Design Wall: The Love in a Quilting Workspace

Behind the scenes of Tricia's quilting workspace

Patterson-TriciaName: Tricia Patterson
Title: The Quilting Company Group Editorial Director
Hours per week I spend sewing: If I only had time to… take 2 days each week to dedicate to quilting, making fabric, playing with embellishments or just discovering new designs I’d be thrilled. In reality, I try to squeeze in 4–6 hours of quality time with a playful mind.
My Quilting Style: I am all over the quilting spectrum so it’s hard to identify a preferred style. I love vintage quilts with historical block designs. I enjoy the creativity that overcomes me when I am pulling bits out of my stash boxes of fabric and embellishments and join them with surface design techniques to “do art” quilts. I also have great joy when I’m planning a special quilt that’s just right for my children, another family member or friend. I love exploring different techniques.

Tricia’s Quilting Workspace

Tricia’s Quilting Workspace

A New Quilting Workspace

Part of the excitement of moving to a new home is the opportunity to set up a new quilting workspace. It’s taken 9 months for the renovation of the bonus room to turn it into a dedicated place for my creative time. It’s not as grand as some of those you read about in the 2018 June/July issue of Quilting Arts, but it is my space. I’d like to share one reason my quilting workspace will always be extra special for me.

To begin this story I‘m thinking about the relationship between an older parent and their adult children. You’ll see the reason this is important later. As a parent of adult children, with children of their own, I don’t get a chance to spend as much time with my sons as I’d like. I remind myself that at their age I was also deeply immersed in my children and their activities, managing a household and building a career. It doesn’t leave a lot of extra time. My mother probably didn’t feel I connected with her as much as she’d like me to either. And, I get the feel-sad-for-myself emotions that sometimes come because I don’t get to have quality time with my guys. Then, something comes along to remind me I’m loved and still part of their lives.

 Quilting Table Leg Design for my quilting workspace

Quilting Table Leg Design for my quilting workspace

Made with Love

All my guys pitched in to create my quilting workspace. Quilting has been a large part of our family for so many years that I think my husband and two sons appreciate that the gift they really give me is to have a specific location to spend time with all my stuff. To set up the new quilting workspace, my youngest son contributed the wall surface; my husband laid floor tile, bought and set up the shelving and moved the furniture around several times to get the best use out of the space.

I was talking about the status of my quilting space with my oldest son, Will, and his family during their visit last Christmas. When I mentioned the only thing left to complete the space was a table, Will offered to make me one.

Will at work making a table for my quilting workspace

Will at work.

Will is a mechanical engineer and co-owns a company, Rapid Prototype Engineering, in Indiana. From the questions I’ve asked about what he does at work, I’ve heard his company designs and creates custom parts for a variety of businesses. Cummins Engine, NASCAR and NASA are examples. So, you wonder, how does that fit in with a quilter’s table making? He works with a lot of metal.

Choosing a Design

Will told me to send him a design for my quilting table. After some thought, I decided the tree design on a napkin holder we have would make great table legs for a quilter’s workspace in the mountains.

The tree side of the table leg.

The tree side of the table leg.

Several months later, my husband, Earl, and I traveled to Indiana for a visit. That’s when one of the most precious moments of my life took place.

A Hidden Heart

Earl had spent the day at the shop with Will and at the end of the day I stopped by to pick him up. I walked in, gave Will the usual hug greeting, said hi to his partner, and then… I saw one of the table legs. Ok, tears came to my eyes from the surprise. He had added a heart shape in the metal top of each leg.

The heart in the metal top of each leg.

The heart in the metal top of each leg.

Now, here is the real nugget of my story. Later that day, after my quilting table legs were snuggled into the car to transport home, my husband shared the conversation he had with Will about them. Will told him he added the hearts because “mom always adds one to the quilts she makes for me,” so he put them into my table. (Geez, the tears are welling again, even as I write about it.)

Some more backstory…

Around the time Will left for college I had a logo put on a t-shirt for him. It was a small red heart, placed on the t-shirt front near the location of his heart. I told him he would know I‘m always with him because he had a special place in my heart. So for me, that heart became one of our symbolic bonds of love. I’ve added a quilted heart to my family’s quilts for many years. I just add them to send the message that my quilts are made with love. Now I know they also feel it says, “I love you” as an unspoken message from me.

The Legs of Tricia’s Quilting Table

The Legs of Tricia’s Quilting Table

And…that love is returned to me in so many subtle ways, even though I don’t get the time I’d like to with my sons.

Happy Quilting,

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