Quilter Spotlight – Sheila Hughes

Sheila Hughes and Karen Matheson

Sheila Hughes (right) and Karen Matheson at the Arts and Crafts Festival in Simsbury, Connecticut.

One of QBB’s most generous monetary and fabric donors, prolific quilter and overall Quilts Beyond Borders champion is our Spotlight Hero this month. Hailing from Massachusetts, Sheila’s enthusiastic dedication is an inspiration for us all. She is a tireless, outgoing, charming volunteer and, I’m proud to say, a new friend, thanks to our mutual love of all things QBB.
When I asked Sheila if I could officially “interview” her, this is what I learned……

I have wanted to quilt since I was about 6 years old as my great grandmother was a quilter. I didn’t really become a quilter until my youngest daughter was a senior in high school-over 35 years after my desire started.

Once I made quilts for all my family members and friends (and found out some gave the quilts to their dogs or when they received a second one they threw out or gave away the first one) I didn’t know what to do but I still wanted to quilt; as luck would have it, a sister worked with a charity in Texas which dealt with sick babies so I started making as many quilts as possible every year for these children at Christmas (often as many as 50 quilts) but then she changed jobs so once again I had no outlet for my quilts. For a number of years I still made quilts but not very many as I was really low on who to give them too.

Then one day my sister called saying her friend in Cleveland, Ohio worked with a group called Quilts for Kids who needed help making quilts. I contacted the Massachusetts chapter and became friends with the coordinator Mary Ann O’Neil, that really got me started making quilts again in greater numbers. Then my brother who had been a missionary in Russia started returning to Russia several times a year so I would give him 20 quilts each time he went. I now have over 150 quilts in Russia (he has also taken some to Cambodia and the Philippines).

One day I bought a quilt magazine for a friend and as I glanced through it there was a page talking about Quilts Beyond Borders… I was all ears. I contacted Karen as soon as possible and have been hooked ever since. Last year I donated about 80 quilts and some cash to help defray shipping expenses. That fateful magazine was all about primitive quilts which are not of interest to me, so it was meant to be that I would find Quilts Beyond Borders.

I am 72 years old and have a humongous supply of fabric and know I can’t live long enough to use it all (and I still like to buy new fabric from time to time) so I have donated about 100 or more yards to Quilts Beyond Borders and plan to give even more this year. 

Having met Karen (such a wonderful person, as is her husband) I am convinced to be with Quilts Beyond Borders as long as I can continue to quilt. Hopefully many more years so my investment in my long arm machine will have been worth it!

Thank you to Sheila and our many generous donors and volunteers! We couldn’t do it without you all!
-Karen Matheson

2 Responses to “Quilter Spotlight – Sheila Hughes”

  1. Louise Hornor Says:

    How wonderful to learn more about Sheila! Thank you so much to her for her generosity 🙂

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I recently found a quilt made by Sheila Hughes, and I had to come here to this site to see what it’s all about! I have the beautiful purple ‘Alaska’ quilt, made by Sheila. I found the quilt in a thrift store in Gilbert, Arizona where I live! Just wanted to say, I think it is beautiful and I am thrilled to have it displayed beautifully in my home. Best of luck with your endeavors!

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