My name is Sydney (Grinstead) Heimer.  I am a lifelong resident of Mitchell County.  I graduated from Osage High School and shortly after high school graduation married my high school sweetheart, Dale Heimer.  We lived in Osage but had an opportunity to purchase Bawek’s Store in 1974 and so we moved to Stacyville.  I was a stay-at-home mom for our 2 children, Jason and Laura for many years.  In 1984, I applied and became director of the Stacyville Public Library.  While there, I took classes in Public Library Management offered by the State Library of Iowa and have been a Certified Public Librarian since 1986.  My husband, Dale, became a pilot and learned to fly airplanes and then later helicopters.  While running Bawek’s Shoes, he also was employed as a helicopter ag pilot.  We were in Tasmania, Australia where Dale was working spraying crops when he lost his life in a helicopter accident.  My children were adults then and no longer living in Stacyville so I moved back to Osage to be closer to family while still working at the Stacyville Public Library.  In 2011, I was fortunate to become the director of the Osage Public Library.  It is truly my dream job.

I have always enjoyed doing hand sewing.  I learned to embroider from my mother and grandmother at age six.  My father framed my first project and it has hung in my bedroom ever since.  I made baby quilts for each of my children and the occasional baby quilt for friends but didn’t get really serious about quilting until 1994, when my husband brought home a very large box of denim trimmed from jeans and bib overalls at Bawek’s.  Dale said a customer had told him she made denim quilts and could I do something with the pieces.  I guess you could say I have Dale to thank for my quilting obsession.

So being a librarian, I read books, of course and I learned a lot of the basics from the Alex Anderson and Eleanor Burns shows on TV.  When the Sylvia’s Bridal Quilt class was being offered at Debbie’s Quilt Shop I decided to learn some new techniques.  A 2 year class seemed like quite a commitment but it was really worth the time spent.  I learned so much from Annette Ashbach, the instructor - just as much as I learned from Alex or Eleanor.

I have made many quilts over the years, most of which I have given away including the Sylvia’s Bridal Quilt which was a Christmas gift to my daughter, Laura and her husband.  Three days later they had a house fire with extensive water and smoke damage to the entire house.  The quilt was on the bed in the room where the firemen needed to haul the fire hoses through in order to put the fire out.  There was some damage to the quilt but with a little TLC we were able to make it look like new. 

All of my early quilts were hand-quilted but as time goes on and there are so many new patterns and techniques to try, I don’t take the time to hand-quilt as much as I used to.  I do continue to do handwork in the form of embroidery, applique and wool projects.  I have enjoyed passing on my love of embroidery to others through NIACC Community Education classes.