Pam Shoemaker is our Honored Quilter. Humbled and surprised is how I’ve felt since I was asked to be the honored quilter for the Umpqua Valley Quilters’ Guild. This guild has many incredibly skilled, generous, and prolific quilters. I can’t stop wondering why they chose me. “Show and Share” always has my head spinning, eyes popping and mouth drooling as amazing quilts appear from their unassuming bags each month. How do these members create so much beauty in a short time? This has been my retirement quest! My dream has been to stand before them and pull beauty from a bag.
My pre-guild life was all about kids: the four my husband and I raised and the new group of first graders I taught for 33 years. (I never found my way out of first grade! I taught in room 3 at Hucrest Elementary for 30 years!) It’s all a blur now and I have no idea how I survived. I do remember my own kids’ names, though. So…. That’s a good thing.
Once I retired, I had time to “get serious” about quilting. Before this I had been a “dabbler” just squeezing in a handful of smaller quilts. This “quilty” interest had been simmering since I was a little girl. Both of my grandmas had made quilts although neither lived long enough to teach me. One of my grandmas made utilitarian crazy quilts. They were definitely on the “wild” side with bright and crazy colors and fabrics. The other grandma’s quilts were carefully pieced. I was always drawn to their quilts as if they were calling my name.
I soon learned one of the tricks to becoming a skilled quilter was taking classes. This has been the “key” that helped me progress beyond beginner. Learning from passionate and talented quilt teachers gave me the confidence to challenge myself with “new-to-me” techniques and designs. The other “key” has been the inspiration and encouragement from my guild members. They are beyond any doubt the most generous and helpful quilt teachers. Now, YouTube and Pinterest have become my “go-to” places for quilt education and inspiration.
I’ve never met a quilt I didn’t love. Consequently, I am willing to try just about any quilt design/technique and rarely have I made the same quilt pattern twice. I love piecing and am still working to perfect my ¼ “seam. I don’t design my own quilts but will sometimes add my own design elements. I am a formidable copycat! I love bright colors and whimsical designs but one of my all-time favorite quilts was all neutrals with a traditional design.
A long-arm quilt machine, “Lizzie”, joined our household in 2010. I have struggled in perfecting my long-arm free-motion skills and mostly us simple designs that I’ve mastered. Now that I have found a thread that keeps Lizzie humming and happy, I have hopes of becoming a more skilled long-arm quilter.
“Those who sleep under a quilt are covered by love” and my favorite quilts are the ones I make I love. This have been my goal. I’m now on round two! While I’m sewing, I’ll be thinking of them. These are my happiest moments! Of course, it’s my hope that my handmade quilts become a treasure that will keep me in their heart, too.
If you visit my quilt studio, you’ll notice stacks of magazines tagged with sticky notes. These are the quilts of my future. I’m thrilled to have this passion that surrounds me with fabric, friends, family and fulfillment! Now all I have to do is live long enough to make all these quilts!