Before I'd ever heard of blogs, Facebook, or Flickr there were Yahoo Groups. Back in 2004, my fabric and pattern choices focused on Thimbleberries. I loved her rich colours and well-written patterns. One day while I was surfin' the net for fabric, I happened across a link which took me to a Yahoo group of quilters who all had a love for Thimbleberries in common. I joined and, for the most part, have been part of the group ever since. I don't have any quilty pals where I live so the interaction I've had with this group has really been meaningful to me. I've met many of them at retreat (in MN, at the home of Thimblerries, of course!) and others, I've met with in or near their hometowns as I have passed through.
My tastes have grown and changed since then but I still belong to the group. It doesn't matter what type of pattern you make or what colours you choose, you can still learn so much from a diverse group of experienced quilters. I couldn't bring myself to get rid of my old stash (why would I?) or patterns, so I still have a lovely collection of Thimbleberries on hand. This is perfect when the holidays roll around. Each Christmas, we have a Secret Santa swap in our group. The themes and participants change from year to year but the premise is the same - you are assigned a name, and you create the designated project for that person. This year, I drew the name of someone who wanted either a wallhanging or a table topper. So, that is how I spent some time this weekend. To heck with work projects and marking (I teach at a college), quilting and creating make my heart sing and I'm probably a better instructor for it. I'm nearly done my swap gift; I only have the binding and label left to do. The mailing deadline is in early December but I'm making a run to the border (where I have a U.S. PO box) this week and it makes sense to mail my project from there so it doesn't get hung up in customs (my swap partner lives in the U.S.). This is a sneak peek of my project; she just might stop by the blog so I don't want to give too much away just yet.
This week, my American friends will celebrate Thanksgiving. Truth be told, I'm sometimes envious of how special it is south of the border. We celebrate in October and turkey dinner is always on the menu but I have to say, the four-day US holiday seems awfully nice, too. In the spirit of being thankful, I want to give a heartfelt shout-out to all the bloggers who so generously share of their knowledge and skills. I have never taken a machine quilting class in person. Instead, I have learned from online articles, blog posts, Flickr demos, and videos, and I think I'm coming along quite nicely. The kindness and willingness to share of the online quilting community inspires me to pay it forward right here, where I live.
Happy thankgiving week to all.