Sewing circle binds friends together

May 1—ASHLAND — The women who meet at Best Friends Fabric and More are stitching together more than quilts. They are stitching together lifelong friendships.

The store, at 2007 Carter Ave., offers quilters, seamstresses and crafters a space each day to work on projects of their own or as a group. The sit-and-sew groups are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, usually drawing different participants each day. Cost is $5 and participants bring their own sewing machine and projects.

"It's like an old-fashioned sewing circle," shop owner Tara Koppenhaver said. She purchased the store last year from Louise Stidham who called her shop Penny's Quilt Shop.

Those who meet on Tuesdays have given their group a name: Seam Rippers Quilt Club. As a group, the women were working on a log cabin quilt that will be raffled for charity. They agree it's helpful to sew and quilt together.

"When you're friends in the quilting world, you help each other," Flatwoods resident Marcia Zachen said.

Kathy Dawson of Ashland added, "If you don't know something, there's always someone who knows how to do it."

"This is a great group of friends," Ellen Surgalski of Ashland said. "We're real close and we do a variety of quilts. I like to see what other people are working on."

Karen Hinkle has a special reason for looking forward to her Tuesday sewing group.

"I'm an only child and my friends are really important to me," the Ashland woman said. "I'm sad if I can't come."

Others, like Sharon Hearne of Ashland, worked on a diamond painting. The craft is similar to paint-by-number sets but using small, colored stones instead of paint. Used in art therapy, diamond painting is a stress buster and the process is considered meditative. Hearne said she finds it relaxing, but she also sews and quilts.

However, if you don't quilt, there are other activities offered at the shop, Koppenhaver said, noting the store offers classes in card making, T-shirt quilt making, painted barn squares and classes about specific quilting and sewing techniques. Koppenhaver said class schedules can be seen at the shop's Facebook page.

If you don't sew at all but would like to, Koppenhaver teaches a beginner's class on Saturday mornings.

In addition, the store offers sewing machine repair and scissors sharpening and space can be rented to present classes, Koppenhaver said.

Despite the activities, goods and services at Best Friends, Koppenhaver said profit isn't the most important aspect of her business.

"It's not about the money," she said. "It's about making friends and helping each other."

(606) 326-2661 —