“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”—Margaret Mead
As a small family-owned company, Aurifil has worked hard to build a tight knit team with a strong sense of community. We are incredibly proud of the work that we do, both together and as individuals, within and outside of operating hours. We believe that doing good work is more than the daily grind, it’s about how you approach the world… about leaving things a little better than how you found them. We absolutely love seeing our team members creating their own bits of good out in the world and it’s for that reason that we’re delighted to highlight Aurifil’s Creative Director, Erin Sampson. You likely know her better than you think as she’s the primary voice here on Auribuzz, but today, she’s here to tell a bit of her own story. Erin is running the NYC Marathon next month as a part of team Girls on the Run, a wonderful National organization designed to empower girls across the country through running. Erin has a fundraising target and we’re excited to be both sponsors and cheerleaders – If you’re feeling similarly inspired, click on that button below and you might just change a girl’s life!
Hi Friends:). Though I’m usually the voice you hear on Auribuzz, I rarely get to meet you as myself… on this personal plane. This is a fun one and I’m excessively grateful that my team thought it was a good idea to share my story with you! I’ve been part of the Aurifil family for nearly 7 years and my goodness, I love this job. I know, I know… I sound cliché. But truly– I’m so proud to be a part of this team. We get to celebrate the work of an incredible creative community on a daily basis, breaking ground, and pushing the boundaries of what is possible with needle and thread. Beyond that, we celebrate each other… acknowledging wins and losses, standing up for ourselves and for others, and giving whenever and wherever we can. It is that sense of community, that support, that brought this opportunity to life and that led Aurifil to be a key sponsor of this crazy, insane journey of mine.
I have had a lifelong relationship with running and while it hasn’t always been consistent, I truly believe that every stop and start holds immense value. I began as a spectator, cheering on the sidelines during my dad’s road races and corporate track meets.
I ran my very first kids race when I was 11 and while I continued as a casual runner throughout my academic years, it wasn’t until I moved to New York in 1999 that I truly fell in love with the practice of running. I met friends for weekend races in the park, ran my very first Half Marathon straight down Broadway and through the center of Times Square, ran back and forth across bridges, explored new neighborhoods, and found the rhythm and solace of one step after another.
While there is an incredible energy to the city, I always found that running those streets helped to calm my mind, take me away from my work-aholic tendencies, and (back then especially, when cell phones weren’t always with us) give me time to really be with myself. At one point, I even snagged a coveted lottery spot for the NYC Marathon – 26.2 miles through all 5 boroughs – but a pesky hip injury prevented me from running that race.
Fast forward to 4 years ago. I had 2 young kids (then 3 & 5), a house in the country, and a full time job. I’d fallen out of my running routine years before and was in such desperate need of something that was just mine. Some local friends invited me to join them on a Thanksgiving day ‘Turkey Trot’. It wasn’t anything official, but it was just what I needed. That old rhythm of one step after another returned… maybe a little slower than before, but it was there.
I started getting out more, challenged myself to hit weekly distances, signed up for new races, ran in the frigid Maine Winter, ran early in the morning and late at night, participated in a 200 mile 12-woman relay race (twice), started and finished a 500-day run streak (1 mile/day every day, something that truly saved my sanity throughout the pandemic & a year of homeschooling), began running with my best training pal (my rescue pup Sierra), and finally, ran my very first marathon in Portland, Maine last Fall (2021).
I suppose that brings us to today… I’m 15 weeks into the training cycle for my second full marathon… 26.2 miles spanning 5 boroughs… the NYC Marathon. It almost feels like going home. I lived in that glorious city for 11 years and have been gone now for 13, but no matter how much time passes, it never feels any less like home. I’m calling this one my reunion tour… the race that got away. I’ll run past 2 of my old neighborhoods and my eyes will be seeking old pals along the sidelines throughout Brooklyn & Manhattan. I’m excited and terrified and nostalgic all at once.
This time around, I’m about 20 years older (wiser) and rather than snagging that coveted lottery spot, I’m running for an incredible organization called Girls on the Run (GOTR). While this particular race will benefit the NYC chapter, GOTR is a national program. I’ve participated as a volunteer coach for two seasons and have been able to see, first hand, the positive impact that this program has. (That’s me with my daughter in the image below at the GOTR celebratory 5K last year!) It’s not just about running… it’s about empowering, encouraging, supporting, and building confidence at a pivotal age in a girl’s childhood. It’s about fostering a sense of pride and coming together as a team to raise each other up and cheer each other on. This program is SO important and I absolutely love that I’m running as a Solemate this Fall! My fundraising for the NYC chapter will help to empower girls across the city — providing scholarships, supplies, and overall access to a program intended to change lives.
So… by this point, you’re surely wondering how this is all connected to Aurifil. Well… in addition to all the training miles and the dollars raised, I’ve committed myself to making my very first quilt. Eleven years in this business and I’ve never made a full quilt! It’s insane, right? I’ve picked and purchased my pattern, have selected my fabrics, and have even moved my sewing machine up to my office so it stares at me all day, everyday;). There is no escape!
Truly though… I knew that I wanted to honor and celebrate this milestone with something magnificent and Berene Campbell/Happy Sew Lucky’s Badass Quilt really just sums it all up for me. It’s how I feel with all of this training and how I hope all of the girls who benefit from GOTR programs across the country feel. So, I’ll get started, one silly little cut at a time. I won’t finish before the marathon because I’m still a novice and I’m slow, but I’ll share little updates along the way. I might ask for advice or I might share just how many times I had to unpick a particular seam and hopefully we can smile and laugh and commiserate together. (I’ll share more info on all my fabrics next week!)
Thank you for joining me on this running & quilting journey. If you’d like to following along with me and all of my crazy running adventures, you can find on Instagram at @justplainlovely. And… if you are a runner or an aspiring runner, give me a shout and let me know what you’re up to! My absolute favorite thing EVER is getting to cheer you all on!
Happy Stitching & Happy Running!
Erin, I loved reading your story here! The picture of Grams…so sweet. And I love seeing your Dad in action again. I wish you the best of luck in the Marathon. You will
Be awesome! Love you Cuz!