I’m not an expert (my dad, who was an engineer, always said, “An expert is just an unknown quantity of water under pressure.”) but I’ve been quilting since I was in grade school and since that was, well, quite a while ago, you could say I’m experienced. Besides, this is just supposed to be a fun read; sort of a journal, an outlet for my thoughts about, well, quilting. And I’m guessing that most of my fellow quilters out there go through the same range of feelings about this very rewarding but sometimes frustrating hobby.
Let’s start with the basics…I LOVE QUILTS!
I love hand piecing, machine piecing and appliqué, by hand or machine. I love English paper piecing and foundation piecing. I love to quilt by hand but I’m not opposed to machine quilting. After all, finishing the quilt is, well, kinda nice. I love collecting old quilts and just looking at quilts in magazines. I can spot a quilt in a movie even it it’s flashed on the screen for only a split second. (If I’m watching at home, I admit I have been known to rewind just to get a second look.) I take pictures of quilts and cut out pictures from magazines just to have the idea for later. You know, that quilt I’m gonna make “some day”. I love fabric. (It’s not material, by the way, that’s what you build houses out of, for all you non quilters). I love touching fabric and especially buying it. I love walking into quilt shops and just smelling the fabric. I equate it with someone walking into a coffee shop and just closing their eyes and breathing in the aroma. My daughter Hannah says I’m a fabric “collector”. And my friend Lana told me once, “Does a coin collector spend his coins? Does a stamp collector use his stamps to mail letters? Of course not! Why can’t you buy fabric just because you like it and want to have it? It doesn’t mean you have to use it in a quilt.” Ha ha! I like that logic! (Lana is my friend because she shares and supports my quilting addiction.)
Okay, so I confess, I think I AM a fabric collector.
I admit to having way more quilting fabric in my “stash” (or should I say “collection”) than I will ever be able to use up in quilts in my lifetime. Oh, well, luckily my daughter is starting to do some quilting so I can pass it on to her, right? And I really LOVE scrappy quilts, so it’s my way of always having fabric on hand. Admit it, you can relate. I also love all the cool quilting tools. Maybe that’s because when I first started quilting we didn’t have fancy rulers and rotary cutters and mats, or computer programs for designing or neat little cards that figure out for you the size of backing you need for the size of quilt you’re making, so you don’t have to do all that math. Thank you quilt gods! No, when I started, my grandmother showed me how to cut out templates from old cereal boxes and she pinned them to a thin stack of fabric and cut out around it, with scissors. Probably the same scissors she used to cut coupons with or tea leaves from the plants behind granddaddy’s shop, or the cereal box! Yikes! Since then I have learned you NEVER use your fabric scissors on ANYTHING except fabric.
I probably can’t help it. It’s genetic.
I come from a long line of quilters. My mom was somewhat of a quilter. She wasn’t really proficient at it but she loved having them around the house and she sewed a lot of bindings on the quilts my grandmother would put out at a miraculous rate, all hand pieced and hand quilted, mind you. Grandma never bought fabric for a quilt either. She only used scraps from her own aprons or dresses or from clothing us grandkids grew out of or wore out and she used old bed sheets for the backing. She made me a double wedding ring quilt when I got married and I can probably identify most of the fabric in it. That’s where my love of scrap quilts comes from, I guess. This picture is of the very first quilt grandma ever made. She was 15 years old (in 1918) and was told that a young girl couldn’t get married until she had finished a quilt. Well, that’s all it took and, seeing as she was already being courted by my granddaddy (he was 15 years older than her), she was panicked! She continued to make quilts until she was in her 90’s, mostly blind from macular degeneration, with black thread so she could see it against the light fabric pieces. I have the last quilt she ever made in my possession also. I’ll show that one later. Anyway, grandma came by it naturally as well. I have a really old strippy star quilt that her mother (my great grandmother, we called her “gum mother”) made in the early 1900’s using narrow fabric strips from her husbands shirts and trousers. They never let a bit go to waste. So as you can see, I don’t have any chance of NOT being a quilter. At least that’s what I tell my husband when I feel the need to start another one.
That leads me to another quilting vice:
…Starting a new quilt before I’m done with the last one – am I right? And if you call yourself a quilter and say you’ve never done that, you’re lying. Don’t feel bad. We all do it. It keeps us interested in the hobby. (Not that I need a reason, of course. Remember, it’s genetic and I don’t have control.) Yeah, right. Well, that’s a whole other blog.
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