“Thank goodness for Zoom!” “At least it is better than nothing!” I can’t tell you how many times I have said or thought those phrases during this last year. I first became acquainted with Zoom early on in the pandemic when my kids and parents “met” for a Zoom Happy Hour at 4:30 every Tuesday afternoon. It was something to look forward to and a chance to see everybody and check in. About that same time I began lessons with my piano students on FaceTime and we even had a virtual Zoom recital in May. Last fall I started virtual workouts three days a week with my daughter who is a personal trainer and lives in Minneapolis. I have no doubt if I was still teaching my days would be filled with online classes and meetings. Like I said - Thank goodness for Zoom!
The pandemic also shut down the weekly meetings of the Forest Acres Quilting Club. Since we were unable to safely award Quilts of Valor during that time I was not too worried that we were not making quilts. And we had several ready to go when the time came that awards could resume. But my group really missed the social aspect of our meetings as they often consider it a group therapy session! So I started to think about how we could start sewing again safely.
We began with an afternoon meeting in my backyard one afternoon in early July. Of course it was a very hot day but we didn’t mind at all! Each of us brought a lawn chair, a snack, and a beverage and we just chatted for three hours! It was so good to be together again! At that time I brought up the idea of putting together kits and sewing via Zoom. By doing so we could still make Quilts of Valor as well as see each other every week. The ladies jumped on board immediately and even offered to help assemble the kits. As a result we met again the next week to do just that.
Since then we have been sewing in our own sewing rooms and catching up on life via Zoom from 1:30-3:30 every Tuesday afternoon. We are able to show each other the Quilts of Valor that we are working on and share advice and encouragement on those projects.
During our Zoom sessions while the ladies are stitching I generally spend my time cutting out fabric from the patterns that I have chosen for us to work on. I then organize the fabric and instructions and place the materials in plastic bags. When a member completes the blocks in a bag they either return it to me or I make a pickup and deliver more bags. I also spend some of my time stitching backings together as well as batting if we are using scraps.
So far our process in making quilts to award to veterans has continued well in spite of the pandemic and our 4-month hiatus. We were thrilled to award four quilts at an outdoor ceremony the first week of November. And we have four ready to award when the weather warms up again. In addition the tops for two quilts are ready for the long arm, the ladies are working on sewing rows and borders on four quilts, and I have materials ready to distribute for four more quilts. Given the advent of the vaccine we are hopeful that we will be able to sew in-person again very soon. In the meantime “Thank goodness for Zoom!!” Just another example of how we are adjusting to living through a worldwide pandemic!