I grew up with a mom who was crafty and sewed her whole life. She used to make me and my sisters clothes...dresses, pj's skirts. She even made Barbie doll clothes...with mini zippers! When I was in high school, she bought me my first Singer sewing machine. I had absolutely no talent or desire to learn. I'm sure I ruined lots of fabric trying to sew. The only thing I actually remember making was a few halter tops. I'm sure they were lovely. I continued to rely on mom for any home-made clothing into adulthood. I would ask her so nicely to make a "little quilt" for a friend or myself every now and then. She never said no. I figured she loved to do it. She had several machines and taught quilting at home and did quilting for other people in "her spare time." She also worked at a quilt shop. Not until I actually started doing it myself did I realize how much work it was for her! My sister got involved with quilting before I did and I remember thinking "I can't believe how much money she spent on that Bernina sewing machine! That's absolutely crazy!!" I don't exactly remember what got me started, but I called my sister in Appleton and asked her to come visit me in Chicago some weekend and to bring along her sewing machine please. I wanted to see what this quilting was all about. My sister was to keep this whole inquisition a secret from mom. I did NOT want her to know I was taking any kind of interest in sewing because if she knew, she would get really excited and make an issue out of it. If it turned out I did not like it or just couldn’t get it, mom would have no reason to be disappointed. I proceeded to purchase some fabric on-line, really bright stuff! My sister showed up with her machine, rotary cutter, cutting board, cutting mat, thread (I forgot to buy thread), and a book. She proceeded to show me how to cut and sew the strips. We had a fun weekend and when she left, she left her machine with me. I have a picture somewhere of that first quilt. It was actually kind of fun! I cut and sewed every day I had the machine. I looked forward to getting home from work so I could SEW! I bought more fabric, thread, books, supplies. It was now time to tell mom I might be interested in quilting. She was thrilled! She helped me pick out and purchase my sewing machine. The rest is history. My mom and sister have been my mentors and inspiration ever since.
MY QUILT FOR THE CURE
I originally made this quilt for a friend of mine who is a breast cancer survivor and was having a fundraiser with a silent auction. I liked it so much that I made one for myself, too! It's a fun, quick and easy on-point project. The pattern is from Sew Unique Creations and finished it measures about 50-1/2 x 63-1/2.
When another friend asked me to make her a "Red Christmas Quilt, but without any Christmas Fabrics", I decided to use the same pattern, but with all reds instead of pinks and browns. Red is a little outside of the box for me, but I had fun gathering the fabric for this one. I did end up sneaking in a bit of "Christmas fabric" It was a blast to make! This photo was taken before I layered and quilted it.
Here's a close-up look.
One of my first attempts at a scrap quilt was the popular Yellow Brick Road pattern by Atkinson Designs. Mine was more crappy than scrappy. It sat around for several years, before I layered and quilted it.
Here are two baby quilts I made a couple of years ago for Christmas gifts. They are both made with fabric from In the Beginning's Lily Pond fabric. One is pink for a little girl, the other blue's and greens for one of my grandsons. I used the same pattern for both - Illinois Road - from one of Ursula Reikes books, either Quilts for Baby, More Quilts for Baby or Even More Quitls for Baby. I use this pattern often for baby quilts. It is cute and fast!
People often ask me if I do T-Shirt or memory quilts. I have always said no, but a couple of years ago, when someone asked me and I said no, she asked again a couple of weeks later and I still said no. She waited another week or so and asked again. I think I probably said no about 5 or 6 times. She was obviously not going to take "no" for an answer. So, I talked to mom about it and she guided me through the process and voila. The first one was made for a school teacher who was retiring and it’s made with several years worth of pictures from her wrestling team. After I blocked each photo, the gal took the blocks back and embroidered the dates on each one. She and the other people in charge of this project are the ones who picked out the fabric so don't blame me. They loved it and from what I understand it was a huge success with the recipient as well.
I will say that I don't particularly enjoy doing these. After layering them, they get REALLY heavy and hard to maneuver in my sewing machine.
Here's a T-Shirt quilt I did for a friend of a friend last year. I think I said no a couple of times before finally relenting on this one too.
If you're a quilter you will probably relate to this. Several years ago, I was with my sister at Prints Charming II Quilt Shop in Palatine, IL. I had not been sewing for very long and we were just checking the store out. I was probably looking for something in particular but I don't remember what. There was a beautiful quilt hanging in the shop and I kept looking at it. I looked at the line of fabric and probably wrote down the name of it. It was Bluebirds of Happiness by Susan McKelvey for Benartex. I went home and could not stop thinking of that quilt and that fabric. I HAD to have it! When I called the store they told me the pattern was from the book "More Vertical Quilts with Style" by Bobbie Aug. I found the pattern, bought the book and lots of the fabric from the whole line. As I rapidly began my fabric stash, I would always look at that beautiful fabric. Whenever I finished a quilt, I would think to myself.....I should do something with that beautiful fabric. Well it took me many years and I ended up not using that patttern, but here it is.
I've looked for a link to the whole fabric line, but for some reason I can't locate it, not even on the Benartex site in their fabric archives. The fabric really is absolutely breathtaking, I think. I bought so much of it that I have enough to make another quilt or maybe even 2!
Here's another one that took me forever to get around to. This is the Quilt in a Day Tennessee Waltz Pattern. I bought the kit at the Rosemont International Quilt Show, not sure what year. I think this may have been my first Queen size quilt. One of the main reasons I don't make them that big is because my machine just can't handle that size when it comes to the quilting. That's where mom comes in real handy. She actually has had this one for almost two years (ahem mom?!) ready to quilt on her long arm machine.
One of my favorite sites when I first started quilting (and still today) is Quilters Cache. There are millions of quilt block patterns and loads of links and information on Marcia's site. One time when I was at my mom's house, I saw a really cute quilt that she was getting ready to quilt for someone. It was all different blocks made with some darling panda fabric as the focus. I was then on a mission to find this darling panda fabric. This was quite a while ago, because now darling panda fabric is everywhere, but not then. Mom told me the gal whose quilt it was had purchased her panda fabric in Hawaii! How was I going to get it? Well, I searched and searched and found some darling panda fabric. My next mission was to find lots of coordinating fabric for each of my blocks. Then I needed to find the blocks that I was going to use that would be suitable for the size of my pandas. This took much time and energy. After I decided on my blocks and bought my coordinating fabric, everything sat and ripened for a few years. I'd get around to it eventually, but in the meantime I had lots of other stuff to work on. Well anyway, while visiting Quilters Cache and searching for blocks, I came across her pattern for the Independence Quilt. We have some friends who have a dynamite Fourth of July bash every year right on Chrystal Lake. I decided to make this quilt and give it to them for hosting such a great party every year. On to collecting my reds, whites and blues! Something tells me I didn't give it to them that year, but I did eventually get it done. I remember at the time, it seemed SO big (58 x 84)! They loved it. That's the best part about giving a quilt as a gift - when the really love it.
Here's another one I saw at my mom's house that I HAD TO HAVE. It's a good thing I bought it right away, because it sold out fast. It's the original Lakehouse Dry Goods Hydrangea print. I think I made this one rather soon after buying the fabric because it was so, so easy. One big rectangle and a bunch of 4 inch squares. Easy and beautiful!
Here's a pattern I saw in Fons & Porter Love of Quilting March/April 2007 issue. I loved the pattern, colors and quilting. I immediately purchased fabric and the "Creative Curves Template" suggested for this project. I haven't gotten around to it yet, and I think I've used some of the fabric in other projects, but someday soon I will get to it. I still think it's very nice.