From teaching to quilting

Witt in spotlight at Sunbonnet Sue’s ‘Pathway Thru the Stars’ annual show

Sequim’s Sharon Witt plans to profile her quilting career in a booth at Sequim Lavender Weekend in Sequim Middle School for the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club's 30th show.

Sequim’s Sharon Witt plans to profile her quilting career in a booth at Sequim Lavender Weekend in Sequim Middle School for the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club's 30th show.

‘Pathway Thru the Stars’

What: 30th annual Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club quilt show

Where: Sequim Middle School, 301 W. Hendrickson Road

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday, July 15-16; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, July 17

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Along with high quality work, you can likely expect a hug from Sharon Witt after meeting her.

The 76-year-old quilter calls herself the “unofficial hugger of the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club.”

Now she’s the “featured quilter” of the quilt club at its 30th show “Pathways Thru the Stars” on July 15-17 at Sequim Middle School.

“I think it’s pretty exciting and a fun opportunity,” she said.

Since joining the club, she’s served as president, led its outreach program Community Quilts, co-wrote a book with friend Norma Herbold about arranging block patterns and participated in dozens of other activities and projects.

“She’s one of those people who talks to everyone and cares about what you’re doing in your life,” says Herbold. “I’ve never seen her without a smile. She’s a real positive influence and she’s really what Sunbonnet Sue’s are all about. You couldn’t replace her for a million dollars.”

Quilting, specifically long-arm quilting, became a passion for Witt toward the end of her teaching career.

She and husband Larry moved here on Fourth of July weekend in 1974 and she spent more than 14 years as a counselor/teacher at Sequim Middle School and about 10 years at Sequim Middle School before retiring in 2000.

Witt said in her last few years teaching, she was able to job-share with another teacher, which freed up more time for quilting and the club.

“I knew when I retired I wouldn’t be good at just sitting around,” she said.

In 1997, her family added onto the house, which now includes her quilting room and her large long-arm sewing machine, which spans the length of the room and has the ability to sew together a quilt top, batting and backing.

That led to her business, SeWitt Custom Quilting, which boomed in the late 1990s, she said.

“It started out pretty fast,” Witt said. “There were only two of us at the time in Sequim and Port Angeles. Now there are a lot of us.”

Witt said the sewing machine makes the process easier for her and more enjoyable.

“I enjoy quilting but not (by hand only),” she said. “The hands don’t work like they used to.”

One feature she particularly likes is how the machine accommodates for the pace regardless how fast or slow you are going.

Some of her recent pieces she’ll display at the show were made with her machine including “Secret Garden,” a tribute to her love of birds and flowers, and “12 months,” which attributes each month to a family member’s hobby or background.

Herbold said her friend has a “remarkable talent for putting things together that you or I might not think about.”

Their book “Wow! I Won the Exchange Blocks,” helps quilters with mismatched pattern blocks find the best arrangement strategies.

“We like to think everyone’s quarter-inch cut is all the same, but it isn’t,” Herbold said.

Witt recently completed a Christmas quilt from blocks she had won and that due to her workload it took a little longer than expected to finish.

But she’s just taking her retirement hobby a little slower paced than she thought.

“I’ll keep doing this until the body stops,” she said.

“I keep hoping to get the ones out of the way, but then a new pattern comes out that excites you.”




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