A Chicago Public Library patron who learned to quilt in Woodson Regional Library's Maker Lab has gone on to work at a local quilting store, The Quilter’s Trunk in Beverly, and recently made the cover of a Better Homes & Gardens Quilt Sampler magazine showcasing local quilt shops.
What started as a quilting workshop for African American Heritage Month in February 2018 turned into a monthly basic quilting class at Woodson Regional. The library provided a community space where people gathered every month to learn basic techniques to get started on their first quilt.
“The growth of the basic quilting program is due to the Washington Heights community. Community members brought their ideas, dreams, experiences and goals to our library,” librarian and Maker Lab instructor Stephanie Miller said. "Originally, Woodson Regional Library’s Maker Lab focused on 3D printing and vinyl cutting, but we noticed that many of our library patrons were interested in traditional forms of art making. We wanted to create accessibility for our patrons who wanted to learn how to sew, but didn’t have access to sewing machines or a paid instructor.”
With support from the Maker Lab and a partnership with Trinity United Church of Christ, the library offered instruction, sewing machines, and quilting supplies and resources.
"Social engagement is a large part of library events, but informal learning and self-empowerment are also key," Miller said. "Our quilting class has become that source of empowerment and learning for our patrons."
Patron Sharon Frost started attending the Maker Lab's quilting classes during summer 2018. In the basic quilting class, she learned how to make a rail fence quilt. She went on to complete her first quilt top.
Frost started taking classes at The Quilter’s Trunk in Beverly and then took a job there.
“Because I took the basic quilting classes at the library, I was able to learn how to quilt and find a job at The Quilter’s Trunk,” Frost said. Her success hasn’t stopped there. She recently made the cover of a Better Homes & Gardens Quilt Sampler magazine showcasing local quilt shops.
“I wanted to thank you, Stephanie,” Frost said. "I’m very grateful to have taken the basic quilting classes at Woodson.”
The Woodson Regional Library Maker/Experience Lab is made possible by the generous support of Comcast and the Chicago Public Library Foundation.