I was in that difficult 10 – 12 year old stage and was totally stopped in my tracks by an Amish Lone Star quilt that my Aunt Fran had hanging in her antique shop. Wow!! The colors were so bright and the design was beautiful and I can still see the vivid turquoise colored background of that quilt in my mind. This was not a scrap quilt like the one on my bed or in my surroundings. I remember telling Aunt Fran that I wished I could make a quilt like that for myself. Her response was that I “could do anything I set my mind to”. That encouragement was the first step. Little did I know then, but I hold that beautiful quilt responsible for starting my quilting obsession.
I learned the basics of sewing from my grandma and one year of Home Ec in school. My grandma had her sewing machine in a corner of the kitchen, and it always seemed there was some project on it. I don’t remember her making quilts, but she made a lot of clothing. Once I expressed an interest in quilting, she would give me her cotton scraps and lots of encouragement to make a quilt (for many years, she was my biggest cheerleader).
I don’t remember learning the actual quilting stitch. Grandma exposed me to quilting bees. I do remember loving the texture of the quilting.
My mom owned 2 sewing machines but hated to sew and avoided it at all costs. She was glad to let me use her machines but was no help when it came to what needed done on the quilt piecing. I think she believed that I would do one quilt and give it up.
Money was not readily available for extras in my younger years and so it took awhile of saving scraps from Grandma, and buying fabric or good used clothing (it had to be interesting fabric) at yard sales to have enough to make my first quilt, and that one just fueled my need to quilt.
Keep at it…
The years have taught me that anyone who wants to can learn to quilt. I have heard many people say it requires patience. Yes, I suppose but more than that it simply requires the need to not give up on one self. Quilting has helped me through tough times, happy times, and just day to day life.
I hope I can encourage and inspire you in your quilting journey:
- This is not a stuffy office job, have fun.
- Do not break the piggy bank. Basic sewing supplies are fine – just use the best you can afford.
- Check at a local fabric store, the extension office, or the library to find other quilters. You are not alone in this journey.
- Start with a simple project. Something small like a table runner or baby quilt is usually quick to finish and boosts your confidence. If you really want to start out with a bed quilt, the easiest patterns are squares or rectangles.
The best thing is that after all the hours that go into a single quilt I have something wonderful to show for it. Each quilt is an individual object. I also do not have to follow the rules when quilting – other than using good quality supplies and making sure my seams are even. This is a wonderful hobby and stress relief and I fully enjoy it.
And the journey continues…
I have never regretted my journey through quilting. It brings great joy to my life. I hope it gives you great joy in your life too.