November 2009


During 2009, I tried something new – teaching classes in sewing and quilting for kids (and a few very enthusiastic adults). Since January I’ve taught more than 50 classes, and it’s been quite a learning experience for me (and hopefully, for my students too).

Before I became a parent I knew I loved children, but I didn’t really appreciate their amazing unique qualities until I had one of my own. Likewise, I always knew that children were innately creative, but I didn’t realize how unique their creativity is. I also didn’t realize how much sustained focus they can bring to a task when they’re deeply engaged. It’s pretty fantastic to watch a 7-year-old practice a brand new skill (even something mundane like backstitch) by creating a wild pastiche of intersecting shapes, or to see a vibrant piece of patchwork take shape in the hands of a 9-year-old concentrating so intensely she leaves the animated conversation and goes somewhere else. And then there’s the surprised look of mastery, the gratifying “wow, I actually made this” moment.

This past Spring and Summer, some of my sewing kids decided that the little “stuffies” they were making in class were too cute to keep to themselves. They formulated a plan and got to work. Together, over several weeks, they created more than 50 little creatures, and when the time was right (during a big festival in our neighbourhood) they created some signage, set up a stand, and sold their creations in an effort to raise money for the Hospital for Sick Children. Within a few hours they sold them all, and raised nearly $200. I’m so proud of their success, and hope they’ll keep up their creative (and philanthropic) spirit for future projects.

Selling Softies for Sick Kids

Three little creatures

It’s pretty amazing, given some tools, what we all can do with our creativity. I know several people who, like me, have chosen to design and make things for a living, despite the numerous challenges of this “career” choice. I think the drive to create and to express ourselves (and yes, to be entrepreneurial) is very strong in children, and for some of us, it never goes away!

I’ve been holding my cards pretty close to my chest lately – usually at this point in the year I’ve revealed all of my new designs for winter, invited all of my customers to visit me at the One of a Kind Show, and fully updated my website. It’s down to the wire, after all. In two weeks I’ll be in Guelph at the Fair November Show for 4 days, and then straight to the setup for the One of a Kind Show in Toronto. So what am I doing?

Well, I’m sewing. I’m sewing dresses, but I’m also whipping up some lovely soft baby quilts (more about them later) and I’m having a great time sewing cards! Who knew that sewing fabric to paper could be so gratifying? As you might well imagine, I have a lot of fabric. And when I really love a fabric, I can’t throw out the scraps (my husband would tell you that this is NOT a good thing). So I’ve been sewing patchwork cards. The fronts look like this, but each one is different:

Four quilted cards

And the backs are each stamped with the Red Thread proverb. They look like this:

red thread quilted cards_back

I love the way that little proverb reminds us that we’re all connected to each other. I hope it’s a message that gets spread around when people share these cards with their friends and families.