,000 pillowcases to sick kids. I have continued with the organization working on the Coordinator Advisory Board and MOPS (Miles of Pillowcase Smiles) which is held every September. I will write more about this soon so get your machines going so you can make pillowcases and get them to the coordinators this month.
I can’t end this post without talking about my good quilting friends at the Itasca Fire House. We have been meeting for at least 7 years, sometimes holding classes (we’ve had many) but using this year as another UFO year. We are all trying to catch up on our QUILTING.
Hopefully this introduction to my quilting life will make you want to read more. Please subscribe to my blog and you’ll know when I have more to say. Spread the word to all your quilting friends. I also hope you’ll read the other blogs that I enjoy reading. It is always nice to see what other quilters are working on, how they design and even organize their quilting.