by Jessica Plunkett of Maeberry Square Quilts
Quilters are multifaceted by nature. In order to make a quilt, one must be an artist, a mathematician, and a curator of fabrics. It’s hard to imagine that within this uniquely talented niche there could be — a further sub-niche? But it’s true! One particular small subset of quilters is running, and we don’t just mean their stitches. Running Quilters are popping up everywhere and they are uniting. And the parallels between the two hobbies are undeniable! Check out what makes these two a match made in heaven.
How Quilting and Running Compare
Training for a race is a lot like using a quilt pattern. Some people must follow the pattern and the training plan exactly; there’s a sense of comfort having a game plan spelled out for you. Others need their quilts and their running to be more organic; a loose idea of a design and a general weekly running goal is enough to keep their spirit alive. The two hobbies are enough alike that a person can approach both in a similar way, depending on what makes them feel good!
Both hobbies can be solitary activities. You can stitch a quilt or run a mile by yourself, which can be appealing for those who have to fit in both hobbies in small bits of available time. But there’s also a communal aspect as well! Great joy comes from meeting other quilters or other runners and sharing sewing time or running a few laps together.
The stars aligned for a few quilters who met up at QuiltCon 2020 in Austin. We shared a few early morning miles on the trail (and even a few miles in the rain), where much of the conversation was around quilting. It brought balance to the busy conference days and set a positive tone for the entire event. Many of those who participated, aptly dubbed the “Running Quilters,” have forged new friendships that will last many stitches and many miles together!
And now, it’s time for a little game we like to call. . .
Match the Running Tool to the Sewing Tool
There are lots of comparisons to be drawn between the tools needed for running and sewing. Test your knowledge and see if you can figure out which tool corresponds to which. No peeking!
a. Running Shoes
1. Long-arm machine
b. Sports Bra
2. Sewing Machine
c. GPS-Enabled Watch
4. Seam Ripper
f. Athletic Socks
Ready for the Answers?? Here we go!
Running shoes = Sewing Machine.
These two incredible pieces of technology are the backbone of their respective hobbies. Running shoes and sewing machine technology make the dream work.
Sports Bra = Thread.
Without them, the show cannot go on. We all know what happens when we use poor quality thread or sports bras. Make a wise investment.
GPS-Enabled Watch = Long Arm Machine.
A GPS-enabled watch allows a runner to see their distance in real-time. That data can be uploaded and the runner can visually see their run on a map. Longarm quilters who use computer technology can see visually see the stitch pattern that is applied to the quilt. Mostly, with either tool, it looks like a bunch of squiggly lines.
Strava = Instagram.
Strava is a social network for athletes. Instagram is a social network for quilters (really, it’s just for us, isn’t it?!). It’s a great way to make connections.
Rundies = Seam Ripper.
Rundies (running underwear) and the seam ripper are tools you don’t want to admit that you need, but you need them. Always.
Athletic Socks = Fabric.
Running socks are one of the most personal choices you make. Thickness and height are key features that runners are looking for to fit their personal needs. With fabric, finding the right colors, patterns, and hand of the fabric are key features to fit their personal needs.
Jessica Plunkett is a quilter, pattern designer, lecturer, and teacher from Des Moines, Iowa. She shares her work on Instagram (@maeberrysquare) and her blog Maeberry Square. Check it out! For running and quilting inspiration, follow @runningquilters on Instagram.