Sew good: Pauline's hobby success stitched up
PAULINE Rogers reckons she and husband Rob could go to just about any town in Australia and have someone to share a cup of tea with.
It is quilting that has taken the 63-year-old Toowoomba-ite not just around Australia but around the world. And it's only going to get bigger, with plans underway for two studios at her Caparlah home - one to run classes in and the second in which to film YouTube clips of her self-designed quilting tools, tips and methods.
Pauline, of Pauline's Quilters World, is both surprised and overjoyed that what began as a hobby has turned into such a success.
"It's taken us by storm," she said.
Pauline took up quilting as simply "something to do with her time" more than 30 years ago. With no sewing background, she began quilting with needle and thread. Having borrowed a sewing machine, she decided she needed to buy her own and, before she knew it, she was being asked to teach.
Queensland Arts Council saw some of her students' work and asked her to take her classes to the outback, which she did for about six years in the 1980s, travelling to isolated spots like Longreach and Mount Isa. She has since been a featured tutor at the Australasian Quilting Symposiums and the Stitches and Craft Shows.
She and Rob ran a shop in Toowoomba for 20 years from 1996 on the site of what is now Northpoint Shopping Centre.
When the shop was bought, Pauline thought she'd retired.
Little did she know she would be travelling the country for the next eight years, teaching quilting, writing a book on her self-designed Quilt as You Go method and inventing tools for the hobby.
She featured at 39 events last year nationwide, as well as tutoring in Bali. She has just returned from America, visiting Houston and Los Angeles, introducing the Americans to her initiatives ... and they love it, with plans underway for Pauline to wholesale her goods overseas.
"Quilting is massive over there. It's a lifestyle. People through the generations have sat and their grandmother's knee and learnt quilting," Pauline said.
And the hobby is growing in Australia, with Pauline now teaching her second generation of quilters.
"Our business journey was never planned; it just happened," Pauline said. "To love a craft and be able to turn it into a really good business is just wonderful."
What makes quilting so appealing, Pauline believes is creating something yourself for which there is no right or wrong, but which creates a connection with others, whether it is the people you are quilting with or for whom the quilt is destined.
"Women really get lost in it," she said. "It's the best therapy. They fall in love with the people and the materials and the design. It's a really personal thing."
You can find out more about quilting and Pauline's innovative methods at Toowoomba's second annual Craft Alive from 9am-4pm on February 10-12 at the Clive Berghofer Recreation Centre.
Call Pauline's Quilters World on 4696 9825 or go to www.pqw.com.au.