Gather Here owner Virginia Johnson opened her shop eight weeks ago to the community of Cambridge, Mass. With a strong childhood interest in hobbies such as sewing, knitting, and crocheting, Johnson went on to earn an MFA in fashion and costume design. After heading the design program at Tufts University for several years, she retired to open the shop.
Her efforts to reach Japan from Massachusetts through the Quilting Bee are personal– Johnson’s roommate from the time she was earning her Masters degree lives in Japan. Originally organizing a charity to donate 25 percent of profits to Japan, Virginia has now joined the international Quilting Bee, which she learned of from The Quilter’s Newsletter. After calling for help on Facebook and receiving positive interest, the Quilting Bee has been a success at the Cambridge shop. The group members brought supplies, designed the quilt, and is now working on the assembly. The quilt could measure between 45 by 45-inches or up to 60 by 60-inches.
Johnson teaches an introductory patchwork quilting class where most people are in their mid to late 20s, but the quilt shop crowd extends to those in their 50s. “A lot of people like it because it doesn’t have to fit the body,” she says. Personally, she likes the design elements of playing with color and shape. “You can create something that’s not only a thing of beauty, it’s a thing of usefulness.”
Regarding the particular quilt for Japan, she realizes that the bigger gift is that “you’re giving someone a piece of your time.”