Welcome to the Utah Quilt Guild
From Our President, Krisanne Watkins
My quilters have always been heroes. This sentiment may sound a bit corny, but it is also very true. Let me explain….
In the early years of our marriage, we lived in a neighborhood filled with older couples. My mom is a wonderful woman, but she has never been interested in quilt making or crafts of any kind, so I did not grow up with that kind of example in my home. But, the neighborhood ladies were all very crafty in their own way. I was invited to participate with them in a little quilt group that they had organized and held sporadically when they felt someone needed a quilted item for some reason. One of the first items I made with them was an appliqued Oak Reel block for a fund raising quilt. One of the ladies asked me if my leaves and reels were basted down, since my stitches were so far apart. I was a bit humiliated, since I thought I had done a decent job on it. But, the next time we made an appliqued quilt, I knew how I was supposed to applique correctly.
From them I learned that seam allowances needed to be smaller than the 5/8 inch seams I used in clothing construction. Our group got together to make a quilt to comfort a friend who was dying of cancer, to celebrate the birth of a new baby, and to honor a young couple who were getting married. While learning to make my quilting stitches small and uniform, I also learned how to recognize the needs of others and to use my talents to express those feelings.
We moved away from that neighborhood a few years later. Of the nine women who formed that group, only Larraine and I are still living. All of those women hold a special place in my heart for the valuable quilting lessons, not to mention the life lessons they shared with me.
While this initial quilt group of mine met literally decades ago, there have since been other groups and individuals who have also enriched my life through their example.
I first got to know Charlotte Davis about four years ago. She had suffered a debilitating stroke that robbed her initially of her ability to express her thoughts verbally. We met at a quilting retreat in which she was a student of mine. In the beginning, I did have a little trouble understanding the words that came out of her mouth, but not the sentiments expressed nonverbally as she struggled to overcome the loss of other motor skills necessary in machine piecing. Being able to watch her interactions with her friends and guild members helped me to learn just how special and talented Charlotte is. A few years later, she underwent yet another serious challenge to her health.
We do not see each other often, but when we do see each other, she always gives me a big hug. We do have a few friends in common. Whenever I talk to one of them, I inquire about Charlotte. The word most often used to describe her is “amazing.” One mutual friend talked about a fundraising quilt that their guild was making. Most of the members took home one block to make. Charlotte took home four. The next words out of my friend’s mouth were “typical Charlotte.”
Charlotte has taught me and many others through her wonderful example just how we should face the challenges that come in to our lives. Don’t you wonder if our love of our craft might help us overcome physical challenges? I know it helps us to overcome challenges to mental health.
Last week, I delivered the last load of quilts made by our wonderful guild members to the Foster Care office. Early last year, I mentioned in Board Meeting that I felt like there were numerous children in the Foster Care system that are falling between the cracks. Within two weeks, I had 6 quilts in my possession made by quilt guild members to drop off for these Forgotten Children. In an subsequent meeting, we discussed the fact that the kids often took all of their belongings with them to the next placement in a plastic grocery bag. Quilts started appearing with either a fabric bag or pillow case in which to carry their belongings . Thank you for supporting these children in need. I have been humbled by the outpouring of love for these strangers.
I have watched a dear friend adjust to changes in life following the tragic life altering accident of her husband. She mentioned to me yesterday in an email that she really needed personal creative project time in order to be able to face the everyday challenges.
Yet another friend, Jill, was diagnosed with breast cancer recently. Her life has already been filled with many challenges. I know that she will continue to teach me lessons of compassion and courage as she faces these new trials.
And that is why I say, my quilters have always been heroes. Thanks to all of you for showing me how to be a better person and a better quilter.
Krisanne Watkins, President UQG 2014
Grand Canyons Quilt by Carol Johnson
Quilt Fest 2015
Sept 15 – 19, 2015
At the Davis Conference Center
2015 National Teachers: