I'm enjoying my time in St. Louis. Friday night I presented my "Homecoming Concert" to a near sellout crowd of about 550 enthusiastic quilters and friends. The concert was promoted and presented by my first quilt guild - the Thimble and Thread Quilt Guild of Greater St. Louis with a membership of around 200. They meet the 2nd Friday of each month at the Webster Groves Presbyterian Church. This performance, however, was offered to quilters region wide so the meeting was moved to the Lindbergh High School auditorium.
A group of volunteers set up a table with loads of hand-dyed fabric and other goodies while another group helped set the guild's new raffle quilt. The crowd arrived early, all wanting the best seat, so when the doors opened at 7pm, the lobby was already swarming with concertgoers.
I was honored that so many people came out and I enjoyed recanting my stories, playing my music, and I assembled a visual montage of just about every quilt I ever made.
A huge thank you goes out to Thimble and Thread for being their from the start. Thanks to my other St. Louis guilds (Circle in the Square and St. Louis Art Quilt Alliance) for also guiding me along. Thanks to all the guilds in the region for having hosted me when I was getting my feet wet doing presentations. Thanks to everyone who came out in support for this homecoming concert.
The encouragement and support of those members during the formative years of my quilting experience is a significant reason why I'm where I am today. They could have ignored me, shunned me, misunderstood me, but they did anything but that. They embraced me, taught me, and kept me under their wing while I was learning to fly. They didn't shake their heads at my unorthodox methods. Instead they knew and celebrated the fact that quilting generates a wide range of styles and methods.
I was once a newbie. I was embraced and encouraged. The quilt police stayed away and a group of quilting cheerleaders cheered me on. Are you an encourager? Do you seek out the newbies and cheer for them? Who will be the next generation of quilters - teachers - award-winners? Will you play a part in their success? The quilters in St. Louis certainly played a huge part in my life.