After a long day as director of the GI Lab, Tina Hoss, BSN, CGRN, unwinds by putting fabric on a machine and sewing. Quilting for Tina is a hobby and a stress reliever. She even takes her sewing machine when she travels to Lake of the Ozarks for vacation.

Self Taught

Tina taught herself to quilt eight years ago by reading a book. Within two months, she completed three quilts for Christmas gifts.

As her interest in quilting expanded, so did her equipment. She evolved from using a sewing machine to working with a long-arm machine that allows her to quilt fabric much easier.

Inspiring Hobby

Tina’s enthusiasm for quilting intensified last September when she attended her first quilters retreat. “It was so inspirational. Quilters are so happy and supportive of each other. They lift each other up,” Tina said, smiling.

Group members believe a finished quilt is better than a perfect quilt. Tina’s first quilt depicted the American flag, complete with a fabric crease on the back. But rather than tear out the stitches and start over, Tina left the imperfection, realizing it adds character to the quilt.

Touching Memories

After the quilters retreat, Tina bought a second long-arm machine with computerized features for faster quilting with more design options. She has made over 40 quilts. Most are gifts for family and friends. She likes the uniqueness of presenting a quilt as a gift. “Quilts celebrate occasions, such as weddings and births. They also provide comfort for the sick and memories for loved ones after death,” Tina said. “It amazes me how I can take a pile of T-shirts and make a quilt that touches people so much.” Tina remembers a coworker’s emotional reaction when she saw the memory quilt made from her father’s T-shirts.

Tina sees parallels between quilting and nursing. “Nursing called me, and I feel quilting is pulling me in a direction. Nursing comforts people, and we make people feel good, just like quilting.”

As her love for quilting grows, Tina also plans to teach quilting classes, in addition to making quilts. “There is nothing better than someone giving you a piece of fabric and you returning it as a useable, completely different item,” Tina said.

Quilts Stand Test of Time

Experts believe quilting started with the Egyptians more than 5,000 years ago. During the Depression, women used worn-out clothes to make quilts to survive the cold winters, and throughout the Civil War, handmade quilts warmed the soldiers. Since the 19th century, quilts were made at quilting bees, which served as much a social gathering as a place to make quilts.

Tina hopes to see a resurgence in quilting among younger people. In a 2006 survey, there were more than 27 million quilters, up from 21 million in 2003, but the average age was 59 years old.