I have been quilting for years and have been teaching for nearly as long. When I was a new teacher my classes always asked how I got started. Its actually quite a simple story.
MY FIRST QUILT
My grandmother – Elsie was about to have her 85th birthday and I decided to make her a quilt. Keep in mind that the only sewing I had done was a knit jogging suit in Home Ec that was so badly done that I never wore it.
Never-the-less, a quilt was going to be made. Now, I knew (no research, just gut feeling) that quilting bees, etc. died in the 1800’s and so I went to the library to learn to quilt. I took out a bunch of books and tried to figure out what to make.
When I was reading the books they talked about how important it was that all the points be perfect, etc. so I decided that this appliqué stuff looked a LOT easier so I decided to do that. Now, I didn’t think about sizes. I just took a hunk of cream fabric and designed my quilt. I made it the width that looked good and off I went.
I never knew that getting back the petals from the family with their signatures was going to be the part that took the longest. Once I finally got all the parts left I appliquéd everything down and then it was time to quilt it.
I went back to the books and learned that if you are going to machine quilt a quilt you needed something called a “Hopping Foot” and I had no idea what that was. Hmmm, this hand quilting looks SO much easier, I’ll do that! If you had this quilt in front of you, you would see that some of the stitches are 4 to an inch and some are 24. Never the less, on I went. Soon the quilting was done and I was ready for the next step.
Binding. Hmmm. Well…. I went and got out a chunk of yardage and cut strips the length of the quilt and whip stitched in on front and back. (I didn’t know it was supposed to be sewn on first). Next was the sleeve. One book mentioned putting a sleeve on the top and one on the bottom to help it hang straight so that is what I did. Of course, I didn’t know to put slack in the sleeve so that the quilt would hang straight.
Last was the label. The books said it wasn’t complete until there was a label on it. Why would you put a label on the back where you couldn’t see it? So…Mine is an appliqué rose on the front with the date on it. I presented the quilt and people were surprised and pleased and this encouraged me to keep going and to learn and improve. By the way, there was one really good benefit to not knowing what I was doing. The size of the quilt is very strange but it wound up being the perfect size. It could be wrapped around Grandma when she was in the wheelchair and they would wrap her fee too. This was great because she could no longer chase the orderlies down the hall. One thing I have learned during all these years of quilting is your mistakes can be the best part of the quilt. It creates the fun and shows the love so embrace any mistakes you make – they are a BONUS to be appreciated.
Happy Quilting everyone! I promise, I’ve gotten better.
If you ask Maria’s mom she will tell you that from the time she was born she woke up either talking or singing
Maria leads quilting workshops of her own patterns and techniques. The goal is for everyone to learn at least one new thing they can use at every class.