The Paideia School

Stitching Together: A Paideia tradition threading connection through the decades

Pi Quilters Working

Since COVID, traditional crafts, like quilting, have been making a comeback. The desire for handmade, heirloom quality goods has led many individuals to learn the art form themselves. At Paideia, quilting is a well-loved tradition. And Pi Quilters is a group that seeks to welcome crafters, experienced and beginner, young and old, to make something bigger than themselves. “Whether people are hanging our quilts as art, using them to keep warm or playing with a puffy python, we have made our mark on many of the people who love Paideia,” says Chrissy Weeks, the current chair of Pi Quilters. 

While we don’t know exactly when Pi Quilters first started, long-time member Judy Schwarz remembers, “We would meet at different parents’ homes with a bottle of wine, a thimble and time to sew and talk.” It quickly became a tradition for the Pi Quilters to craft two quilts a year - one for the Fall BBQ and one for the Pi Party (formerly known as the auction). There are many quilts spread throughout campus that show the group’s history, most notably the quilts made for Paideia’s 25th and 50th anniversaries. The 25th anniversary quilt that hangs in the Pi Building displays drawings by students, fabric from favorite pieces of clothes donated by students and daffodils to represent the thousands of daffodil bulbs planted on Paideia’s campus that year. “It is a portrait of Paideia at the time,” Judy recalls. 

Quilting circles have a rich history of bringing people together. “We get to teach each other new skills and do it all while getting to know each other better. There’s a lot of laughter and joy,” says Elementary teacher Elisa Herrera who first joined the group around 2005. The group, which draws anywhere between 10-40 members each year, uniquely connects parents, faculty and students. As Elisa appreciates, “I get to meet parents from across campus, some of whose children I will never teach because they came in Junior High or High School and some of whose children are far younger and might get to teach someday.” Each year, some students come to learn new skills and contribute what they can.

Pi Quilter and Python

Chrissy first joined the group in 2018. Bringing her creativity and new ideas to the group, Chrissy reimagined the Pi Quilters’ auction contribution in 2020, replacing the usual quilt with a plush quilted python. “It is a fun way to contribute to financial aid,” says Chrissy. “It is an annual deadline we can work toward and ever since we started making the snake, we have people looking forward to seeing a new and unique python each year.”

In January the Pi Quilters began meeting weekly to work on this year’s project. “Elisa Herrera and I tend to come up with the designs and work with members as we outline the steps,” explains Chrissy. After planning, there is a lot of work to be done, including buying supplies, cutting, sewing, ironing, basting, quilting and binding. There is a role for everyone, regardless of skill level. “One mom does not know how to sew, but has been doing all the cutting and ironing for the past three years,” remarks Chrissy. Learning is a part of the process and many group members learn new skills from their participation. Pi Quilters has even taught intro to sewing classes in the past to help people gain confidence in their abilities. 

This year’s python skin is made of Paideia blue triangles that form a diamond pattern. The scales are made from scrap and donated fabric, making the quilt partially recycled, while the snuggly blue fleece is brand new and ready to be cuddled. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the python being chosen as Paideia’s mascot, making the 2024 python extra special. “We hope whoever takes the 2024 snake home loves it and gives it a fun new name,” Chrissy adds.

At its core Pi Quilters has always been focused on providing a space where people can gather, be creative, thread connections and tell stories. As Chrissy prepares for her daughter to graduate in 2025, she hopes a new group of quilters will carry on this tradition and bring some fun new ideas to this Paideia staple. While Pi Quilters contribution to the Pi Party helps raise money for financial aid, it also touches individual lives. “Ultimately, you get to just be yourself and share something you love to do,” Elisa concludes. By attending the Pi Party and donating to our financial aid program, we create a space where all our students can do the same. 

To learn more about the Pi Party and buy your tickets today, visit the Pi Party website.

Quilters with this years' project