COLUMBIA — Quilting is all about friendship, food and generosity.
Ten women who regularly attend a Friday night quilting session agree on that. They have been getting together to sew quilts for at least five years — bringing food, ideas and stories to share.
What: Grand opening of Quilt 4 U
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: 908 Suite E, Vanderveen Plaza, Range Line Street.
For more information, call 443-7858.
"Quilting is kind of a camaraderie of getting together to make new friends and meet new people, and share tips and techniques," said long-time quilter Marilyn Wine.
These women began at Miss Millie's, a former quilt shop on Buttonwood Drive that held the weekly Sit and Sew. After the store closed in September 2007, they met in a member's home.
Now, they have a new place to quilt.
Wine is opening Quilt 4 U in Vanderveen Plaza on Range Line Street. The grand opening will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Since January, Wine and her husband have been painting and carpeting the space, putting up shelves and purchasing inventory.
Sit and Sew members volunteered their time to help her unload bolts of material and put together sample quilt patterns to be displayed around the store.
"It's been kind of a family and friend project," Wine said.
The shop has 3,600 square feet with a room for two computerized Statler long-arm quilting machines, and another full of fabric bolts in batiks, Orientals and traditionals. The main area also has a sofa for customers to sit on while scanning books and patterns.
A TV has even been installed, though Wine joked it was put there so husbands could watch sports while their wives are shopping.
Wine has already assembled 400 to 500 bolts, with more arriving weekly. She predicts that the store could hold between 4,000 and 6,000 bolts. The store will also sell notions — patterns, supplies and other sewing essentials.
Wine was careful to produce a welcoming, comfortable environment in the store. Its soft blue walls frame a fireplace in the middle of the space. Shelves are arranged in "rooms" to separate fabrics by color, pattern and design; a nook with a bed frame showcases new quilts.
Tables are set up at the back of the store so people can bring their own sewing machines. Wine hopes to offer classes about a month after the opening.
"We want it to be like coming to someone's home," she said. "Make our store your home."
Now that the store is nearly ready to open, Sit and Sew members have been meeting there every Friday. During a recent meeting, the women ate ice cream bars and turkey salad while swapping tales about their grandchildren and complaining that they never have enough time to sew.
"I didn't realize until I went to Miss Millie's that (quilting) was a social thing," Terri Crane said. "Everybody's very encouraging."
Elaine Walker, another member, said she loves the show-and-tell portion of the meeting, where everyone shares ideas and seeks feedback.
Along with friendship, quilting encourages a measure of generosity. The quilters put dedication and care into each quilt, then give most of them away as gifts or donate them to charity.
"It's joyful to give them away," Pam Martin said, who has put together 50 quilts since 2008. Of those, she has made 12 quilts for her nieces and nephews.
Crane described a quilt she made as a wedding present. She said she liked the finished product so much that she held on to it for almost two years before gifting it.
During those years, Crane never forgot that it was for someone else.
"I looked at it and said, it's not my quilt to keep," she said.
The group is generous with each other as well, sharing ideas, supplies and fabric.
"If you don't have something, somebody else does," Crane said.
Wine agreed: "It's kind of not my quilt store — it's everybody's quilt store. Everyone has a part."