Farmington Valley Quilters
Our Members Stories
Barb Heagney - 1st VP
My quilting journey began when I was a freshman in college. When my new roommate arrived, the first thing she did was make her bed. I watched with interest as she placed a beautiful tumbling block quilt on her bed. She explained that the bright fabrics were remnants from clothing her mother had made. The cream colored fabric in the blocks were signed by friends and relatives upon her high school graduation. Over the course of the year she shared many stories about the fabrics of the quilt. When I visited her home in Vermont for the first time, I was amazed to find that all the beds had many handmade quilts on them. There were a few that had a pattern, but most were just crazy quilts. All were tied and a sheet was often used as the backing. It was then that I decided that I could make a crazy quilt. There was no doubt that I had plenty of fabric remnants to work with as my mother and I had sewn clothing for years. That summer I rummaged through the remnants and put together a twin size crazy quilt that I tied with embroidery floss, stuffed with polyester batting, and backed with a sheet. My sister says she still has that first quilt.
Many years passed before I would again try my hand at quilting. At the time we were sending our daughters off to college, Diane Calkin thought Sue and I should pursue quilting to fill our time. She took it upon herself to get us started and then pushed us to join the guild. My first project was a pillow using the log cabin pattern. The pillow has gone by the wayside, but the log cabin pattern continues to be one of my favorites. Since making that pillow about 14 years ago, I have made many quilts for wedding gifts, high school graduations, new babies, and for my family. (I am reminded often by my husband and one sister that they don’t have a quilt.)
Over the years, many classes at the Vermont Quilt Festival and Sew Inspired have helped me to improve my piecing techniques. I have also learned many little tricks from my fellow quilters while attending quilt retreats. However at any given time, I can find myself doing some unsewing due to some silly mistake. There are so many things about quilting that give me great pleasure- the opportunity to laugh at myself and with others, keep learning, make something that can be appreciated by others, and enjoy some retail therapy at a quilt shop. The best part of quilting is the people. Our guild is a perfect example of a warm, creative, and fun group of people who are willing to share their time and talents with others.
Sue Trimble - President
I got drawn into quilting by Diane Calkin in 2001. She had made photo quilts for coaches’ presents for the high school hockey team. She asked Barb Heagney and me to help her tie the quilts since all of our daughters were on the team. After that she invited us to come along with her to a quilt store, and that was it – we were bitten by the quilting bug!
My first project was a log cabin wallhanging in a kit, no fabrics to pick out! Since then I have learned many new skills, ventured into picking fabric myself, and come to appreciate all the different types of quilts in the world. As my family would tell you, I’ve also started many different styles of quilts, and finished relatively few! I love the creativity involved, the fantastic feeling of making something to make the world more beautiful and also all the wonderful people I’ve come to know in the quilting community.
I love being in the guild to see all the fabulous quilts that our members make, hear the speakers, learn new skills, and just socialize with everyone. And I feel strongly that with our guild being a volunteer organization that it is important to contribute. Little did I know that would mean I would end up being the President! So I’m afflicted with this quilting bug and don’t ever want to be cured!
In March of 1982, my good friend Ginny Wutka, who owns Lost Acres Orchard, arranged for Betsy Henebry, who I did not know at the time, to teach 6 of us quilting. We were taught pattern drafting and four basics of quilt construction. Applique, patchwork, reverse applique and trapunto. All work was done by hand and the resulting four block sampler wall hanging was then hand quilted.
Soon I ventured into machine piecing and signed up for a workshop with Suzanne Ashe at the Piecemakers Quilt Shop. We made the Eleanor Burns Log Cabin from her book, Quilt in a Day. (This was before rotary cutters)
Thus my passion for quilting was launched. These first two classes gave me what I feel turned out to be an excellent foundation to build on and I was lucky to have two extremely talented teachers.
I love all aspects of quilting, from figuring out yardages to sewing on bindings. I work mostly with traditional patterns. My degree in math helps with the calculations and planning of quilts. What do I like best about quilting? I would have to say the people I meet and the friendships made through quilting.
The highlight of my quilting career was working on Granby's Bicentennial quilt in 1986. I was honored by being asked to do the assembly of the quilt top which was made by more than thirty women. The quilt hangs in Granby's town hall.
In 1991 my Country Bride appliqued quilt took 1st prize in applique at the Eastern States Exposition. This quilt then represented the state of Massachusetts at the Houston Quilt Festival the following year. In 1995 my pieced Bear's Paw quilt won a special award for Best Hand Quilting also at the Eastern States Exposition.
I have held memberships in numerous Quilt Guilds and organizations. I am one of 6 founding members of the FVQG and served 2 yrs. as president of the GRANBEES. Along with Betsy Henebry I joined the CT Quilt Search project from 1992-1996, a most wonderful learning experience.
I taught hand quilting at Sew Inspired Quilt Shop, and for the past 27 years I have been involved with "QUILT HAPPENINGS" at Lost Acres Orchard 3 times a year.
I admit, after my family, my life revolves around quilting! Oh yes and UCONN Women's basketball!
In 1976 when I told my mother, who was raised in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, that I was taking a quilting class she explained that she had educated herself so that she would never have to make another one of these d--- things. Undeterred I continued taking the class taught by Polly Hall. This class introduced me to a whole new life. One filled with many friendships.
After winning the Judges Choice at Eastern States Exposition in 1979, I started teaching at a local quilt store. From there I became involved in the Hartford Quilt Guild being President for one year. I participated in forming 3 other quilt guilds; Abby Ward Printworks of Hartland, the Granbees and FVQ, Inc. Joining the CT Quilt Search was a priceless and wonderful learning experience .
Of course along with these activities I made quilts, lots of quilts. I have no idea how many quilts but know that I have made over 50 baby quilts for family and friends (yes, I counted).
When I think of my quilting life and look at my quilts I see my sons growing up, activities with my husband in CT and ME, sitting around a quilt frame alone or with friends, quilt camps, classes taken and taught, all those quilt shows that I was fortunate to win ribbons but especially the friends. I thank all of you for being with me all these years.