Wrapped up in Quilting
Let’s start with the obvious. Quilters are crazy. That’s right, crazy!
They cut up tiny pieces of fabric, thread minuscule needles, with even smaller thread, stuff yards and yards of fabric through a violent stabbing machine, and then spend hours, days, weeks, months, even years on a project before announcing “I’m done.” But the craziest part, is that quilters aren’t ever satisfied with the finished product.
“Yeah, that’s right,” said Carla Berno, owner of Quilters Corner and Middlebury Sew n Vac on Route 7 in Middlebury. “Most quilters know exactly where their imperfections are and they’re quick to point them out.”
Berno’s father said it best when his daughter started quilting at age 9: “Why do you take fabric, cut it up, and then put it back together again?”
Good question Daddio. Well, Berno put out a survey a few months ago, asking her patrons why they quilt.
There are all sorts of reasons people quilt, Berno explained. “It eases stress. It’s a hobby. To create something. To express their artistic freedom. It makes them happy 365 days a year…”
Berno and her team at the Middlebury shop are masterful quilters, and they are eager to share their knowledge. They offer classes from beginner to advanced, traditional to embroidery with machines, and they also have special classes and camps for kids. If you’re experienced there are quilting groups/guilds you can join like the Phaff Club; Phaff is a kind of sewing machine, but if you don’t know that, then this club is probably not for you. They meet in Rochester on the first Saturday of every month.
“We don’t want to be a dying art,” said Berno, a Bridport native. “Anyone can learn to quilt. It’s fun.”
Berno learned from her grandmother and then continued her love of fabric at Champlain College, where she earned a degree in Fashion and Retail Merchandising in 1987.
Before taking over and expanding Middlebury Sew n Vac, Berno won the Leona Thompson Bowl award at the Addison County Fair and Field Days and a Best in Show rosette in 2004. But since buying the shop 10 years ago ? actually, on the 15th of this month ? she hasn’t had as much time to focus on her own quilting.
“They’re called U.F.Os,” the 50-something, mother of two explained. “Unfinished objects… We all have a closet full of them.”
Uh, huh. Right. Remember, quilters are crazy. Crazy crafty. Crazy cooperative. Crazy creative. Crazy caring. Crazy cool.
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