by Kelli Nemec
with excepts from a history of the group by Darlene Miller
Darlene Miller struggles with hearing loss in recent years. She has no TV. She doesn’t listen to music or radio. Her house is completely silent. She reminds us to take care with our ears so we don’t miss out on all of life’s amazing sounds. When she feels this loss the most, she sits down at her sewing machine. She says she can always rely on it to speak to her, with every stitch she takes.
This year, I had the pleasure and honor to spend a day with the ladies of Queen Valley Sharing Circle, led by the powerhouse know as Darlene Miller. This was an extra special bee, as they were celebrating their 20th anniversary of the group. In their most recent sewing season, the group has donated a phenomenal 113 quilts! It was a treat to spend the day with them. I was especially impressed with their skill at binding the quilts by rolling the backing neatly to the front (after careful trimming), pinning, and sewing a beautifully finished edge.
Excerpts from a History of Sewing and Quilting in Queen Valley 1972-2006, by Darlene Miller:
The Sharing Circle (a charity group) and the Queen Valley Scrap Rats (a chapter of the Arizona Quilt Guild) have a long history in Queen Valley. It all started in 1972 when Queen Valley was in the early stages of development. Tuesday mornings were men’s golf day. While the men golfed the women would get together to sew, share and meet their new neighbors. The sewing groups grew in number as the community grew, reaching a total of five groups at the height of the sewing interest. One morning each month all the neighborhood groups would gather at the Recreation Hall and share their handiwork and recipes.
The Tuesday morning sewing group on Sahuaro Drive was named the SEW and SOS.
This sewing group, and others, took on some wonderful projects for charity, including making quilts for bunk beds at Camp Mak-a-Dream (a summer camp for kids who have or have had cancer), and making lap quilts for the nursing home in Florence.
In 1999, with sewing and quilting interest on a high, Sharing Circle was organized. In 2003, some of the ladies from Sharing Circle organized the Queen Valley Scrap Rats as a chapter of the Arizona Quilt Guild.
The Sharing Circle is now an active group of about 15+ enthusiastic quilters. Their project the past few years has been to make around 75 quilts each year that are given to local children in need and AZ Blankets 4 Kids.
In the years since 2006 through 2017, the Sharing Circle continues with their goal of creating around 75 quilts for local groups and AZ Blankets 4 Kids. The group of dedicated volunteers include those who make the quilt tops, the ladies that sandwich, to those that tie, and finally, to those that bind the quilts. They are each dedicated to the mission of helping those less fortunate, all the while enjoying their part of the process, as well as sharing a fun day of creativity and comradeship with the group. It is always a fun day with laughter and the once-a-month wonderful potluck lunch.
All that changed in 2018, when Mary Fagerquist challenged the group to make 100 quilts! And, they did!!!
About the Sharing Circle – any one interested in being a part of this fun, productive group, is welcome – whether or not you sew. We have a lot of jobs and need all levels and kinds of expertise. Come join us for a fun rewarding day, every Monday, during November through March.
Thank you for sharing the day with us! It was a joy to learn from you, laugh with you, sew alongside you, and share a delicious meal together. Let’s do it all again next March!