Among Brenda's Quilts


Sandy our Yoga Teacher Sandy, my yoga teacher, often says "if you have a talent, use it; if you know how to do something, you should teach it."  She herself is the perfect example.  She loves yoga, and the way it makes her feel.  For her it is more than physical exercise, it is a mental discipline and spiritual path.  And she loves nothing more than sharing what she does.  My husband and I have taken weekly classes from her for several years, and we have lately remarked that the classes continue to be as challenging now as they were in the beginning.  We are stronger and more flexible as a result of her classes, but we still turn to each other and say,  "Is it just me or are these classes a lot tougher than when we started?"   I get the feeling that Sandy was always at this level -- or who knows how adept she really is? -- but she has just been teaching to us at the level that we can comfortably tolerate.                         

Part of yoga's teaching is that it is good for your health, of course, and that is why it stunned all of her students recently to learn that Sandy has breast cancer.  How did this gentle, loving, physically fit, vegetarian, ultra-skilled relaxer, contract this dreaded disease, we wondered?  What hope is there for any of the rest of us?  We know that there is a hereditary component, and that there can be environmental triggers to cancer; we all know the risk factors and we try to minimize them.  But the final analysis is the same: sometimes bad things happen to very good people.


Our local yoga community was entirely built by Sandy, who came to our rural neighbourhood from the Ottawa area many years ago.  She has trained over a dozen yoga teachers here now in our area.  So when the community discovered that someone so giving had cancer, the response was immediate:  we had to do something.


But what do you do?  Again, Sandy's example was our inspiration.  Do what you love.  Use your talent.  Give it away.  So that's what we did.  When we realized that she would unable to perform yoga classes during the surgery recovery and during any other further treatments, several of those who were trained by Sandy stepped up and offered to teach her classes until she could return.  And they donated the money back to Sandy.   While medical costs are covered, she will be out of work for some time.  So someone else had the idea of putting on a talent auction, during an all day yogathon event, and donate any money raised to her to ease the burden of her recovery. 



So I donated a quilt and a bag I made, along with some baking for a bake sale table.  The quilt was part of a raffle that people could buy tickets on; the bag, a prototype for a new pattern I'm creating, went onto the tables along with dozens of other items that people donated for the silent auction.


When it came time for the draw for the quilt, I was amused to hear the announcer say that the quilt was made by "internationally known" quilter, Brenda Miller.  I guess that is true now that I've got some of my designs spread not only throughout Canada and the U.S. but also Australia and now China.  


It was fun to watch the bids for the yoga bag go up and up during the silent auction.  Of course, many of those who attended were from the yoga community, so there was definitely some interest in that bag.  Here's a picture of a sample of that same bag.  


As the season for Christmas bazaars is upon us, I would encourage you to use your talents as well.  Take one of my patterns that you found enjoyable to make, gather some of your stash together and make it -- then give it away to a charity or local fundraiser.  If you find the right quilt, or the right bag, for your event, it is sure to be a hit.


If you have a talent, use it.




Written by Brenda Miller — December 01, 2014


I'm Brenda, and I love designing patterns that help you create beautiful, functional bags and quilts.

These patterns are unique, well-illustrated, simple to follow, and fun to sew.

We also carry my own line of bag zippers, finished designer bags, bag hardware kits, specialty fabrics, and notions, so you're able to easily find what you need to do a superb job on all of your ABQ projects.

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