Staff Spotlight: Maren Cunnington, Sales Associate

Today’s Staff Spotlight focuses on Maren Cunnington, AKA @pinkhairmama! Chances are you’ve ogled Maren’s quilts at Thimbles, as she’s responsible for many of the samples on display in the store. It’s ironic, given that Maren first came to Thimbles obsessed with sewing clothing and a little quilt shy. Now, she’s constantly working on a quilt or two—whether for herself, her family, or for Thimbles! She’s also known in these parts for sewing lots of incredible bags (and inspiring us to sew some as well). 

Maren has quickly become an invaluable member of the Thimbles family. We look to her for color guidance, her self-professed sunny demeanor, and her enthusiasm for choosing the right fabric pairings to inspire Thimbles’ customers. Let’s get to know Maren! And learn where the “pinkhairmama” moniker came from…

What was your first experience with hand crafting?

My grandmother sewed a lot - halloween costumes and clothes for her granddaughters and baby blankets for family shelters. When I was 10, I had a baby cousin on the way and we made a quilt for her.

When did you learn how to sew? What did you make?

I didn’t sew again for a very long time. A MOPS (moms of preschoolers) group I belonged to did a sewing day together. We just made flannel rags for burp cloths and cleaning, but that day I went from not even knowing what a bobbin was to topstitching my rags with decorative stitching. I was HOOKED. From there, I made almost solely garments for myself and my family until I started at Thimbles and became equally hooked on quilting.

Maren’s happy place

What machine do you use at home?

I’m a Baby Lock girl! I have a Chorus as my sewing machine, plus an Acclaim serger and the basic cover stitch.

Maren sewing on her Baby Lock Chorus for this year’s Thimbles’ Employee Sew-In Day

What is the one tool you can’t live without?

Printed washi tape for seam guides and half square triangles

Maren twinning with her friend Sarah in matching handmade Soccer Mom sweatshirts

What is your favorite thing to make?

This is so hard. For garments, I love making leggings for myself and my sister. They’re never too short when I make them myself! It’s also so fun to be able to make custom garments to wear to Disney World. We match as a family, but in something no one else in the Parks has! 

But I also love giving quilts that I’ve made. There is nothing quite like seeing my boys asleep, snuggled up in a quilt or blanket that I made just for them.

What’s your specialty at Thimbles? The one thing everyone turns to you for?

I think that outside of my generally sunny disposition (no, I’m not being sarcastic), I love choosing fabrics for projects. Picking colors and textures is something that I’ve always been good at and loved doing, even if it’s just for home decor. But now I get to do it everyday I’m at work!

Grandstand Quilt from Fresh Fat Quarter Quilts using Rifle Paper Company’s Bramble fabric collection

Your bio on the Thimbles' About Us page talks about the bags you’ve made. Do you have any favorites?

I love making tote bags. A girl can never have too many bags! My go-to favorite is a tote from the Noodlehead book made in Rifle Paper’s Bramble canvas fabrics

What do you like to do in your free time?

Free time? That’s funny. When I’m not working, I’m busy being a soccer mom. Any down time at home is either spent in my sewing room or reading. I love reading and am always open to book recommendations!

What is your most favorite thing you’ve ever made?

Last year we took a family trip to England and Ireland. I visited the Liberty flagship store in London and came home with fabric for a Liberty quilt. It’s one of my absolute favorite makes. 



What is the best sewing or quilting advice you’ve been given?

I feel like everyday, I learn something new. But the best thing I’ve learned is to not be afraid to try something new. Someone reminded me the other day that I once swore I could never make a quilt, and now I’m so proud of my quilts!

Where did the handle “pinkhairmama” come from?

When I first joined Instagram for the Love Notions retreat, I had pink hair. And obviously I’m a mom.

Thank you to Maren for showing us some of the beautiful projects she’s quilted and sewn over the years. You can find Maren at Thimbles, ready to help with any color or fabric suggestions you might need. 

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