Monday, February 23, 2009

My history as a quilter

I came to quilting from sewing and clothing construction. My mother did not sew and was not crafty but when I was in 7th grade, girls were required to take Home Ec – sewing and cooking. I loved the sewing (the cooking, not so much) and by the end of 9th grade had saved my babysitting income to buy a sewing machine, a Sears Kenmore that cost $250. I still sew on that machine. Sewing the occasional skirt, top, or blouse was my creative outlet for several years. But when I entered the world of Real Work after getting my MBA degree, I didn’t have much time for sewing. Plus, I needed tailored clothes for work (it was the 80’s; think Dress For Success). Still, I loved fabric so I took an Introduction to Quilting class. It was hand-piecing, using cardboard templates and scissors to cut the fabric. Enjoyable, but it took me several months to make two 16” blocks that I turned into throw pillows for my apartment living room couch. I started a set of placemats then realized that given the amount of time invested in them I could never let then anywhere near food. I put the supplies away and was diverted by other activities.

Fast forward a few years to early 1992. I happened to be in the vicinity of the local quilt shop so dropped in to look. They were promoting something called quilt-in-a-day class. Sounded impossible but I asked about it. Rotary cutting, strip piecing, machine sewing – wow, this was a whole new kind of quilting. I took the class and was hooked. The class used Eleanor Burns’ log cabin book. When my nephew Nicholas was born in December, 1992, I gave him that first quilt. Nick is now a very grown-up 16 but still has that log cabin baby quilt, though in a rather shredded state. I continued quilting, making the occasional project, including quilts for my daughter, born in 1995. When we moved to our current house in 1997, I was able to have a room devoted to quilting (well, the studio doubles as a guest room but we don’t have overnight guests very frequently), with a closet for stash. I usually have several projects going, in various stages of completion.

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