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Resident Joan Butts is a master at getting things done

“I grew up with the attitude that you get things when you’re doing your best. In other words, you worked at it and perfected it and then the label gets attached to you,” said Joan.

In this case, the label she’s acquired is “Master Quilter,” something she’s earned since taking her first quilting class in 1985. She’s been quilting ever since, and especially enjoys hand piecing, hand applique and hand quilting. “It’s become a passion,” she shared.

That passion has been on display for everyone to enjoy. She has competed – and won numerous blue ribbons – for her quilts at the state and county fairs, and she is a masterpiece level winner in PMMA’s Art is Ageless® competition. In fact, her quilt “Princess”, is featured in the 2023 AiA calendar.

Joan also mastered her career as a librarian. She majored in home economics and elementary education from Emporia State University and went on to get her teaching certificates in both elementary and secondary education. After completing her master’s in library science, she went to work for the Council Grove school district.

“I developed a library program for their elementary schools – they had no library, so it was starting from scratch. After 16 years, I retired in 1996 and had everything all ready for them to send off for the bar codes and buy the computers. I feel it was a great accomplishment,” said Joan.

Another accomplishment Joan should be proud of is the way she’s adapted so that she can quilt as her vision has declined.

“I’ve adapted my sewing machine and cutting mats and I’m working on doing some hand applique. I have peripheral vision. I walk and I do my own cooking and I come up with ways to machine piece. I won’t be able to do hand piecing because I can’t see the lines drawn on it, but I can put masking tape down and quilt along the tape. The only thing I can’t do is thread a needle, but I have a wonderful neighbor who I ask to rethread my machine for me,” said Joan. “I’m a positive person. I keep coming up with ideas I think I can do, and I try them. I’m just thankful that I can see what I can see.”

This month, Joan will celebrate her fifth anniversary living at Emporia Presbyterian Manor. She enjoys playing cards with friends and staying busy.

“I like living here, and I feel very safe and secure with my sight declining. This is a family, I feel like it’s a community,” said Joan.

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