(or How I Got Into Quilting)
My mom gave me an old Singer student sewing machine for my 14th birthday. The thing is a tank. I love it. Mom then taught me how to sew with it and I still use it, after all these years. When I was young, I mostly made clothing for myself. Nowadays I mostly quilt and make non-clothing items.
I didn't try my hand at quilting until late 2001. Stitch Night Sampler was my first quilt. What an insane first project - it's a queen sized quilt. A friend of mine organized a stitch-and-bitch at her house once a week; we called it Stitch Night. One evening she invited a new member who taught us about quilting. The light-blue/pink/black nine-patch to the left of center on the quilt was my very first square. I was hooked. I decided to make a bunch of blocks with variations of nine-patch patterns. The other gals helped me with colors and placement; I did the research and the stitching. After making several blocks, I wanted to make something with them. This quilt is the final result (and thus the name of the quilt).
I had everyone sign their names and I embroidered the signatures onto the friendship star at the bottom of the quilt. Pretty cool!
I have not done another quilt quite as large as my first one. But I have enjoyed quilting. The blocks appeal to my mathematical side. It's the piecing that I really like. I can spend hours picking colors and designing what I want to do. I keep the actual quilting to a minimum; I never got the knack of hand quilting and my machine works best in straight lines. I've tried stippling a few times on that machine and I haven't quite got the hang of it. My first attempt turned out the best.
I'm never going to create any pieces of great art. I am awed by the people who create quilts that look like paintings, don't follow a set repeating pattern or those who quilt intricate patterns (especially by hand). But my quilts are fun and colorful and are intended to be used and take a beating. I tell my friends if they ever get worn out, I'll make a replacement.
Baby quilts and table-runners seem more my speed. I followed instructions for the first couple of baby quilts. But after
that, I would save photos of quilts I liked and design my own from there. They are fun to make and I can finish a baby quilt or table runner in less than a week. This baby quilt was based on an Amish scrappy quilt I had seen online. I had a bunch of bits and pieces from a number of previous baby quilts, so it seemed like a fun project to do. I initially miscalculated the internal block area, and suddenly needed to make the border a lot bigger than I had planned. So I added the scrappy strip on the border, too. It's one of my favorite quilts.
This was another make-it-up-as-I-go-along quilt, and I was very pleased with the results. I had found the basic pinwheel design and thought it would be fun to make. I loved the leafy green material and decided that had to go in this quilt. I picked out four colors and started the quilt without even having considered what I'd do for the border. The stripes just seemed to work; the pinwheels in the corners were a late-night inspiration. It came out cool!
After all that, though, it came out amazing! I think it's so neat that it is all straight edges, and yet it appears to have curves. I hated to part with it. At least I know the recipient loves it as much as I do.
I try to do something new with each quilt: new patterns or types of blocks. I have several ideas on the drawing board, including a queen sized summer-weight quilt. I just need to find the right material and start sewing!