Today’s Staff Spotlight finally (finally!) touches base with Jane Hartl, co-owner of Thimbles. Jane has managed to skirt the Staff Spotlight for a few years now. Tammy likes to joke that Jane’s image doesn’t appear on film, but not because she’s some kind of vampire—only because Jane prefers life off camera. Which is very relatable in this day and age!
The reality is you can find Jane teaching lots of classes and hosting tons of events at Thimbles. She’s usually at Clubhouse for their once-monthly meetings, guiding quilters through the block of the month. Right now, clubhouse members are working on the gorgeous Solare Quilt by Bound to be Quilting.
The next monthly event Jane will host is Thimbles Mystery Book Club. We’ll be reading Carol Dean Jones’ Cozy Quilting Mystery series from beginning to end! The series follows Jones’ heroine Sarah and her quilting friends as they solve mysteries and go off on adventures. Each book contains instructions to make the quilt featured on the cover, and quilters will also have the option to make a Karen Montgomery-exclusive project that ties into the book. We’ll also have kits for those interested in the Karen Montgomery project!
If you know Jane, you know she has a quick wit and a sharp sense of humor. Get ready to chuckle and learn more about Jane!
What was your first experience with hand crafting?
I started counted cross-stitch with a passion! Loved it for years, and then I started sewing. I still love cross-stitch, but my eyes do not.
The message board in Jane’s sewing room
When did you learn how to sew?
High school doesn’t count, right? Not when it was just an exercise in frustration?
I started again when my girls were little, with Halloween costumes and home decoration items. Tammy and I took our first quilting class in 2001. Addiction immediately ensued.
Which machine do you sew on at home?
I have a BERNINA 7-series. I consider this machine to be one of my closest friends. The jumbo bobbin, the great hook system, the big bed, and the BUILT-IN DUAL FEED!!! I feel deprived when I am required to sew on something else.
What is the one tool you can’t live without?
Sew many choices, but I think it’s a stiletto. I never sew without one, it’s like an extension of my right hand.
What is your specialty at Thimbles? The thing everyone turns to you for?
It seems to be machine applique and foundation paper-piecing, as well as irreverent humor.
What do you do in your free time?
(Can you use that in a sentence?)
Actually, I read so that I don’t choke people. I’m looking forward to hosting the Mystery Book Club starting in September.
What is your favorite thing you’ve ever made?
Stars Around the Garden, by Julie Hale of Bits ‘n Pieces, in Wayne, Michigan, was a Block of the Month that we did over fifteen years ago. It has lived on my bed ever since.
Do you have a sewn family heirloom you inherited? What is it?
My grandma quilted all her life, all by hand. She made me a Sunbonnet Sue quilt for my high school graduation. She also made quilts for both of my daughters.
What is the best sewing or quilting advice you’ve been given?
A couple of things come to mind. In our early store days, one of our teachers explained why she always pieces with a Microtex/Sharp needle. Because our quilting cottons are woven, it will sew the straightest seam by piercing the fabric thread, rather than moving it aside, like a Universal will.
The other most valuable thing I learned was how to efficiently and accurately measure and cut the borders for a quilt. Ask me for a demo!
Thank you to Jane for agreeing to endure the Staff Spotlight! Catch Jane every month at Clubhouse and, starting in September, every month at Book Club! Book Club members can join a private Facebook group to chat about the book and projects we’ll be quilting as we move through the series.
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