So who's this Pat?
Pat O'Brien started quilting in the fall of 1988 as a hobby. She left the grind of commuting to her office manager job in NYC after discovering she was pregnant with her son Christopher. A visit with her husband to the Allentown, NJ Harvest Festival and a walk through the Quilter's Barn to see the quilts was all it took.
"I'd never seen a quilt before and I was amazed how beautiful they were and how they were made. My husband, realizing that I needed a hobby since I was climbing the walls being home with nothing to do, said 'Hey those quilts are all straight lines, you could do that'. I enrolled in a beginner hand quilting class the following week, and the obsession began!"
Being raised in NYC and a go-getter all her life, though, Pat quickly realized that doing quilts by hand was just too slow. She couldn't find any classes for machine users, so she taught herself how to quilt by machine. Books were just starting to be published that explored the world of machine piecing and quilting. The rotary cutter was a recent innovation, so it was an exciting time to be a machine quilter.
In 1993, quilting became more than a hobby when Pat's Custom Crafts officially came into existence. Since then, Pat has produced hundreds of quilts of all shapes and sizes: from able runners to king-size bedcovers, traditional Amish patterns to iron-on transfer "memory quilts" and everything in between.
She was also teaching classes in her small studio at home as well as at the Quilter's Barn. In 2003, she became "the Quilting Teacher" at Stony Brook Sew & Vac in Lawrence and Hamilton, NJ. In addition to quilting classes for all skill levels, she also offers workshops for area Girl Scout Troops, beginner sewing classes for kids and teens, Pat runs the Annual Quilt Pink Sew-a-thon at Stony Brook Sew & Vac. Pat also devotes time each week to running the "Quilting Corner" at the Scarborough Senior Center in East Windsor, NJ.
Pat served as membership director and then president of the Molly Pitcher Stitchers Quilt Guild in Tennent, NJ from 1996 to 1999. She served as Program Co-Chairperson of Turtle Creek Quilters in Hamilton, NJ from 1996 to 1998.
Pat currently lives in Hightstown, NJ with her husband Bob and four kids, Christopher, Meaghan, Sabrina, Justin. Two cats, Fido and Echo, complete the family.