Beginnings

Sewing Transforms Into Quilting
Easter 1962 George, Roddy, Mom, Dad
Me & Sue - Dutchy's taking the picture

My Mom taught me and my sisters how to sew as soon as we could sit at the sewing machine. With 5 kids and not much money she made most of our clothes out of necessity. I never did ask her if she enjoyed it but I suspect she did. It was just one of the many things that she continued to enjoy well into her 80's.
I always enjoyed sewing but making my own clothes didn't seem all that much fun. Even though I could follow a pattern, the stuff never seemed to fit the way it should. All that tailoring was such fussy, hard work it hardly seemed worth the effort. So I put aside the sewing machine until I got my first apartment. When I complained to my mother that curtains were expensive and the hand-me-down furniture looked so shabby (and not the least bit chic!) she said "you know how to sew, just make your own". That's when I discovered that making curtains would save me money and give my apartment a personalized look. Now this was my idea of fun!
 

 
My oldest sister, Dutchy, first introduced me to quilting in 2000. My first quilt was "Scrappy Stars" done in traditional red, white (cream) and blue.

We signed up for a class together at our local quilt shop. She had just started quilting herself a few years earlier and was eager for me to learn. We were looking forward to having a chance to spend some time together doing something creative. I didn't have a clue about what I was getting myself into but I was up for the adventure!


Along with signing up for the class she got me to join the local quilting guild. As it happened there was a bus trip to the Lancaster County Quilt Show, in Lancaster PA, being sponsored by guild. So off we went. She assured me it would be fun.
 
That's Dutchy on the left with me and my winnings!
On the bus ride the leaders engaged us in several games one of which resulted in me winning two fat quarters. Fat what? I was still a bit confused about stuff like fat quarters, borders, bindings, blocks, rotary cutters, and cutting mats but what's not to like about winning?
During the entire trip from NH to PA I kept asking questions which all seemed to have the same answer: You'll see when we get there. The excitement was palpable and contagious. I didn't know what to expect but it was going to be something REALLY good! Well, if you've ever been to a HUGE quilt show you'll know how I got hooked on quilting.
There were literally hundreds of beautiful quilts on display. So many different styles, techniques, and fabrics I hardly knew where to begin. And OMG the vendors! I was buying fabric left and right for this quilt I had no idea how to make. I made some new friends during the three day trip and spent way more money then I had planned on ;-) It was the first of MANY fabric shopping trips I continue to enjoy with my sister.
My quilting skills improved over the years and I began to experiment with new techniques and patterns. Meanwhile my mother was fond of telling her friends "I have two daughters who are quilters but neither of them has made a quilt for me!". From my perspective I didn't think I as good enough at it to make something for my mother! She was a perfectionist and that was intimidating to say the least. Even though I was over 40 yrs old at this point praise from my mother was highly coveted.
By 2004 I finally worked up enough courage to made this quilt for Mom for Christmas. It didn't quite fit on her bed but since I would still have considered myself a novis quilter at this point I was pleased with the results. Best of all, she loved it! She happily displayed it for all her friends to see. Although she didn't want to part with it she let me take it back long enough to display at my guild quilt show. We were both very happy when I won the "Golden Scissors" award at the show that year.
Me and Mom with her quilt - 2005
Sadly, Mom passed away in 2006. I miss her a lot! But she's still in my heart every day and looking over my shoulder each time I sit down at the machine, her machine, to sew. Hanging off my thread rack is the sign she gave me to keep me humble. (It could have easily been hanging from HER thread rack.)
 
 
It says:  "I'm not bossy, I just have better ideas"
From where I sit it clearly explains what I consider to be the best of both of our personalities:  Strong women with equally strong opinions!

4 comments:

Minka's Studio said...

Nice posting. I love that quilt you made for your mom. You should take some close-ups of it some time.

Anonymous said...

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Debby said...

Thanks for visiting, hope you enjoyed it well enough to come back!

cgreene said...

Love the latest blog about the watermelon quilt!