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 to 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.
My 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 simple 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. Two 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 quilting 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