Quilting with friends – both in person and online

Sewing and quilting tend to be a solitary activity. I love to listen to audiobooks, podcasts and the radio when I’m working on a project. I’ll text pictures of my progress to a friend or two along the way. I don’t have a TV in my sewing room. I will bring the laptop to my sewing room for an event on Zoom, but the laptop normally stays in our home office because my husband and I both use the the laptop on a regular basis.

One quilter in my Friday Sew Group constantly mentioned her friends, Kimberly and Pat. I thought she was talking about two of the ladies in our local sewing community. Nope. She’s talking about Kimberly Jolly from Fat Quarter Shop and Pat Sloan, the quilter. Both ladies regularly livestream on Facebook and YouTube. My friend schedules some of these events on her weekly calendar. She spoke of plans to meet with some the NC quilters from Pat Sloan’s online group. What fun!

Since COVID, I have craved in-person quilting events. A monthly table runner group got started at Stitch N Quilt and then Pat closed her shop. I could go sit & stitch over at The Cotton Farm, but it closed in mid-November. Fortunately, a core group of ladies from Stitch N Quilt’s table runner club found a space at the public library. Many of the ladies in this group will tell you how much Friday Sew Days mean to them. I’m there at least two Fridays per month. I’ve debated joining the quilt guild a few of them belong to, but it’s a night guild. Our Friday meeting spot is about 3 miles from where the guild holds its monthly meetings. What takes 35-40 minutes to drive on Friday mornings would take double that in rush hour traffic. I’ll think about it. The guild I did join is closer to home and meets monthly on Fridays during the day. It’s a large guild (300+ members) which means great programs and learning opportunities, but I’ve only met two people who are close to my age. I’ll try a bee group or find a volunteer opportunity to meet more folks.

Back to my Friday Sew Group. One Friday, we streamed FQS live during our meeting time. Several ladies were away at a guild retreat, so I think 4 of us showed up to sew. It was an absolute hoot listening to my friend’s comments as the program aired. The online quilting community is much bigger than I realized. My husband will tell you I don’t watch much TV. I’ve deliberately limited my time on social media because of all the craziness. The NYE quilt a long I did with Stitchin’ Heaven had 15,000 people registered according to the hosts. I know “2,000 watching” was showing on the YouTube live feed. Surprisingly, I did feel connected to others out there in the virtual quilting world.

Since then, I’ve put together a YouTube playlist of quilters & such to stream while I work in my sewing room. I’ve yet to attend a livestream event in real time, but it is fun to listen to the replays in the background as I sew. I feel like I’m quilting with friends – even if they are virtual.