I am, therefore I quilt.

Throughout my school years I always wondered what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Lawyer (I’m not a quick arguer), doctor (I can’t stand needles), teacher (yikes! Love kids but only in very small short doses), actor (perform?), singer (ha! can’t hold a tune)…you get the idea.  My talents always fell a bit too short.  Amazingly enough I avoided all art classes like the plague.  Somewhere along the line I got it in my head I was artistically challenged.

Fast forward…through daycare jobs (no kidding, confirmed my belief about being a teacher), librarian (books are quiet and don’t make messes), secretary (getting there), and worked in commercial real estate for several years.  It was my darling sister who started quilting first.

I was fascinated!  She showed me how the shapes were put together to make blocks and how the blocks can blend together to come up with designs.  That was it…I wanted to do it.  The problem:  No money.  It is not a cheap hobby!

Then I got married and moved overseas.  My sister-in-law invited me to a beginning quilting class but the class was cancelled because we were the only ones signed up.

I found a quilt shop in the little town we lived in.  I would go and look, and look, and look.  Feeling those outrageously expensive bolts of fabric imagining all the fun things I could make with them.  I bought three fat quarters to make a quilt for the baby I was carrying.  Definitely a one day out there project.

We moved back to the states.  Upon our return my sister gave me a cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler.  That was all the incentive I needed.  My first quilt was horrible and I think I swore through the whole project.  I definitely remember thinking, “People do this ALL the time!?!”

Then I bought more fabric and made another quilt.  This time I kept it simple.  The next several quilts were large squares and I worked on getting “perfect” points.  Then quilting 1/2″ from the seam and finishing the job by tying a ribbon in the middle of the square.  I can think of four quilts I did like that.

I bought a book of baby quilts.  That’s when I saw the actual quilting that people were doing.  (And I tell you, the quilting was very simple.)  How do I do that? became my motto.  How do I do that?  How do I get the perfect points?  How do I keep my ruler from slipping?  How do I quilt without puckers on the back?  How…how…how…?

When we were in the process of buying our house we decided, one day, to drive by and take a look at it.  As we drove down the street my husband and I both saw the shop at the same time.  ‘Evergreen Quilting’ the sign read.  I said, “A quilt shop!”  My husband said, “Oh no…”

It was when I worked at Evergreen that my piecing and quilting started to get better…a lot better.  All the things one learns from others!

They have a Handi-Quilter too.  *BIG smile!  That was when I learned that one doesn’t need to lay out, pin, push and shove a quilt just to get it quilted!  It was a whole new world for me and boy was I having fun.  The beginnings were simple, a lot of meandering and loops.  But soon people started asking me to quilt for them and giving me money!  And that is how my business was born.  It feels ridiculous, sometimes, that I have a business when about 5 years ago I just started quilting!!

My latest project was one I found in my stash a couple of weeks ago.  I took a class with a local teacher on applique.  Not hard, just time consuming.  Don’t know why I put it away…but I did.  I put the borders on and now it is on the frame and I’ve started quilting it.  What do you think?

Hearts Four You Quilt Top on Frame

Hearts Four You Quilt Top on Frame

Each of the hearts (there are four) are appliqued.  This project also introduced me to flying geese (sort of).  Here’s some close-ups of the quilting that I’ve started.  Once the project is completed in the next couple of days I’ll post pictures of the completed project.

Feather in the triangle and swirls in the border

Feather in the triangle and swirls in the border

You can still see the markings!  They’ll come off when I’m done.  Here’s from the back of the machine.

Corner feathers

Corner feathers

I added some swirls.

I like quilting for a plethora of reasons.  So here it goes:

1)  I can take fabric and make pictures out of them.

2)  I find it a lot of fun to take a pattern that someone else has come up with and modify it.  Lately I’ve even started designing my own patterns.

3)  Quilting on a longarm allows me to draw but with thread and a sewing machine.  Sort of like an Etch-A-Sketch but without the knobs (personally I find those maddening).

4)  There is a lot of time for me to think and pray and it helps to keep me centered and my mind from dwelling on the difficulties we experience.

5)  I’ve met the most fantastic people!  It is my hope that they will willingly let me share their lives and quilts here.

So that’s it for me.  I’m late getting dinner started because I wanted to write a bit.

Have a lovely Monday evening!

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One response to “I am, therefore I quilt.

  1. Heather,
    Your quilt will be beautiful when you finish quilting it. I really like the feathers and swirls effects. Thank you for sharing.

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