I started quilting a couple of years ago although that was hardly my first exposure to quilting. My mom is a quilter and made baby quilts on a fairly regular basis for friends and family. She often enlisted me in the cutting of fabric and occasionally helping to tie quilt when she chose to do that. I have several quilts that she made for my children and myself. I also have one that was made by my maternal great grandmother that I’m in the process of repairing.
I do remember making a quilted potholder in elementary school. Not the pot holder but the person teaching it nearly turned me off any kind of sewing for good. She had a very volatile and disgusted reaction to my lick and stick method of threading my needle. The little me was quite shocked and stunned. I still remember sitting there with my eyes wide as she went on a tirade. Many years went by and the most sewing I would do was to reattach a button or repair a ripped seam. Fast forward several years, and I took up handwork starting with cross stitch then moving into embroidery and needlepoint including joining the EGA. A few major life changes including an in-state but long distance move, and things got put away. Life finally settled into something of a routine, and the munchkin was in a new school district. As with any new school there were worries, but his first grade teacher and everyone at the new school were so completely amazing. Even two years later, the warmth and kindness still kind of stuns me.
Look I’m rambling.
Anyway, I wanted to do something special for his teacher. The normal, random kitschy stuff just wasn’t going to do it. And so began the foray into quilting. Her classroom is decorated in ladybugs. At the annual parade, her class wears ladybug costumes. Therein lay the inspiration. Cuts of ladybug themed fabric and coordinating dotted fabric later turned into a simple pattered lap quilt that was hand quilted with variegated thread. Hand quilted so that I could quilt in the word Ladybug and her name as well as add free form flowers.
From there we went on toe a baby quilt for a dear friend. As those who know me could tell you, I don’t do pastels. I don’t like them, at all. I prefer rich, deep and vibrant colors. I found this amazing fabric set called Origami Oasis by Michael Miller. The quilt did not arrive before baby, but it did get there within the first year.
And then I was bit by the bug…. I find a lot of a fabric in local thrift shops. Many times it is considerable yardage. I also source fabric through my LQS, www.equilter.com, www.connectingthreads.com, Beverlys and Joann.
I’ve started acquiring quilting tools such as cutting rulers and quilting guides. I have 2 working sewing machines that I use. I do all my piecework on my antique Featherweight that makes the makes an amazing and perfect straight stitch. For machine quilting or machine applique I use amyBrother EX-660 which was another thrift store find (still factory sealed in an unopened box!). My Pfaff just isn’t getting any love right now though she’s a workhorse too. I have another older machine from the 70s that works but is not currently in use. I probably should downsize.
And I did finally buy that pair of left handed knife edge Ginghers I’ve been eyeballing for the longest time. I’ve always adored Gingher embroidery scissors. My large scissors have never been specifically left handed though. This pair cuts beautifully and I no longer struggle against that handle made for the other hand. If you are left handed, I highly recommend them. I do have a set of cutting boards and a rotary cutter with a supply of extra blades. These are also life savers.
My current quilt count is:
- 5 that are finished one of which is a gift
- 5 in progress
- a stack of several tumbling blocks that I haven’t decided how to put together yet
- a quilt top that still needs the border added
- a hexagon based quilt that I’m adding embroidery stitches to the hexie borders
- one that is being handquilted with Valdani perle cotton
- one that is flannel backed and being machine quilted (first time use of a walking foot for me)
- Planned quilts that I have the fabric for and are just waiting to be cut number 2.
- Like any obsessed quilter, there is a fabric stash that, um, seems to be procreating…. that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.