HOW I LEARNED TO QUILT
Whenever I think back to the time I learned how to quilt, I get a little giddy and sentimental to think of all the people who might be discovering quilting like I did…. totally randomly!
I had always admired and loved quilts. From afar. I figured it was beyond my skill level to even attempt. I mean, I had always been artistic but I could barely sew a button back on my shirt. Sewing was just not a big tradition in our house and even though I knew the basics and wasn't scared of a sewing machine, quilting was not something I even considered.
I loved to scour flea markets and garage sales for quilt finds and remember finding all of my first quilts and recognizing them for the treasures that they were!
Then my husband and I got married and we moved to a new town and for the first time since I could remember I had a bit of free time. I was working on finishing my Master's Degree and was spending time enjoying being a newlywed but I found that I had time and mental space for the first time in a really long while.
So I walked into a small fabric shop inside our local shopping mall and signed up for a drop in class. I wanted to make a log cabin quilt. I had no idea what I was doing and apparently at this shop, a drop in class just meant that they provided you a warm seat and a machine within the shop. I found a book in the store [I have no idea what it was] and figured out that I had to sew with a 1/4" seam allowance and then I started…
Let's just say that it was ugly. The process, the quilt. You name it, it was bad! I sewed on pieces and then cut off the extra and kept going in a log cabin type of round. Then I couldn't figure out why all my blocks were different sizes at the end!! I have no idea how I finally got that quilt assembled… but I did. I don't really know why I didn't quit on the spot. Instead I loved it and I was hooked. I started making simple patchwork and rail fence quilts for everyone in my family. I couldn't stop. Even though I pretty much still didn't know what I was doing.
There was something about the process that was mesmerizing for me.
The first book I remember pouring over was QUILTS FROM AMERICA'S HEARTLAND. I read it cover to cover. That was all it took. After that, I devoured any book on quilting I could find. I read them voraciously but found that I made up my own directions fairly quickly in the process. I guess I wasn't a "follow the pattern" kind of gal from the very beginning. It wasn't long before I was making up my own patterns.
There have been many favorite books along the way. I have read and probably own every Country Living and Better Homes & Gardens quilt book there has ever been. I have a huge collection of Vintage Quilt books of every size and type. My favorites are the ones with lots and lots of pictures. Its really the pictures that inspire and awe me. The pictures and the stories. I can do my own math LOL!
Today I don't look at as many books as I once did. As an author [shameless plug HERE] I find that I am looking for inspiration for my projects in other venues other than other people's work. My inspiration is much more likely to come from a tile floor or a wallpaper pattern these days. That is not to say that my book library doesn't grow all the time. There are many books that I just can't pass up! I'm still a sucker for a good vintage quilt book. If you know of any that have been published recently that I might have missed, let me know!
Lately I have become obsesses with the new collection of QUILTMANIA quilt books. OMG. If you haven't seen these, you really need to see if you can find them somewhere locally and take a look…
Some of my favorites….
THE FUTURE OF BOOKS
I have to add that I am a book and print gal to the end. I love the smell of a new book, the feel of it. I love that I can bookmark it and come right back to what I fell in love with. I love that I can feel it and see it and that it is in my home library. Although I understand the pdf world [we have finally joined it with our patterns], it is not for me. No kindles for me. No pdf patterns. I am a tried and true traditional gal who loves the feel and heaviness of a good book on my lap.
I hope that real books are around forever.
Speaking of SHAMELESS PLUGS, I am about to start a new feature on the blog that features and talks about one of the projects from my book, WITH FABRIC & THREAD, each week. Look for it at the end of the month! I am really excited about it!
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Happy quilting and happy reading,