My Friendships in Quilting

friendsI have spent a lot of quality time with quilting friends over the past few months. Retreats, outings, quilt shows, planning sessions for quilt events, and sew days have filled my calendar since the beginning of January. I feel quite blessed to have taken part in all of these events.

While driving home from the last gathering, I found myself thinking about how important these friendships have become in my life. They say we choose our friends, but not our relatives. Where do quilting friends fit into this saying? We don’t choose those who have an interest in the quilt craft, but we do choose who we socialize with in our quilting circles. The quilters I gather with are all over the map in terms of ages, styles of quilting and the interests they have outside of quilting. So what is the element of attraction?

The Quilting Party painted y an unknown artist circa 1840-1850.
The Quilting Party – Artist Unknown, circa 1840-1850.

The history of quilting bees may be part of the answer to this question. Women used to gather to help each other complete a quilt for various reasons – but it was a reason that bypassed age and personality. A common goal brought them together, such as helping a neighbor or teaching a young bride to quilt. In the time they spent creating something with their hands, quality moments were shared and friendships developed. The same could be said for a sew day or a quilt class. Quilters from all walks of life gather to create and in the process build friendships. It is a natural opportunity to share life stories, thoughts and ideas in the slow paced moments of stitching.

Looking at my huge circle of quilting friends, I can think of only three friends that I would still know if I hadn’t followed the path of quilting. Wow. My life would be so different if I would not have enrolled in that very first beginning quilting class – with Laura Nownes, by the way!

Perhaps if I golfed, played Mahjong, or belonged to a book club, I would have different circles of friends with just as much to offer as my quilt groups. But quilting found it’s way into my life and I feel blessed to have chosen the path I have, taking time to get to know each quilter individually and build friendships along the way. Would I have thought to strike up a conversation in a coffee shop with one of them? Probably not. But when sitting together, working with your hands and being creative, it is a natural process to share your thoughts and ideas, in to getting to know each other. We are  lucky to be able to do this. I am lucky to have this in my life.

Do you have a special friend or group that you found through quilting? I would love to hear your stories. I encourage you to share a comment with us.

Have a great week!




7 thoughts on “My Friendships in Quilting

  1. Hi Pati,

    Thank you for your moving post about quilting friendships. Like you, I am involved in a number of quilting groups but my first and longest group started when my oldest son was in elementary school, over twenty years ago. There are now 10 of us. Eleven years ago we started going away for a long weekend in March. A few years ago we added an August weekend. We have celebrated “significant” birthdays, births of children, grandchildren, graduations and supported each other through the deaths of parents, cancer treatments, divorces and just regular life. My life would be so different without my Persian Pickles.


  2. About seven years ago, I suffered a series of setbacks, physical and mental. I dropped out of the quilt guild and church and retreated into depression and isolation. I rejected the efforts of friends to help me; I was hurting so badly that I thought I just needed to be left alone. And so it was. Then, somehow, a doctor hit on the right medication, and I began to emerge from the abyss. I forced myself to rejoin the guild and socialize a bit. When the opportunity came to join a “satellite group” (as we call them), I did. This group didn’t “click,” so I joined another — we came together strictly out of the need to meet on a weekday afternoon — and these are now my most wonderful friends. Our group is about 2 years old, and we’ve bonded tightly. We went on our first retreat last fall and did our own shop-hop this winter; these have been dubbed “first annual” events. One of our members was away for 6 months while she underwent chemo for breast cancer, and of course we made her a quilt!! And had a huge “welcome back” party for her just this month. We have lost two of our members over time, but the eight who remain seem to bond more closely with every opportunity and every meeting. As for me, with support from my friends, I’ve left depression behind and am now heading up a drive to make red, white and blue quilts for local veterans in hospice care. I am truly blessed by being a quilter.


  3. Absolutely! I belong to a quilting group, Common Threads, formed 20 years ago. Friends coming together in the spirit of wanting to each work with the same pattern and choosing our own fabrics. Super Bowl Weekend was chosen to have an annual get-away for peace and quiet, to piece quietly without interruptions. With eight members we have four wonderful days beginning with lunch out, quilt shop shopping for those last minute fabrics for our projects and then off to Bodega Bay house rental. We each had one meal to prepare for all. Originally we planned one dinner out, however we really did not want to leave our laughing, chatting and comfortable spot for getting into our project. We will be celebrating our twentieth year next January!!! This has been one of the top highlights of my lifetime.


  4. I do have circles of friends and many came to me through quilting. When my children were young, I was working,mgoing to grad school, and had just moved, the local quilt guild had a session on friendship groups. I didn’t go to the guild then but some of my neighbors and others started a friendship group and asked me to join. We still meet monthly and our children are grown and grandchildren entered our lives. A smaller art group evolved from this group too that we started when some of us wanted to learn more. They are important to my life and keep me interested and active. I think the most important thing to remember is that if these groups don’t exist, we can make them happen.


  5. I have friends with a variety of interests, but my dearest friend, Beth, came to me through quilting. Though we met a decade before when our sons were in kindergarten together, we were friendly school moms then, not actually friends. We found each other again at my first guild meeting 8 or 9 years ago. Since then our friendship has only deepened. We rarely quilt together, as I’m very active with that and she is not. But we still attend guild meetings together, meet for dinner before hand, shop now and then … She helped me through a dark year with patience and compassion, when I must have been very tiresome indeed. I love my Beth! ❤


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