Why Gypsy Dreamer...Years ago I was very involved in the contra dance community in Kansas. At one point I was dancing every Saturday night somewhere in Kansas, regularly attending dance weekends across the midwest, as well as planning vacations around dance destinations. As a "dance gypsy", I always thought Gypsy Dreamer would be a great name if I ever started a business.
Years went by, interrupted by a hiatus from Kansas back to California to care for my aging parents for 7 1/2 years. When I returned to Kansas once again in 2012, I had not danced in years; however, I had taken up quilting in 2006 and become passionate about it! All of a sudden I found myself joining guilds and attending retreats. Once again, Gypsy Dreamer made sense, only this time I'm a "quilt gypsy" and love every minute of it!
50+ Years of Sewing ExperienceI learned to sew at about age 9 with my Auntie "R" Irene on the Singer 301A that sits in my sewing room today and is my favorite piecing machine. As quilters often do, I have named her Gerty after my auntie who was born Gertrude Irene. I started out making simple stuffed animals and doll clothes, and by junior high was already making dresses with set-in sleeves and zippers while my friends were learning to sew in a straight line in Home Economics class. My mother, an excellent seamstress, taught me how to adapt and combine patterns to make my creations unique. She also guided me through making a Pendelton wool shirt where every plaid matched! I added English smocking to my repertoire when my older daughter was in kindergarten, smocking her Easter dress, and making many more after that for both of my girls.
|Jeni modeling my very first attempt at English Smocking|
While caring for my father, my friend Marsha took me on respite adventures for lunch or shopping. When she took me on my first quilt shop hop in 2006, I was instantly hooked on quilting! I made several quilts from the shop hop sampler blocks, learning many techniques. Since then my stash has grown and my projects sometimes amaze even me.
When I returned to Kansas in 2012, I joined the Emporia Regional Quilt Guild. In early 2013 I moved yet again, back to northeast Kansas where all of my kids live. I jumped in with both feet, joining the Maple Leaf Quilt Guild in Baldwin City where I chaired the 2015 opportunity quilt and later served as co-program chair for 2016. There are multiple quilt shops nearby to keep me inspired with projects and fabric. I'm still working on completing some of the many UFOs I brought with me on my move from California back to Kansas, and have started and completed many new projects.
In 2015 I started teaching quilting classes at Quilters' Paradise in Baldwin City, Kansas. The list of class offerings has grown and I love sharing my passion with other quilters, both new and experienced.
Over the last few years, I have been working with my granddaughter Jordyn, who definitely has the quilting bug. At 12 years, she was already on her 5th quilt, and has free-motion quilted her first one on my HandiQuilter Sweet 16!
|Jordyn showing off the first quilt she made with me, "Road to California"|
|Grandson Joe showing off the Turning Twenty quilt top that he made!|
Life is full of blessings--family, living in my favorite part of the country, and connecting with new and old friends across the Midwest. And, of course, quilting!