I joined the Panama Quilt Guild in September 2016 soon after I retired from teaching and have really enjoyed getting to know the members of this group. We meet once a month on a Tuesday either at the Panama Community Center or the Presbyterian Church in Panama. It is a fairly small group -- around 30 -- with members from Palmyra, Panama, Firth, Adams, Sterling, Hickman, Holland, Bennet, and Lincoln. The interests of the group are so varied within the quilting world. Some like to hand quilt while one member likes to make purses. It is always interesting to see the different projects during the show and tell portion of our meeting.
Another portion of each meeting is devoted to a program given either by a guild member or a guest. We have had demonstrations on appliqué and small Christmas decorations. We have participated in making small hand-crafted items such as pincushions and Christmas ornaments. And we have been treated to some wonderful trunk shows. Last spring our president asked if anyone from our group would be willing to share their “quilting journey” and I volunteered. As a result, I was scheduled to do the program in January.
So as I began to reflect upon my “quilting journey” I realized that it actually started when I was an eight-year-old 4-H member. Over the next nine years I made several outfits and just wish that I would have kept at least one of them. I do have some dresses and doll clothes that I made for our girls, so I took a few of those along to present at the start of the trunk show.
My next task was to look through the scrapbooks of quilts that I have made and find some projects that represent what I have done over the past 24 years that I have been quilting. I currently have three scrapbooks of quilts that I have made, one that features customer quilts, and one with Quilts of Valor.
After eliminating those quilts that I had already shown this group during show and tell, I earmarked about 32 quilts and projects that show a variety of piecing and quilting techniques. I wanted the program to last at least 30 minutes if not a big longer as anything shorter than that is hardly worth the trouble. After assembling all of those projects, I packed them into two large storage tubs and one large suitcase.
On the day of the trunk show I have to admit that I was second guessing my decision to agree to this program. What was I thinking?? My greatest fears were that I either would bore my audience to death or come off sounding like a quilting know-it-all. In the end I felt like it went well. They could all relate to my quilting stories about cutting out my first quilt using templates instead of a rotary cutter, making a scrap quilt which used 772 inch-and-a-half squares, piecing the backs of quilts when I didn’t have enough fabric, and trying new techniques such as English Paper Piecing and prairie points. The smiles on their faces and the nods of their heads told me that I was connecting with them.
One member of our group, Jackie Brewer-Thompson, takes photos during our meetings for publication in the local newspaper, The Voice News, and on the group’s Facebook page. Thanks to her for the beautiful photographs of my projects.
It was fun to look back and realize how much my quilting has changed over the years. When I first started I did a lot of hand quilting, then started machine quilting on my domestic sewing machine, and now I do all of the quilting on my long arm. I still like to make quilts that I can use to decorate my house for the holidays. I still like projects both large and small. And I still like to learn new techniques. So many patterns, so little time!!!!