Ties That Bind Through Quilting

Six women, ranging in age from 49-82 years of age, credit quilting for the foundation of their friendship, the purpose of their charitable work, and the source of their inspiration.Idaho2

L to  R: Gina, Willie, JoAnn, Andi, Jeanne, and Leslie

Originally from the small northern Idaho town of Sandpoint, these women were brought together seven years ago through a local quilt guild, Pan Handle Piece Makers. Each woman joined the guild as a way to get out of their home, reach out to the community and make friends with someone who shared their same interest. How has quilting made the difference for them and their friendship? Gina, the youngest of the group, said, “I like being with different ages. I learn from the older women’s wisdom.” When two of their members became widowed, the group was a great comfort and support. And they all get excited whenever one of their group has a quilt recognized in a show.

After their local quilt shop closed down, they decided to start (along with their guild), a Quilting 101 class for beginners. Once a year, they meet in a church for a day-long session. There is no charge. In addition to the lesson, they serve lunch to the 12-18 students who attend. It has become so popular, that this year there is a waiting list for their class. They also help out in the community by providing quilts to men’s shelters, ambulances, and foster children as well as through their “Bosom Buddies” program, where each breast cancer patient in Sandpoint gets one of their quilts. They provide prizes for 4H groups and this year they are instituting a scholarship program for graduating high school students. These are busy women!!!!

Through the years, their quilting has led to other shared interests. They all are women of faith and attend a Bible study group as well as travel. Now living in different towns in Idaho and California, Road to California seemed the perfect destination for a reunion. They were all familiar with the quilt show. Joann had previously won an award in 2007 for a quilt she had made with her husband. This year, Gina had two quilts entered in the show and made all the arrangements for everyone to attend. She even made matching shopping bags for everyone!!Idaho1

What did they do at Road? Well, they “spent a lot of money,” “took a class together,” and ” bonded.”

Wherever they go, these women have come to know that quilting has a way of opening doors and bringing people together. After all, it happened to them!!!