Like most women my age, taking home economics in high school was a rite of passage in which we primarily “learned” how to cook and sew. Certainly, there were other topics covered but food and a couple of sewing projects were the accomplishments we displayed. In all fairness, I completed the kimono robe but never did hem the top that was assigned. I’m not even sure what happened to it, but it has been out and in style since then.
Fast forward and I am seemingly surrounded by women who have mastered the use of a sewing machine and produce quilts as a hobby.
Reading was my hobby of choice – and I was satisfied. After all, clothes and quilts are readily available in stores all over the place.
I love quilts and have some that were made by relatives and their value to me was increased because of the family connection and stitches sewn in love. I’m glad there are still women who produce these heirlooms, I just wasn’t one of them.
For the past few years,I did accompany my mom and sister along with others going to the AQS Quilt Week in Padukah KY. But, I mostly attended because we ate at Cracker Barrel on the way down AND back…and to visit the booths NOT related to quilting. I came home with some great jewelry and had time to read while they searched for just the right fabric.
And then I had grandchildren. As stated, my mother and sister both quilt and produced quilted gifts of love for family members. I didn’t feel too badly about that, until my sister posted this image on Facebook.
I don’t know the source of this picture, but I know the result. I began to contemplate making quilts for my grandchildren. After all, most of the grandmothers in my circle were already way ahead of me. And, I did take that sewing class in high school. I knew the basics. How hard could it be?
So, I resolved in August to make not one, but four quilts by Christmas…of that year. One for practice and three for my grandchildren. Again, how hard could it be?
I soon found out. I all but disappeared from society as every spare moment was spent cutting, planning, sewing, ripping out seams, re-sewing and repeating as needed. Other than work and a few outings, I hid in my house which I had turned into a quilt factory. Tables were set up (and left up) so I could continue working each evening and on weekends. When I babysat, I had to hide it all away and set it up again once the grandchildren went home. I stopped reading and gave up writing blogs or any other creative endeavor I used to do.
There were some experienced quilters who wondered if I would be able to finish by Christmas. I didn’t have time to take a class, so I turned to online instructions and Quilting for Dummies in addition to asking my mom for advice. I really wanted to do this on my own as much as possible.
And, I did! By Christmas (actually a week early), I had completed all four quilts and utilized different techniques with each one. For those who quilt, I must fully disclose that these were all machine made and I used the “stitch in the ditch” method to quilt the layers. If you didn’t understand that last statement, neither did I until a few weeks ago.
The finished projects – unlike my shirt from home-ec.
Practice quilt – basic squares and rectangles – and bright enough I won’t lose it.
For my youngest grandson: farm theme with “chenille” back made from layers of flannel.
For my middle granddaughter, I appliqued the flowers and vine.
For my oldest granddaughter, I didn’t want to repeat what I had already tried so (against the advice of seasoned quilters) I attempted a reversible quilt (and I learned why they cautioned me against it).
There are many mistakes which would be evident to experienced quilters, but each stitch was done in love. My sense of accomplishment was short-lived however when my oldest son and his wife announced they are expecting again. To be honest, my first thought was: “I have to make another quilt.” (and another technique to try).
So, I am planning to attend the quilt show in Padukah once again this year; but this time, I will be searching for fabric instead of reading.