Finished Product

90 Years Young!

This morning I had the pleasure of teaching a paper piecing class called Spinning Windmills.  One of the things I enjoy the most about teaching are the amazing people I meet in my classes.  Today I met the most remarkable women and they were awesome students who were all quite proficient paper piecers by the end of our class.

Meet Dollie, 90 years young!!!
Meet Dollie, 90 years young!!!

As we were sewing, we had such a fun time visiting.  I mentioned that I had celebrated my birthday the previous day and Dollie said, oh my goodness, that’s nothing, I just celebrated my 90th birthday.

She went on to share stories about her life and how at the age of 50 she was suddenly a widow with an 11 year old daughter to raise.  Prior to the loss of her husband, she had stayed home to raise her other 4 children.  In a freak accident, her husband was electrocuted a few years prior to his death and this prompted Dollie to go back to school to become a teacher.  She confirmed that was one of the best decisions she ever made because it gave her a means to support herself when her husband passed.  She never complained and said she just “had to do what I had to do.”  She taught full-time for many years and upon retirement, continued to substitute teach until she was 80.  At one point, she proceeded to list off the names of her children and grand children and great grandchildren, along with many of their accomplishments.  She, indeed, was/is a very proud grandmother.

Dollie and her daughter, Debbie working on their block
Dollie and her daughter, Debbie working on their block

Dollie lives in Buhl, Idaho and still drives to do her grocery shopping, hair appt., etc.  She lived alone for many years, but now enjoys the company of her granddaughter, Sarah, who is also a teacher.

Dollie was accompanied by her daughter, Debbie, who she taught to sew.  They share a passion for quilting and learning new things.  It was so much fun to see them work together and talk through  the construction of their block as I reviewed the step-by-step paper piecing process with them.

Dollie and Debbie and their completed block
Dollie and Debbie and their completed block

In no time at all they had completed their first block – such a great team effort.   They  shared they try to learn new techniques often and  take a lot of classes together.

Debbie is very proud of her mother and the amazing role model she is for her and her family.  I’m still smiling as I reminisce about the delightful time I spent visiting with Dollie.  She truly is an inspiration.  It was so much fun to get to know her, along with the rest of the class and I hope to see this amazing duo in one of my future classes or to share a cup of coffee sometime.

Thanks again Dollie and Debbie for coming to Boise to take my class.  It was a genuine pleasure meeting you both!

Happy Sewing,

Jane

(Note:  I was given permission by Dollie to share some of her story and I hope I have done it justice.)

 

Finished Product

Tree of Life Quilting Class at the Quiltmaker’s Gift Quilt Show

Introducing the Quiltmaker's Gift Quilt Show at Grace Episcopal Church, Nampa
Introducing the Quiltmaker’s Gift Quilt Show at Grace Episcopal Church, Nampa

 

Earlier this year, while I was teaching at College of Idaho, I met a number of wonderful quilters, including Suzi Johnson.  Both Suzi and her daughter, Stacey, took my strip quilt class at C of I and did a great job on their quilts.  Towards the end of our class time , Suzi asked me if I would consider teaching a class for quilters at her church during their  annual quilt show.  After we reviewed the date for their show and discussed the logistics, I agreed to do so on October 3rd.

I sent Suzi some ideas for an all-day workshop and she reviewed them with her priest, Reverend Karen Hunter.  They chose a table runner that I designed called the Tree of Life. I was excited as I drafted the final pattern for the table runner in preparation for the class. I experimented with a few ways to make the half square triangles for the trees and used Electric Quilt software to finish the final specifications.  It was exciting to see it all come together.

The Tree of Life Table runner - Large size
The Tree of Life Table runner – Large size

 

 

Colleen Murphy quilted my sample table runner and really captured the essence of the quilt.  She did a beautiful job of quilting additional branches and leaves into the setting triangles as you can see from the picture.  It was the finishing touch for the design and my sample was complete for my upcoming class!

When I arrived at Grace Episcopal Church, I was delighted to meet my students in the Parrish Hall.  The classroom was all set up with tables, ironing boards, irons, etc. and these ladies were ready to sew!  There were some quilts draped across the middle of the room, which were a part of the quilt show that was taking place in the church next door.

Stacey, Joy and Suzi cutting their blocks
Stacey, Joy and Suzi cutting their blocks

In no time at all we were under way and the girls were making great progress on their quilts.  It was amazing to see how different everyone’s blocks looked because of the varied fabrics and color choices.

Sarah and Nancy hard at work, trimming their half square triangles.
Sarah and Nancy hard at work, trimming their half square triangles.
Linda, Gail and Stacey
Linda, Gail and Stacey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Showing how to use make half square triangles
Me, showing how to make half square triangles

While we were stitching away, a group of ladies from the church were busy in the kitchen cooking.  Their delicious lunch provided plenty of energy for the group as we continued working on our table runners.

Suzi with her chain stitched half-square triangles
Suzi with her chain stitched half-square triangles
Gail with her completed trunk block for her Tree of Life runner
Gail with her completed trunk block for her Tree of Life runner

It was so much fun to see the table runners come together.  Mid-afternoon, we took a brief break and attended the Quiltmaker’s Gift Quilt Show that was being held in the church next door, while we were in our class.  It was beautiful and I’ve written a separate blog on the show itself.  I was very honored when asked to share some of my quilts in this show.

Reverend Karen Hunter and Suzi Johnson
Reverend Karen Hunter and Suzi Johnson

Later, Reverend Karen Hunter  looked in on our group to see how we were progressing.  I think she was impressed by all the talented quilters who had gathered for this class.

It really was a fun day and I so appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this very special event.  What a great group of ladies I met and had such a fun time stitching with.

Thanks again for inviting me to be your instructor.  You were all a joy to work with and the class was delightful!

Happy Stitching,

Jane