No, I am not going to give you a list of supplies or cool tools that you need, what every quilter needs is quilting friends. Some belong to a guild or other groups, some have the best friend down the street or a family member that shares your love for quilting. But, sometimes we don't have these people in our lives or living close enough for us to enjoy. Sometimes we need a quilting "pen pal".
When I was a kid having a pen pal was the coolest thing, we could write a letter, put it in the mail, and maybe a month later we would get a response from them...from across the country, or even sometimes across the world. Today's "modern-day" version of a pen pal can be found in Facebook or other social media which can be good and bad, we hear a lot of bad so I wanted to share some good.
I have a group of "Pen Pals"... currently about 300 members strong. It is a pretty crazy private group of women on Facebook who met through a large public quilting group and through comments developed a connection. One day, because we were tired of negative and unkind comments, a few of us ladies took charge and developed our own group. We are from all over the world, all ages, and all walks of life and we all have one thing in common...Quilting!!! We only have a couple of rules for our group but the number one rule of our growing quilting group is "BE KIND". Some of us have been quilting for years, some of us have just begun, there is no quilt police in our group! We have developed the coolest friendships and most of us have never met. We began only talking about quilting...what we were quilting, what we wanted to quilt, fabric we wanted to buy, fabric that we couldn't find but really needed...you know the important parts of serious quilting business. These friendships have grown into a sister hood and some of our members like to refer to us as "minions". When we have a personal problem or crisis we can turn to each other fro a wave of prayers and carrying support that is just unbelievable. When I started my quilting business they were my secret support, I could ask them anything and they would give me honest feedback. I have only met one of these ladies, she came to visit me from five hours away to personally deliver my Secret Sister Christmas gift.
So about two years ago we all started talking about meeting up at a retreat...that day is coming very soon. In just one a week my hometown best quilting friend and I will be meeting up with 40 of my "Minion Friends" in Missouri!!!! We are all so excited...3 days of sewing, talking, and shopping...Missouri Star won't know what hit them! Chances are there won't be much sewing going on, but one thing is for sure, there's probably not going to be much SLEEP either!
Therefore, in my opinion even if you have the finest of machines, tools, and fabrics,most important thing that every quilter needs is a QUILTING FRIEND...reach out and find yours!
Do you ever think back and wonder when you learned a skill and why? I ponder at times about my sewing skills...I know my mom taught me the basics of technically how to sew, use the machine, etc. although the memories are not real specific, she owned a fabric store so my play time was at her shop and I think I soaked up so much just being there. But that "play time" taught me the little skills that have turned into so much more.
When I was in high school I was able to make things easily I needed for school and breeze through home economics (even though I did get reprimanded for not wanting to cut my pattern out BEFORE pinning it to the fabric...really? That's just a waste of time, I was 14 and knew that! HAHA) Soon after I moved into my own home and started using my sewing skills to make things for my home like curtains, pillows, etc and the weirdest thing is I didn't use a pattern, I just "winged it", sometimes it worked and sometimes...not so much, but I always tried to make it myself first before buying it.
After the kids came along I was making Halloween costumes, altering dance costumes and every uniform they ever brought home...I swear nothing ever fit them! I fixed not only my kids things but others as well, often wondering "why do other moms not know how to do these things?"...I mean in my mind it was second nature. Teaching then came natural, through 4H I began teaching kids how to sew. Then one day when helping with a 4H fundraiser I stumbled upon Quilting.
Next thing I know my kids are grown and I'm looking around without anything to keep me busy, what do I do???? Duh, open a sewing and quilting studio!!! More than three years have gone by and I have gone from teaching a few classes to having a full blown quilt shop and long arm Quilting service. So tonight I'm posting on Facebook, "don't forget to bring in your child's All Star shirts and I'll sew your patches on for you" and suddenly I'm taken back a little.
When I use to wonder why other moms couldn't (or didn't want to) sew...now I just think it's my job, it's my gift from God, the simple skills I learned watching my mom all those years ago has brought me to where I am today. It is my calling to "stitch a little love" into this world...and now I'm thankful that I have the family and friends who all let me do what I love to do.