Quilting — Piece by Piece

I realized the other day I was hitting a low.  Here I am sitting I sunny Arizona, while back in Missouri it is snowing and super cold.  I have a beautiful home here, and a mountain nothingto view right off my back yard.  Why am I feeling listless?  The project lady has no project!  Oh my!  I am not planning a holiday gathering or party of any kind, no one has called me for a get-together,  I’m not redecorating, I’m just sitting here with nothing to plan. 

I know, you are thinking, “how lovely, nothing to do.”  Yeah, that’s nice for me for a short while, and then I need something.  I decided it would be quilting.  It is something I can do, and put away if a social event comes up, because I am even more myself with social events.  A couple weeks ago I was invited to go with a cousin to a local quilt show.  That served two purposes for me—1) an event, a connection with people outside my home; and 2) trying to find some inspiration to make a quilt.

IMG_8838 2My biggest problem is that I am not a fan of traditional quilts.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to look at them.  I love seeing the beautiful work done, but they are not me.  I like different, and I like bold.  I am very tempted to make a “Labyrinth Walk” quilt.  It’s an optical illusion, and really interesting.  My cousin had the pattern in one of her quilt magazines, and I borrowed it, but the inspiration was still not there.  I think I need a bit more piecing practice before I tackle it.  I kept watching quilt videos.  One of my favorite places to watch on YouTube is the videos from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Don’t ask me why, having come from Missouri, I have not made a trip to Hamilton, MO to visit this “Disneyland” of quilt stores.  It is on my list for this summer.

I want to make quilt gifts for my family.  The problem is, my family is like me.  They like unique more modern styles, and should I make a quilt for their beds, or a lap quilt to cuddle under while watching TV or reading a good book?  What colors would they like?  I just kept watching videos.  Then one just popped up that caught my attention.  It was a IMG_1435simple straightforward quilt design, but bold colors, and one I think a particular person in my family may love.  It’s an odd size, so it doesn’t seem to be a bed quilt, but it also seems to be too large for a lap quilt.  I think it’s a size fits all—do anything you want with this quilt.

I started looking at fabric on line, but I like touching a looking at the colors in person.  This quilt will take a jellyroll, which is 2-1/2 strips of fabric (about 40 strips) rolled into a round circle like a jellyroll.  I went back and forth over what to do, and finally told Dennis I wanted to go to the local fabric store and see what they had.  Lo and behold, the jellyroll I was looking at online was sitting in this store.  Before I chickened out, and backed away from this project, I grabbed the jellyroll, and fabric for the background, and made my way to the checkout.  

It is a bold and brave step.  I have a very short resumes of quilts,  Back in the early 1970’s my sister and I took a quilting course at a local high school night class.  I made two quilts —  one for a twin bed, and one for a baby bed.  The twin quilt was for my son who was just two years old.  I was pregnant with my second child at the time.  I told myself I would make all my future children quilts.  Well, babies two, then three, then four showed up.  A few years after the last, I became a single mom.  I was way too busy to do anything extracurricular after working all day, and dealing with little ones all evening and on weekends. Quilting disappeared from my life completely, although I think my sister continued her quilting.

In 2013, I married Dennis, and we combined our households in mid-Missouri where he lived.  His wife, who had passed away, was a quilter.  There were quilts, fabric, and supplies, everywhere.  I knew these items were not mine, and we gave them to family members who would use them and enjoy them, but it made me start thinking about quilts again.  IMG_8449Two years later I was going to have a new grandson.  I wanted to make something special for him, but I did not have a lot of confidence of what to make.  I found a pattern for a transportation quilt that had crossed-stitch squares.  Nothing is easier than cross-stitching.  I decided to purchase this kit.  One of the things I loved about it was that I could do the hand sewing anywhere.  I even did the embroidery in the car on a trip to and from Spring Training of the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter, Florida.  I completed the squares, and realized that they weren’t all the same size.  That is no news to the quilting world, but was to me.  I found a local person who had a long arm IMG_0355quilting machine to complete my quilt, and she met with me and walked me through what I needed to do with these non-matching squares.  Thus, the quilt, was a success, and with the leftover fabric, Luke received a matching pillowcase, some bibs, and a “quiet” book.  I loved the project.

Then I was done.  Quilting was out of my mind, or so I thought.  A few months later, as I was reorganizing some storage shelves in our basement, I ran across a couple plastic bins of tee shirts.  I asked my husband what these were.  He said his previous wife was going to make their son a tee shirt quilt, but it never happened before she passed away.  I don’t know where it came from, but I told him, if I could learn how to do this, I would make his son the tee shirt quilt.  At that, Dennis told me to find where I could take a class to do that, and he would pay for the class and buy the materials necessary.  Off I went to find this class.  I did not realize that the class I found was not to make an ordinary tee shirt quilt, but would make one quite distinguished from those I had later seen.  That Christmas Blake received the quilt made with the tee shirts from his childhood, and through high school and college.  His life history was now part of a quilt.  And, now I had the bug.

I found a pattern online for a “Stained Glass” quilt, and bought the pattern and fabric.  I made the squares, and then they were put away, because I had other projects, like planning a 50th class reunion, having guests to our home in the country, and traveling.  In December of 2017, we decided to write a contract to have a 2nd home built in Arizona.  We would be closing on the home in June of 2018, and have it furnished to move in for the coming winter.  I came back to Missouri and realized I had this quilt I started, and it would work well as the quilt for our guest room.  I pulled everything out, and once again got working on another quilt.  This would be quilt #5 in my life.  It was completed and quilted in time for us to bring it with us last winter, and is sitting beautifully on our guest bed.

Now I need a project, and the next quilt materials are purchased.  I will work on it between any guests arriving, and any events we find to do here in Arizona.  During that time, I will try to learn what kind of quilts my family would like—I never made those quilts for my kids that I thought I was going to do back in the 70’s.  Who knows, I may  become a quilting queen, or maybe I may just do a couple and find a new project.  Time will tell.

My Current Project

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