We are three sisters, raised in a creative family, who all love crafting in yarn, thread, and fabric. Among our treasured memories is our maternal grandmother Elsie, who passed away in June 2019 at age 101. She was a talented craftswoman who taught us how to knit, crochet, cross stitch, and quilt.
After her passing, Whitney and Robynne fell in love with piece quilting and Whitney purchased a longarm quilting machine. She began finishing quilt tops for personal use and for others. In September 2021, Pat Ryan, the owner of RYCO’s Creative Sewing Center, our go-to local source for quality fabric and quilting supplies, announced she was retiring and closing her retail store. We were heartbroken and knew that hundreds of other customers felt the same way.
Situated in a historic mill building in Lincoln, Rhode Island, RYCO’s selection of quality fabric was unparalleled in the region for 32 years. RYCO also offered a range of longarm quilting services. We saw a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to begin a new business that would leverage our family’s years of experience in fabric art, design, communications, photography, customer service, small business ownership, and sales and marketing expertise. We opened Blackstone Quilting Company in January 2022 in a 4,000 square-foot retail space in the RYCO Building.
Whitney has true passion for all things sewing and quilting. At a very young age, Whitney learned how to knit, crochet, and cross stitch from her grandmother. In recent years, she used an old family sewing machine – and then purchased a computerized machine – to make purses, stuffed animal accessories, quilts, backpacks, table runners, and wall hangings for her two daughters and other family members.
Whitney has been quilting for several years, purchasing fabric and renting the longarm machine at RYCO to complete her projects. In 2021, she purchased her own Handi Quilter longarm quilting machine from RYCO. Once she gained the knowledge and experience of using the machine, she began to longarm quilt for others.
Whitney is a graduate of Providence College and has been recognized for her exceptional customer service skills, attention to detail, and work ethic.
Jessica owns and manages Deerbrook Farm, a small farm in Cumberland, Rhode Island that is home to a menagerie of alpacas, donkeys, goats, and chickens. She also raises dahlias. Her experience includes overseeing the sheering, handling and processing of alpaca fiber, a premium product for crafters who knit, crochet, or work with felt.
Currently, Jessica sells her floral and fiber products through a farmer’s market, at local events in the community, and in partnership with other local businesses who carry her alpaca goods. Blackstone Quilting Company will sell this locally produced and processed alpaca fiber, raw alpaca fiber, and finished alpaca fiber products.
Jessica is a graduate of Providence College and Johnson & Wales University. Her employment responsibilities have included administrative work, customer service, and training in legal, banking, and insurance industries.
Robynne has a comprehensive background in graphic design, desktop publishing, and marketing. Her freelance work has included designing fundraising and marketing publications, newsletters, and presentation materials for nonprofit clients; and designing invitations and collateral for birthday, shower, and wedding events.
Robynne designed the Blackstone Quilting Company logo and collateral materials. She assists Jessica with managing the company’s web site and social media platforms, as well as designs all of the company’s marketing and promotions materials. She also manages production of online tutorials.
Robynne is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University and has over a decade of experience as a graphic designer and desktop publisher.