“No! It can’t be so! ” These were the words of quilters around the city when the news broke: Strawberry Patches was closing. For good.
I bought my Bernina virtuosa from Suzanne, the owner of Strawberry Patches, in the summer of 2000, followed quickly by the cabinet when I realized how much simpler it would make things. I learned how to quilt there — My sisters-in-law had talked me into starting a little quilt while I was visiting, and I had brought it back home with a borrowed sewing machine. The closest quilt shop was Strawberry Patches, and I began to take my little quilt in at each stage, not knowing what to do next. I remember holding it up at the cutting table, and how they would give me gentle suggestions – how about a narrow strip of red here? Or a dark blue here? And I would come back again the next weekend with more questions. I was an insatiable novice and they were my gateway to a world I’d never experienced before. It was a time of healing for me, as I’d just been through a stressful time, and wanted nothing more than to hang out with other quilters, taking classes and talking about fabric, thread and types of batting.
I never was a traditional quilter: I was drawn to art quilting from the start, and began creating my own designs. I ordered books and combed the internet to see what other art quilters were doing. I began to travel to workshops and art quilt retreats to learn from my favorite artists. But I would always visit Strawberry Patches to pick up extra fabric or thread, to browse the shelves bursting with colorful fabrics and check out the new quilts on the walls.
Strawberry Patches has been my touchstone, a place where I took those first halting steps into a world that has given me more than I can express. I will miss it very much.
To read more about Strawberry Patches: http://www.strawberry-patches.com.