Staff Spotlight: Tammy Newton, Co-owner of Thimbles Quilts

The last year of operating Thimbles Quilts has really highlighted the importance of our community. Transitioning to hosting online classes and nurturing spaces where we can congregate and share our sewing (the Thimbleful of Sewists and Crafters group on Facebook has been a lovely port in the quarantine storm) have been blessings in this strange time.

You might say the fabric of Thimbles is made up of a very special patchwork of people, each with their own unique embellishments! 

With that in mind, we return to our Staff Spotlights! In the past we interviewed Char Roon, one of our Sales Associates, resident Kimberbell expert Joyce Beenes, and Sales Manager Extraordinaire Kara Harris. Today it’s time to get to know Tammy, Co-owner of Thimbles Quilts and a longtime sewist!

 

Q: What was your first experience with hand crafting? 

I was a Bluebird and Campfire girl. My mother was the leader. One of the earliest craft projects was an open-weave dish cloth that we decorated with yarn. I remember threading the plastic needle and weaving the needle in and out of the large holes in the cloth. The project took longer than the leaders expected and I was one of the only girls that finished the project.

 

Q: When did you learn how to sew? 

My mother taught me to sew when I was about 10. She was taking classes at Stretch and Sew Fabrics. I had an entire wardrobe of mix and match items. I started by making my own shorts and tops. Eventually, I even made my own bathing suits—no strap and one strap models! 

 

Q: Which machine do you sew on at home? 

My mother had a Sears Kenmore sewing machine that was in a cabinet in the utility room. The power control was attached to the side of the cabinet, near my thigh. To this day, if I am sewing and feel something to the right of my thigh, it reminds me of sewing on that powerhouse of a machine.

 

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

The desktop needle threader for hand work or the automatic needle threader. Or the needle threader built into the sewing machine.

 

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

I am one of the owners, and the resident expert on the sewing machines and the embroidery software. But sometimes, I wonder if people aren’t coming in to hear me sing to the music or for my one-woman comedy show.

 

Q: What do you do in your free time? 

 I started taking piano lessons in September 2020.  I really enjoy my time at the piano.

Q: What is your favorite thing you’ve ever made? 

Old Glory from Summer Weekend (Blackbird Designs), a hand applique, hand quilted quilt. I started on the first anniversary of 9/11 and put my last stitch in on the 5 year anniversary. 

Old Glory Quilt by Tammy Newton

 

Q: Do you have a sewn family heirloom you inherited? What is it? 

My husband’s grandmother gave us a few quilts from the 1940s.  They were sewn by her mother. When her sons were away in WWII, she quilted to keep herself from worrying about their return. They all did return.


The Lone Star Quilt made by Mary Ellen Peek

 

Q: What is the best sewing or quilting advice you’ve been given? There is no such thing as the quilt police. If you are unhappy with the way your project is turning out, put it aside and work on something else. After some time away from your project, you won’t be able to find the areas that bothered you before.

Quilt by Mary Ellen Peek for her son

 

Close up on quilt made by Mary Ellen Peek for her son

 

Have a question about your sewing machine? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us online or give us a call at (815) 836-8735.

 

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