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Thread and Thimble is an informal sewing club formed as an off-shoot of the quilting clubs of the Spencer County Homemakers. It has evolved into a way for the members to share their knowledge and support one another with their friendship.
“It started out as a few of us ladies wanted to expand our sewing abilities,” said club president Pat Douglas. “We’ve come a long way.”
The club started in 2000. In the beginning, everyone was at different levels in their sewing abilities, including beginners who did not know how to sew and wanted to learn. The groups still accepts and encourages beginners, although many of the members have increased their skill levels over the years.
There is no business meeting for Thread and Thimble, nor is there a formal show and tell. Members share their projects with one another over lunch or during casual conversations. There are five or six regular members and several others who come and go as needed. If only one or two members are planning to come, then there may not be a meeting at all.
At each meeting, members bring their own projects to work on. The extension office has a large table where members can cut patterns and fabric, along with an iron and ironing board. This is part of what makes it easier for some members to come to the meetings to sew.
“When you’re at home you’ve got all these other things pulling you in different directions, “ said Douglas. “This is our time – we go and enjoy time together and get stuff done and help each other.”
“Sewing is my number one hobby,” said Patti Davis, who has taught two of her granddaughters to sew. “I love being able to teach and help people learn to sew.”
Davis and Douglas co-taught an SOS class in 2009 for sewing machine beginners that brought in some new members to Thread and Thimble, including a male member who comes to work on alterations.
“I enjoy being with my friends so much,” said Davis, a founding member of Thread and Thimble. “Meeting new people; seeing the projects that others have done; and being with people who enjoy skills and crafts that I enjoy.”
Member Vicki Rego joined Thread and Thimble when it started because she wanted to learn machine sewing. Rego previously only sewed by hand. She has learned a lot about sewing, but comes to the meetings whether or not she is working on a project.
“I feel like I need to be here,” said Rego, because she enjoys the companionship.
“I think women need more contact with other women,” said Douglas, adding that sewing is a good activity for visiting with friends. “We can sit and talk.”
Virginia Smith, who has been sewing for more than thirty years, joined Thread and Thimble about six years ago, shortly after she moved to Spencer County from Louisville. Rena Baird invited her to join Homemakers when they met at a festival downtown. Smith started with the quilt guild and soon joined the sewing group too.
Smith’s favorite part of Thread and Thimble is the freedom the members have to do their own thing instead of everyone making the same project at each meeting. Members do occasionally decide to work on the same project together, but most often each person works on her own.
Thread and Thimble welcomes newcomers, but the members expect beginners to be willing to help themselves. New members can expect help and instruction from the other members but should be familiar with their project or pattern by reading the directions and sewing machine manual. Thread and Thimble members want to teach others to sew instead of doing the sewing for them.
“We can’t do it for you. We can help with the skills, but you must do the work on your own,” said Douglas.