Kathy and I are often billeted with guild members after my trunk show or teaching engagements. This past week, after having the pleasure of presenting to the Halton Quilters Guild in Burlington, Ontario, we spent our down time with Sue and Peter Curran in their lovely townhouse.
Peter is a retired software developer
It’s always interesting to find out more about our hosts when we travel. Peter is a retired software developer who has had his own companies over his career as well as having worked for others setting up programs for things like medical admitting, aircraft diagnostics and geographic systems.
With a Masters Degree in Mathematics and a major in Computer Sciences he’s a brainy kind of a guy. It was interesting to find out that in 1983/84 he owned one of the first computers.
One made by IBM, a PC-AT with a then whopping 640KB of memory. The stick I’m using in my computer now has 32GB. We’ve come a long way, baby!
Sue is a retired teacher who has taken up sewing
Sue, a retired primary and kindergarten teacher, did some quilting with her mom with scraps when she was a youngster growing up in Moncton. There were lots of moves with her dad working for the airlines – to Dartmouth, Montreal and then to Toronto.
She dabbled and made a sampler 40 years ago in an evening class and has taken up quilting again, prompted by visits to quilt shops during Row by Row in 2015. Her water-themed quilt got her excited about quilting again. Since then she’s not stopped sewing.
She’s mostly self-taught and spends her days doing charity work for her church. Monday’s church group makes articles like school kits, baby kits and more for Canadian Food for Children, a charity run by Dr. Simone. These items go to Guatemala, Hati, and other third-world areas.
Tuesday is spent downstairs in her well-stocked studio where you might find her sewing, embroidering on her Baby Lock Ellisimo or working in her Chocolate Factory (more on that later).
Wednesday is set-aside for the Charity Stitchers group. They create things for hospitalized children, Alzheimer’s and mastectomy patients and for meals on wheels. They are also involved with Victoria Quilts making the bags the quilts are gifted in. Sue made 25 of these just last week. They also sew up wheelchair quilts and puffy hearts pillows for mastectomy patients.
There’s a bit of a break in the routine on Thursdays when Sue heads over with her friends to the Seniors Centre to knit, crochet and sew articles to support the general fund. Shawls, slippers, mitts, and socks are the favorites in the tuck shop.
In the evening you’ll likely find Peter and Sue in their living room with Sue making folded ribbon Christmas Balls that she offers for sale and makes for her nieces and nephews. She’s got the most complete stock of ribbon you are likely to see in any home!
Somehow in her spare time this summer (!) Sue’s made 3 quilts using the Summer Solstice Collection from Northcott. That makes 6 different quilts she’s made using this line. She likes the Celtic Knot design, and with a Scottish background, these quilts make the perfect gifts for family. By the way Sue, Peter is still waiting for his quilt!
With all this top making going on, Sue’s set up a quilting area to finish them off. The interesting this about this is how Sue finances her machine purchases. That’s where the Chocolate Factory in the basement comes in.
Sue’s chocolate factory
Around the end of October, Sue puts away her quilting to gear up for chocolate season.
She started small, with no intention of selling, when she brought molded chocolate to school fundraisers. The staff wanted her to take orders. And from there it’s mushroomed.
Sue attends shows at her church where she sells her wares, including a new product for her, Scottish shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate. Peter plays a role as well. He’s the honorary taste tester!
Sue bags the cookies with 1½ dozen treats per bag. Last year she sold over 100 bags. Orders come in when people find her at the local church show. Her truffles, molded chocolate and chocolate mints are scooped up in a flash. She uses over 1,000 pounds of chocolate for Christmas, Valentines and Easter production.
We made it just in time to see the sewing
All I can say is it’s a good thing we got to Sue and Peter’s home before the end of October when the quilting will be put away and the chocolate starts to simmer!
Happy quilting Sue, and bon appétit to those in Burlington and area who will soon be savoring Sue’s Chocolates!
Get more like this
If you liked this blog, you may enjoy our weekly newsletter. Get more stories like this, keep up with ABQ events, and get a free bag-making tip sheet.