Paying it forward

The economy has been tough for a lot of folks and businesses alike.  However, I do think the down economy has truly led to the resurgence of sewing and crafts as being “cool” again.  Look at Wal-Mart bringing back fabrics to some of its stores.

We are blessed with an abundance of fabric/quilt shops in the metro Atlanta and north Georgia areas.  Just yesterday, a parent from school informed me that her neighbor was now working with the SBA to secure funding for a quilt shop in Kennesaw.   I pass by the proposed location whenever I take the dog to doggie day care.  Funny thing is, I’ve always thought that location would be perfect for a quilt or craft store.  I will definitely contact her to offer my services to help  or teach classes at the shop if things move forward.

This brings me to my reason for this post.  Quilters are a generous lot.  Demographically speaking, we also tend to be better educated and enjoy a higher income than the average person.  Someone probably helped you get started with learning how to sew many years ago.  If you are a seasoned or retired quilter, you are probably sitting on the mother lode of stash, notions and sewing machines.  It’s time to share my friends…and I don’t mean shipping your stuff to a third world country.  Start in your own backyard.

Kids and adults alike want to learn how to sew.  What’s holding many of them back is the lack of access to a decent sewing machine and basic supplies, plus someone to teach them how.

If you know a young person or have a friend who has expressed an interest in sewing…encourage them.  Gift them one of your old machines, fabric and basic supplies.  Offer to teach them yourself (the best way), or pick up the tuition for a series of lessons @ a local shop if you know you don’t have the patience for it.   If they really get smitten by the sewing bug and you have the $$$, set them up right…for less than $300, you can get a decent starter machine, sewing basket, tools and fabric for a project or two.

Who knows, you may have encouraged the next big name fabric or clothing designer!

My middle school friend whom I taught to sew last Christmas has really come a long way.  The two hours spent with me in my studio teaching her the basics, plus a trip to a trendy intown fabric store unleashed her creativity.  And she’s sharing with her friends, getting them excited or at least mildly interested in learning how to sew.  Mom offered to pay for the lesson, but I politely declined.  I told her this was my way to pay it forward.

Other ways you can pay it forward are to donate money anonymously for scholarships through the American Sewing Guild or your local quilt guild.

Nothing to me is more satisfying than sharing my love of sewing with a friend.