We're often asked, "How did Traveling Quilters start?”
As an employee of TRW, Pam belonged to their Travel Club and had the opportunity to escort tours both domestically and internationally. During that time, Pam had also joined the South Bay Quilters Guild and became their Travel Chairman. Besides organizing the usual one-day bus trips for the guild, she ran a weekend trip for them to Fresno to see a quilt show. That was the precursor to the Traveling Quilters.
Pam and Lynn worked together at TRW. While chatting one day, their topic of conversation veered to what they wanted to do when they retired (which at that time was a long way off). The answer for both of them was they wanted to be able to combine their two favorite things - traveling and quilting. Later that night, Lynn called Pam and said, “Let’s offer a tour service for quilters and call it the Traveling Quilters." Just like that, Traveling Quilters was formed!!
Our first trips are something we look back on and laugh about now. For our first retreat, we rented a house in Big Bear and had eight paying customers. Arlene Stamper taught a weekend workshop on Values. It was a great time and everyone enjoyed themselves. The weekend was a success, but there was one small glitch: we had each paid our own way for the weekend which was substantially more than what we charged our customers!! We definitely needed to work on our pricing.
For the first four years, we ran the business in our spare time, on a shoestring budget. In 1994, we added partner Sue Glass. The three of us worked together, growing and expanding Traveling Quilters. Sue retired in 2014 after being with us for 20 years. So now it’s back to just the two of us overseeing the company.
In the past 32 years, we have conducted over 250 trips. We have gone several times to Paducah and Houston. Other destinations have included the Vermont Quilt Festival; Baltimore/Washington, D.C./Philadelphia (yes, that memorable trip in September 2001); Hawaii; Seattle (twice); the Sisters Quilt Show in Oregon (three times); Denver; Washington, D.C. and Williamsburg; Colorado; Nashville and Memphis; Lowell, Minnesota; Iowa; Wisconsin; Charleston and Savannah. We’ve led weekend trips throughout California; day trips all over Southern California; and lots of retreats in Big Bear and Temecula. We are also proud to be the tour guide for bus trips during the Road to California Quilters’ Conference and Showcase.
All of our trips are fun and memorable but what has to be our favorite part are the friendships we’ve made along the way with some wonderful quilters (and some non-quilters too!). We’ve also enjoyed watching over and over again people meeting for the first time on our trips and become lasting friends.