Among Brenda’s Quilts and Bags has been around since 2007 when I began designing quilts and bags for sale locally when I was the ‘designer in residence’ at The Marsh Store in Coldstream, ON. From there things got entirely out of hand. As an vendor at Quilt Market I was exposed to fabric manufacturer Hoffmann California Fabrics and worked with them to design free downloadable patterns for their website. Many gorgeous quilts resulted which got me noticed in the greater quilting community. After being accepted as a designer by three large distributors in Canada and the US things really got busy.
My patterns have been published in numerous magazines and currently I’m working with Northcott Fabrics to produce my patterns using their gorgeous fabrics. Watch for two this spring - the Storage Solutions Bucket Bag and The Bevy Bag. It’s been a busy few years, and as of 2020 I have created over 100 patterns. In 2014 and again in 2015 I was invited by the Chinese Government to help them introduce quilting to China where it’s virtually unknown. I represented Canada at a huge trade-show in the fabric capital of Shaoxing near Shanghai. There I met with quilting representatives from Taiwan, Japan, China, Australia, the USA and other countries. I lectured on quilting in Canada at the local university, taught basic technique classes to high school teachers who were introducing quilting as art in the school system and I had my own quilting show. It was a whirlwind but a good one.
My grandmother Marie used to say that there's nothing like a trip to expand one’s horizons. After China anything seemed possible. I think that’s why I took my business out of my home studio to our location for the new ABQ Sewing Studio (Home of Among Brenda’s Quilts) located at 77 Thomas St. in Strathroy, ON. Like most of my other ventures, the seed that started this latest journey, was a tender one. My thought was that it would be great to have more space to design, to teach, to film videos and to hold my overflowing stock of bag zippers (they are part of my bag making line). With my brother Ralph’s help, we took a dark, dank, dilapidated rental and transformed it into the bright and exciting quilting shop we have today.
Coming from a family that believes that hard work pays off has also fuelled the fire behind this latest venture. I opened the door anticipating having a studio and teaching location for my business, and after two years of being open things changed. We have expanded to carry many bolts of fabric (I’m told I have a great eye for fabric), a robust selection of threads and a huge wall of notions. My vision of a large, bright teaching space has not altered with these changes. We love our classes and offer a wide and exciting assortment. Anything from hand quilting basics for the slow stitching crowd, garment sewing for the fashion minded, bag making for my peeps and classes for quilts and other quilted items hosted by a variety of fine teachers. My thought was, there are so many things you can do with fabric and thread, so why limit yourself to one type of project? The sky’s the limit to creativity.
In support of this belief and as a former Baby Lock Ambassador in Canada we became a Baby Lock sewing machine retailer last January. The Baby Lock motto is 'For the Love of Sewing’. That’s what we are all about, from the patterns I design, the classes we host to the sewing machines we sell. It’s all supported by a network of great people like our loyal and new customers, our terrific staff and by the love and support of family.
Thanks to you all for being my inspiration!
Our hours are Tues - Sat. 10 am - 4pm.