Tu-Na Quilts: How I spent my winter

Actually, the title should read “Meet Karen: The Newest Member with the Biggest Mouth.”

I spent most of this past winter in sunny Arizona sitting indoors at my computer. However, that’s what I get for joining my village’s quilting group at my Arizona home and opening my mouth.

machine 1a

This donated Pfaff Grandquilter would make a good starting machine for our group. We are fundraising and saving for a Gammmill to eventually replace it.

The group had just been donated a Pfaff Grandquilter machine and most of the members were opposed to accepting it. “Are you kidding me!” I exclaimed as Marie told me at aerobics. So I attended the next meeting in early January, opened my mouth, and ended up chairing a committee to research if other retirement villages have a quilting/sewing room or a longarm. To make a long story short, I gave my report at the following week’s meeting and convinced the membership to vote (62 to 14) in favor of accepting the machine contingent on us securing an area from the HOA (Home Owners Association) to put it. 

quilts 16b 2015

This quilt was made by a member of the group. The pic was included in the presentation.

I must have been rather convincing or naïve since I ended up chairing the committee to write the proposal and a power point presentation to present to the HOA board of our village. Approximately 400 hours later I handed the village manager a 7 page proposal (complete with research and footnotes) with 11 attachments (including three floor plans which my interior designer daughter did free for us) plus two manuals detailing all the information necessary for starting and operating a longarm quilting program and (drumroll, please) a Textile Arts Studio. Now, it had been no small feat to get a group of 9 women together weekly to talk about how we wanted to run these programs, agree about it, and stay on  task.  Needless to say the 14 members against this proposal made life rather stressful for me as I would return home from our weekly quilting meetings having felt like I had been used for target practice.

quilts d2a 2016

The quilting group presently stores their machines and supplies in cabinets in a small closet in one of the meeting rooms that they get to use twice a week for a few hours. My naiveness continued as I was given the honors of presenting our proposal to the April HOA board meeting. With about 100 people in attendance, I made our plea and ended the power point presentation with “We ask you to consider bringing the quilters out of the closet and into a room that our village can be proud of.” They tabled it.

Quilts 5a 2014

Each year our village holds a quilt show and displays over a hundred quilts made by members. This pic was included in the presentation and shows two quilts made by members.

And so we waited. Three weeks later we were informed of a room that would be big enough for the longarm machine but not much more. We were hoping for a much larger room so we could create a real studio where we could hold a variety of classes to engage quilters of all levels and interests and house other sewing machines. But at least we can begin the longarm program. We felt appreciative but disappointed. I’ve since heard rumblings from the membership stating “We’ll have Karen do it again next year asking for a bigger room.” But I think Karen will want to quilt next year if she can keep her mouth shut.

Linking to Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts Sew Fresh Quilts

and SoScrappy


and Lea Anne at Podunk Pretties





24 thoughts on “Tu-Na Quilts: How I spent my winter

  1. Cindy

    What a lot of work you put into your presentation. I just keep thinking of all the quilting you could have done in that time. At least you already have a lot of the background information for next years presentation…


  2. JanineMarie

    Oh, my, you go, girl! Now you’ve got your foot in the door, er, room! I bet they come around next year. Just wait until everyone gets the opportunity to try out the machine. That will change some minds about resisting. I do hope you get more time to quilt next year, though.


  3. pennyguglie

    My sister in law lives in a retirement community that has a sit down quilting machine and a room for fiber arts. It is a lifeline for some of the women who use that as a meeting place for friends. They have a large building with lots of space. They also have a yearly craft sale to fund the craft buildings. A lot of supplies are donated by people who have more stash than they can use or are beyond being able to use it. Hope your quilting machine works out, but I think you will spend a lot of time setting tension for other people.


    1. Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats Post author

      We were concerned about that tension issue so we designed the program to have two people in attendance (buddy system) at least in the beginning during the training period. We started out even before I gave the proposal and presentation by having two people taught by the owners to use the machine. Now one of them (Co-Coordinator) teaches another person (apprentice) and once the apprentice has been trained and met the guidelines for advancement they become a “quilting artist” and will be able to work on their own and if they want teach others. It works and makes sense on paper but we will see how it works in practice.


  4. Deborah Brock

    I am SO impressed! Your story was detailed in such a cute dialogue. i could visualize you at the meetings — then going home to destress, talk about the meeting and eat something rewarding ( something sweet your mom made). Congrats on so many levels. Proud of you. Wish i had a talent and the passion and the voice you have!


  5. Lara B.

    Your organizational abilities and passion carried the day Karen! I’m so impressed by how much work you put into this and how you persevered! You’ve accomplished something wonderful and it’s sure to grow! Bravo! 🙂


  6. Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts: How I spent my winter | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

  7. Sandra

    I know when you told me this story, it reminded me why I will never live in a HOA community…to be given this GIFT and have a committee tell you basically no…thank goodness you put so much effort and time and your soul into such a professional presentation (in which the quilts are STUNNING examples)..makes me furious that the Arts have to always be fought for. Kudos to you for taking time away from your own creativity to get the quilters out of the closet. 🙂


  8. Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts: You’ve Got Mail | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

  9. Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts: Preee…senting Tu-Na | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

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