by Lindsay Damon
Laurie Sieminski’s passion for quilting is obvious the moment you enter her home. It’s like entering a peaceful sanctuary. Beautiful projects hang from the banisters and walls, and furniture is draped with hand-made pieces in different stages of completion. One could spend hours studying the works of art she has created, or browsing her own personal library of fabric!
Laurie began quilting after she was married, starting with small projects for her nieces and nephews. She has completed 40-50 quilts but has dozens more in various stages of completion. Laurie shares her talents all week long. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, she hosts quilt groups at her home. Her groups hold anywhere from 5-15 members, and include Sibley Hospital nurses, embassy spouses, and friends who just enjoy sitting together to stitch.
Laurie also spends one day per week working at the Capital Quilts store in Gaithersburg, teaching classes and serving as an expert for answering questions about colors and patterns. She specializes in hand piecing workshops where she teaches intermediate-level students her own unique patterns and advises using her amazing eye for color.
She also uses her time at Capital Quilts for her volunteer efforts, and is the Charity Sewing Coordinator at the store. In this role, Laurie leads groups of 12 volunteers to craft quilts for kids whose parents are being deployed to Afghanistan, through Operation Kid Comfort, isolette covers for the Sibley Hospital Neonatal unit, pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer, placemats for Iona’s Meals on Wheels, animal beds for Montgomery County Humane Society, quilts for Children’s Hospital, and various pieces for victims of abuse at local nonprofits. Laurie puts many hours into doing the prep work so the volunteers can leave having completed a project.
Laurie is most proud of the work she has done for these various philanthropic organizations, but she has recently had a special place in her heart for Project Linus, an international organization providing quilts and blankets to children who are critically ill or in the hospital. Though the majority of Laurie’s work is done by hand, she puts the Project Linus together quilts by machine because they will surely experience some serious love, wear and tear. Most recently, her Project Linus quilts have gone to Howard University’s hospital.
So while it is no secret that we have some very impressive neighbors in Forest Hills, their quirky talents and specialties never cease to amaze! Meeting Laurie was a reminder of how living in Washington, DC doesn’t need to focus on politics and getting what you want – you can use your talents to give back to your community. Her passion for sharing her knowledge reminded me of my Grandma’s lessons about slowing down in today’s digital world, to appreciate the results of a quality project that can be treasured for years.