Asked, and Answered!

Mary Shirey

It all started in 2017 with a communitywide email asking for “anyone interested in quilting” to come to a meeting—and come they did! A few residents had hoped to meet other like-minded folks, but they never imagined 35 people would show up! Squeezed into the La Vista room that first day were the very accomplished, those just starting their quilting journeys, and those in between. But everyone had in common a love of fabric, a penchant for creativity, and the desire to connect. Such were the right ingredients to form what would become a dynamic and growing quilt club at SaddleBrooke Ranch.

The enthusiastic response prompted attendees to organize. Kathleen Morgan-Squires emerged as club chair with Cheryl Murray as co-chair, while Alice Ann Lenzini stepped up as treasurer. Peggy McGinnis served as member-at-large, Cherry Leger as recorder, and Shelly Franke as education chair. Later, Cindy Cannon began coordinating outreach and in-reach efforts.

At first, quilters improvised in a meeting room as construction of the Arts and Tech Building had yet to be completed. Though they admit to peeking in the windows of the future Needle Arts Room with eager anticipation, there was no time to waste, as Hurricane Harvey had hit, and they wanted to help. This relief effort gave the group an immediate purpose, and they delivered nineteen quilts to Houston families the Sunday before Christmas.

Over the next year, club logistics were implemented: financials figured, bylaws written, mission statement declared, and a fitting logo created. Charitable giving would certainly be a cornerstone. In that spirit, the Ranch Piecemakers personally delivered 11 quilts to Tucson Veteran’s Home, donated 30 quilts to Aviva Children’s Shelter, 9 quilts to Dialysis and Cancer Center, 111 quilts to Casa de Paz Women’s Shelter, and 13 quilts within SaddleBrooke Ranch.

And then the wait was over! In August 2018, the Arts and Tech Building opened and the Piecemakers moved “seamlessly” into their new digs. The Needle Arts Room, outfitted with all the bells and whistles—including a state-of-the-art long arm quilting machine—was an instant draw for even more new members, and the club continued to expand. The new space accommodated a wider array and quality of classes, more opportunities for gathering, a place to build a stash of fabric and essential supplies, and increased production of donation quilts. The Piecemakers had found their rhythm with an eye toward meeting the needs of the membership and the community at large.

In August the club celebrated its fifth anniversary with a sense of pride for all it has accomplished, appreciation for the many hands and hearts who have brought it to life, and excitement for what the future holds. Today the club is 88 members strong and open to anyone interested in exploring the joy of quilting. You know where to find them—they’re the ones you see through the window running that long-arm machine, or in small groups around the tables cutting, sewing, teaching, laughing, and learning. They’re the ones arranging colorful blocks on that floor-to-ceiling design board and holding up their quilts for the “Ta-Da!” portion of their monthly meetings. If you happen to pass by the sewing room, give the gals a wave … and you’re sure to get one back.