Sunday, May 19, 2019

Share the Wealth

At the start of the Quiltmaking 101 class I teach locally for beginning quilters, I start by saying "Making a quilt is an expensive way to get bedding--if you just want a blanket, go to the store." 

Quilters know this is true, non-quilters think you should be able to make them a queen-size quilt for $50. Not even close...

So, why do we do it? We are "making gifts for generations yet unborn"--a phrase I have loved since I first heard it years ago. My children, and their children, and hopefully, THEIR children, will have a tangible reminder that I was here.

Stella admiring "Stella's Splendid Sampler" two years ago

"Can you find the flower?"

Stella and Sam, Easter 2019

A few months ago, one of those beginning students sent me a lovely email, thanking me for all she learned in the 5 week class. She said she loves quilting now but wasn't sure how much she could do because of the cost of supplies. This made me a bit sad.

The Sunday Sew and Sews is a great group of quilters I am leading through the Block of the Month from The Quilt Show. In passing, I mentioned that student's comment and said we should be thankful we can engage in our passion with such abandon. After class, several of them told me they wanted to share some of their excess with this quilter.

Just a few of the Sunday Sew and Sews--we need a new photo

I let everyone know we would collect things to donate to this student for a couple months. I just asked them not to dump garbage bags full of hand-offs--make the donations nice things a new quilter might actually want to receive.

The other day I gathered up the donations--it was quite the haul! One person would be overwhelmed with all stuff: fabric, notions, books, etc.  

One of my goals for each beginning class is to "addict" at least one of them, completely and totally to quiltmaking, so our industry and "tribe" can continue to grow. In the past two classes, two more women jumped in with both feet, eager and excited to learn all they can about quilting.

So, I invited all three of these wonderful women to my home to pick up "a few things". 

It was like Christmas--I wish I had taken a photo of my Q20 piled high with all the gifts. I gave each of them a big tote bag and they took turns, selecting whatever they wanted. 

One of the Sunday Sew and Sews wrote this nice note--I read it to all of them:

Most quilters who have been at this a while, have more than they will ever need--I certainly do. It is fun to share with others. If you have a group of quilter friends, consider a "swap"--each person can bring things they want to get rid of in exchange for finding new treasures.

Perhaps there is a Girl Scout troop you can work with--helping future quilters to "catch the bug". 

I'm sure you can think of other ways to "share the wealth" with quilters just getting started. I'd love to hear your ideas.

And a big "Thank You" to the Sunday Sew and Sews who generously shared their bounty!

Let's quilt,



  1. What a great idea! I am one who has more than I can use up in a lifetime.

  2. The last couple of years I’ve had women into my home whom I didn’t personally know, usually because of baby or wedding showers. As they see my quilts o hear the same story: their grandmothers or other relatives left behind boxes of quilt tops which have been passed around from family member to member. No one sews or quilts. Everyone loves to receive a hand-crafted quilt. But, for those who don’t sew, getting a left behind top seems to be a burden. I’ve thought before how good it would be if the unloved tops could go to someone who wants them. I know I’m very utilitarian in my sewing and quilting. But, it always gives me a shiver to think of unfinished quilt tops idling away in a storage room year after year.

  3. pjhquilter@yahoo.comMay 19, 2019 at 5:59 AM

    Another wonderful way to give!
    I went through my color sorted bins of fabric and put items into two piles, one for the new quilter the Sunday Sew and Sews were sharing with and another for the Care Center in New Hope, Alabama. It felt good to give to other people who shared the same passion as I do. After all the deliveries were made I looked again at my stash and still felt like I could give a little more. After my mother died while going through her possessions I promised myself that I would not leave the daunting task of going through someone else’s things to add my two daughters grief. So, I remembered a delightful woman close to my age whom I had met at a Holiday Inn Express where we had stayed recently. She was the person in charge of the complimentary breakfast and had worked there for 13 years. She saw my Missouri Star Quilt jacket and never stopped talking about the quilts she had learned to make in her recently learned hobby. I thought to myself that if I lived closer I could share my knowledge with her and we’d become fast friends as a bonus. Instead, I went through my stash again and sent her a large shopping bag I received at a Paducah show and filled it with fabric and books, 30 pounds of quilter love sent for her to play with. I called the hotel manager to get permission to send it to “Skeeter” and off it went. I wish I could have seen her face when it arrived! I’ll check on her next time we go to Kansas City. It feels so good to share the love of quilting! Thanks Barbara for getting the ball rolling!

  4. "making gifts for generations yet unborn"--what a great phrase! So good for all of you to share the wealth! Keep on spreading the quilting germ!

  5. I asked myself, why knit socks, when good sock yarn is $25/pair. Why quilt? I used to sew all my garments and my reasoning was that I could get exactly what I wanted. My goal is that everyone in my family will have a quilt from me. I’m halfway there. It’s like leaving a footprint. “I was here,”

  6. Stella and Sam are just absolutely darling! I know you're excited to have them moving closer! I was thrilled to be able to talk to some young people about quilting at Panoply; and there were some truly interested girls and boys in the craft. I know I've got three of the five granddaughters that have expressed a keen interest in sewing and stitching. I hope I'm 'raising' 'em right!! I look forward to taking your beginner class with my mom this fall. I'm so grateful to you and your willingness to share your love of quilting with so many others!! :)

  7. I love this - I've shared patterns and fabric with some fellow quilters, but would surely love to share more!

  8. This is one example of the many wonderful ways generous quilters share with others. Such a good thing you and your "sew and sews" did for these new quilters. Thanks for sharing the story and the encouragement to do something in our own circle of influence.
    And I am so jealous of Denise and her Mom getting to take your class!