Quilt With Us

I thought some stories about how you started quilting might be interesting. I took a class in the mid eighties. It was back when the rulers had a lip that slid along the side of the mat. My first rotary cutter was very small. Then we moved and I started working outside of the home and did that until about a year ago. About 2 years ago, I did start making a few more quilts, and tried to learn machine quilting. I liked it ok for baby quilts that I gave as gifts, but I always wanted to hand quilt. I tried to learn by watching quilting shows but not to many episodes are geared to hand quilting. Then last fall I really started investigating and learning everything I could find about hand quilting. I don't think I am great at it but I feel I finally have a rhythm and really enjoy it. I also enjoy english paper piecing. I have never tried hand applique but, maybe it is because I find that is the one thing I really enjoy doing by machine. I know it doesn't make any sense. My goal is finish some minature traditional quilts. Lately I have been learning about techniques and tips to get my piecing as accurate as possible. There is no room for sloppyness when the pieces get smaller. I am not sure what makes me love quilts and sewing so much.....................but I can't imagine not quilting.

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Caran--what a beautiful story of your experience in learning to quilt--it's truly a family heritage for you. I know just what your mom meant about losing herself in quilting--that's why I love hand quilting so much. Thanks for sharing your story.
I love the way this thread keeps on growing. It is great to come back to see the new stories and even reread some of the old ones.
I really love the story of how you learned to quilt and about your family.

If we don't show these young people how to hand quilt it will become a lost art.
I started quilting with the ladies from my church when I was expecting my daughter. She is now 41. They would do quilts for people and also one for the ladies group. It would be raffled off and the money would go for mission work. My mother was one of the ladies in the group. They still make one for the church but most of the ladies have passed on to that quilt group in the sky. I then started putting blocks together and was hooked as you would say. I have moved away so I can't help the ladies and I miss the Monday quilting.
The quilt that I am working on now is blocks that my mother made. I am making it for my granddaughter that was born in Jan. We live in Fl so this is a good time to put one in the frame. I can work on it when it is so hot outside.
Great story Marjorie, I think that is a great idea to make a quilt honoring your mother, passing it on to your granddaughter. I hope to see pics posted of it here At around the Quilt frame.
I started quilting almost 20 years ago. I had a friend that I went to high school with and she asked me to come over to her house ( i was married at this time ). We started to be friends. Well, I saw that her mother did a lot of sewing. She showed me her so awesome sewing room and told me all about the clothes she would buy, then rip apart and sew into beautiful ball dancing dresses. Eventually, she told me she quilted and I had wanted to do this ever since I took a class in college and wrote a paper about the Amish people ( I fell in love with their quilts). She and I started to get together more than her daugher and I and she taught me how to quilt, which I will be forever grateful for. I had always loved sewing and other crafty, art things, But my mother wanted nothing to do with it. My grandmother sewed, knitted, baked, etc. and did all of it very well. By the time I was old enough to realize her abilities and wanted her to show me everything, she had gotten to old to show me. She passed away from Alzheimers not long after. I wish that she could have shown me ( oh, the gifts I got as a child !)but fortunately, I had my friends mom. In the end, my friend got jealous and made sure we could not be friends anymore, so sad what people will do over jealousy. I love to hand stitch and never even tried to machine stitch. At this point I don't want to try. During the winter, I could sit on the couch all day and night hand stitching. I go periods without quilting but always return ( I cut off the tip of my finger with a rotary cutter once and did'nt quilt for a couple of years after that - note to everyone- never zone out while using that thing while you are cutting strips, I still won't use the big rotary lol ).
Great story and I am glad that you survived cutting off part of your finger. Have you ever seen Fons and Porter's cutting glove? It is a safety glove that you can wear while using the rotary cutter. I can imagine using a rotary cutter after such an experience could be pretty scary and maybe a safety glove could give you some comfort. Thanks for sharing!

I was doing all different types of needlework so got an ad for a quilting book in the mail. I dreamed and drooled over the pictures in it and finally bought a book several months later.


I pored through it to learn the process before I finally dove in, while pregnant with our 3rd (who just turned 19.)


I was hooked and all my other needle interests went out the door since. I do very occasional knitting or other needle projects, but quilting is my passion.

I just recently got onto this particular "blog" from Connecting Threads--I usually go to the "Around The Frame" for hand quilters.  Anyway, let me introduce myself; my name is Sandy Larkey, and I live in South Podunk, Nebraska--not really, but with less than 200 people in town, no businesses except two grain elevators and the post office, might as well be.  I grew up in this area, and my father's family just across the border into Kansas.  My mother, her mother, Dad's mother and three sisters all quilted, there was nearly always a quilt frame set up in either, sometimes both houses.  I joined 4-H in 4th grade and learned a lot about sewing due to that--not always from the 4-H group leader Mom and Granma taught me more.  Anyway, like I said, there was nearly always a quilt frame set up somewhere and I usually wound up "poking" at it a bit.  One day the Aunts (father's sisters) went to the Ladies Aid meeting at their church and I tagged along.  About half an hour into it, getting bored by all the "kiddie" books and magazines sitting around in the church, I took out my thimble and sat down at the quilt frame, too.  After I had stitched a fair amount, one of the women leaned over and looked at my work, said, "I thought we'd have to rip out Sandy's stitches and redo them.  But she's doing pretty good."  My Aunt Hazel replied, "I knew she could do it--her mother's a better quilter than I am."  Major compliment, since Aunt Hazel did quilting professionally.  Remember Capper's Weekly and The Workbasket?  Aunt Hazel advertised in them.  Anyway, after I grew up, moved away, got a job, started wearing "good" clothes all the time, I was dismayed when a co-worker and I showed up with the same dress on the same day.  So I started sewing my own clothes, again.  Kept that up for umpty-skillion years until retiring, then discovered I wasn't really happy without a sewing project going.  So I took up quilting, again.  I'd promised another co-worker, who'd recently married, that I'd make her a quilt for her first baby.  Used my sewing machine to do the applique on a pattern called "Gingham Dogs and Calico Cats", and was going to hand quilt it.  While I was sitting in an auto shop waiting room, and quilting, another lady was watching me and finally asked, "Grandbaby?"  I told her, no, just a friend.  She came over and sat down beside me to get a good look at the quilt then looked up at me and said, "Pretty good friend!"  What with two more quilts for that friend's babies, and two for niece-in-law's kids, and at least one other, I think that's my signature quilt pattern now.  I still use my sewing machine to piece quilts, and have hand-quilted several, but usually use the services of a long-armer, because most of my quilts nowdays go as Quilts of Valor, so I want to get them done fast.  But I have joined a group at a nearby town that handquilts as a fund raiser for the local Community Center.  We have such fun as a group that my Monday afternoons are "spoke for" for the foreseeable future.  We call ourselves the "Lost Needles Quilters" because someone is usually crawling around on the floor, looking for a dropped needle , at every meeting.  When we had a new member, who'd never quilted in her life, come in and want to join, she was told to "Sit here by Sandy, she's our expert."  And whenever someone runs into a problem, "Sandy, we need you here."  Anyway, that's my story, and you've probably been bored by it, if you've read all the way through.  So ... 'bye


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