Quilting and bag making for me is more than a hobby. It is a world of passion, art and self-expression.
Sometimes I get the opportunity to go through my quilts and bags, organize them, and take them to a guild or group that has asked me to speak. There, I tell the story of each one of them, all the while encouraging others to express themselves through quilting.
I have an online scrapbook of some of my early quilts. Just like you, I was also a beginner and learned by doing. Some of these first quilts are still my favourites, and like all heirloom projects, they bring back many happy memories.
Since I discovered the world of pattern design I have never looked back. I’ve created a good many quilt patterns, bag patterns and lots of home décor items like runners and pillows.
Although my business began as a hobby it is now a full-fledged operation with our shop, the ABQ Sewing Studio, my Among Brenda’s Quilts line of patterns, and my own line of bag hardware, bag zippers and notions to support bag makers.
As well, (when possible) I hold in-person trunk shows and classes. I teach others how to make bags and quilts in person. I also have an online video class site called Make Bags With Brenda. I have even traveled as far away as China to teach others there about quilting here!
In the beginning, I started working out of the unfinished basement of our home but over the years, as I became more well-known, I converted our basement into a lovely studio space for my sewing and design work. In 2018 things got a bit too tight at home and I broke free of the house and moved into commercial space in Strathroy. It was at first just supposed to be room for me to teach and create my patterns but the public had other ideas, and soon I was bringing in quilting fabrics and supplies. At the time, I was what’s called a sewing Ambassador for Baby Lock Sewing Machines. This was a terrific experience since they provided me with their wonderful sewing and quilting machines to use and blog about. Later, with the store up and running, it made perfect sense to become a Baby Lock Sewing Machine dealer and a repair hub for all makes and models of sewing machines.
With so much going on, and our classroom teaching space being absorbed by fabric and sewing machines, it became apparent that we needed a wee bit more space. Currently, we are hopeful of expanding into the area directly next door, a former woodworker’s shop. Covid has caused the renovation to slow to a snail’s pace, but we are hopeful that 2022 will bring us plenty of room for everything – machine sales and repairs, fabrics, sewing and quilting notions and exciting classes being taught by myself and our extremely experienced staff.
Funnily enough, my design work now takes place at home when I take a weekend or a day off to work without interruption. It’s pretty quiet at our new farm property with only cats Harry and Schnuggie to interrupt me at their meal times.