Quilting is Just One Little Letter Away from Quitting!


I tried quilting one time and it didn’t work out very well.  But, something has happened recently to renew my interest in the subject, and possibly help me to go from being a quitter to a quilter!

Quilting — what a big subject.  And one I don’t claim to know alot about, but here’s what I do know about the subject.

There are many Amish in this area, and quilting is something that is done by all Amish women.  I was told one time that an Amish girl needed to complete 13 quilts before she married.  When I heard that, my first reaction was, “I’d definitely be a spinster if I were Amish.”  Another interesting tidbit I’ve heard about Amish quilters is that sometimes they will purposely make a small mistake in one square.  It is called a “humility square.”  Now that I could buy into!  I feel confident I could make the humblest quilt of them all.

There are lots of kinds of quilts.

There are the most traditional quilts, that depend on creative material selections and variations of traditional patterns for their beauty.

And there are the fairly new “artistic” quilts that look like a field of flowers or a stained glass window or ocean waves.  They are truly works of art.

And there are cross-stitched quilts.

My mother-in-law enjoyed making cross-stitch quilts.  She came from a long line of quilters.  In fact, maybe because we lived in a rural farm community, many women there, especially the older ones, quilted.

When we were young marrieds, Hubby’s mom decided to make a quilt for each of her children and their spouses, maybe hoping to inspire us younger women in her family to become quilters.  She started from oldest to the youngest of her five children.  When it was your turn, the daughter or daughter-in-law, would select a pattern and size for a cross-stitch quilt from a pattern book.  Mom would order the pattern and then make the cross-stitch quilt top.  When she had completed it, she would baste it to the filling and backing and set it up in the quilting rack in the “front room” (a seldom used parlor) in the farm house.  Then she would invite all of the daughters and daughters-in-law over (for as many evenings as it took to complete it) to help her quilt it.  I think it was a wonderful idea because that way we each had a quilt that not only she had made, but also that all of our sisters-in-law had helped quilt.  Here is the one she made for us.  Lots of loving stitches went into that quilt.  A wonderful reminder of her whenever I look at it. 


After Mom passed away and some of her things were divided among us, this next quilt was one that was given to me because my sisters-in-law knew that I had always had a special fondness for it.  They are nice like that.  It is still one of my favorite keepsakes. 


Hubby’s older sister had a friend named Ardis when she was growing up.  Ardis was an only child and lived in town, so she loved coming to the farm to visit, where there was always something interesting going on, especially since Sis had three younger brothers.

During Ardis’ many years of visiting the farm, she became interested in Mom’s quilting, and asked Mom to teach her.  Now, Mom was a very humble lady and I can just imagine that she probably told Ardis that she wasn’t really that good a quilter and that Ardis could probably find a better teacher, because that’s just the way Mom was.  But, in reality, Mom must have done a pretty good job as a teacher, because Ardis, all these many decades later, is a well-known and award-winning quilter and has taught quilting classes for many years.  After Ardis became an accomplished quilter, Mom was actually the one who told me that it was she who first taught Ardis to quilt.  So, I think that even my very humble mother-in-law felt a little pride in Ardis’ quilting accomplishments.

So it was only natural that about 15 years ago, when I decided that I would like to try quilting, I signed up for one of Ardis’ classes.  It was a class designed for the novice, so the goal was to make a lap quilt, done in small sections and all by hand.  The only real “equipment” you needed was a hoop you could hold in your lap to quilt your squares.  We made an individual square each week, and then in the end we would sew them together to make the lap quilt — in theory.

The kind of quilts we made in Ardis’ class were appliqued quilts.

I loved picking out the materials.  Because Mama loved to sew, I had spent alot of time in fabric stores, and had really developed a love of beautiful fabrics.  And, cutting out the different fabric pieces and sewing them together wasn’t bad, in fact that was kind of fun too.  But, when it came to the quilting, I found out that I was a “nervous quilter.”  When the other students and I would return to class with the square that we had made that week, all the other squares were nice and flat, while mine were “puckery.”  Ardis told me I had to relax and not pull my stitches so tight, but I never was able to relax enough to make my squares lay as flat as the other’s did.  So, I have to admit, even though physically I completed the class, I mentally quit before the class was over.  I decided quilting just wasn’t for me, and the quilt pieces and all the quilting “stuff” ended up in a box in the attic.

Here are the pieces that I’ve kept all these years from that class.  They are in varying stages of “doneness.”  


But, now I live next door to the multi-talented Belinda!  When she came over to help me learn how to use my sewing machine, and the conversation turned to quilting, I told her I had these squares, although, at the time, I couldn’t remember exactly where they were.  And, she told me that she would help me finish my quilt!  Yahoo!  One-on-one instruction!  It is sooo much easier, in my experience, to learn anything, if you have someone who is willing to take you on as a “project” and I think that’s how Belinda sees me and quilting!  So, after the first of the year, I’ll present myself at Belinda’s door with my little squares, and see if she can help me complete this quilt.

It would be great if Belinda could help me go from quitting to quilting Hubby’s mom would have been so happy.  And, let me just say, I’m pretty sure Ardis would be realllly surprised!


15 Responses to Quilting is Just One Little Letter Away from Quitting!

  1. chrissy says:

    Yea! Glad you get to complete your quilt!!

  2. chris H says:

    OOOO I just love the blues you have done! I made my first ever quilt this year…. need to start on Brylee’s now.

  3. Belinda says:

    Your squares look terrific. Come over anytime and we will work on putting your quilt together.

  4. Sam says:

    Hey Sandra, Cathy has been waiting for this post! You’ll think it’s funny, but I’m sitting here doing some blogging and she’s asleep on the sofa — has been since about 7 p.m. I guess she’s really tired ’cause she decided to wait until tomorrow to look.

    Thank you for all your words of encouragement!

  5. Beth says:

    Ha, ha, I also sent this post to my mom, without seeing my dad’s note. You can tell we all know she LOVES quilting! In fact, as i read your post I thought, “She should start a quilting blog where she can post pictures of her projects–past, present, and future.” I’ve suggested it and hope she’ll do it. She wouldn’t tell you this but she is an AWESOME quilter.

    I really like the blue colors in your quilt squares!

    My one and only quilt was full of humility. 🙂 But it’s still on my grandma’s wall and looks okay…from afar!!

  6. Sandra says:

    Chrissy — Wellll, I haven’t done it yet. We’ll see. 🙂

    Chris — all the way from New Zealand! Welcome! (and happy belated birthday!) Good for you that you’ve completed one, and are keeping the momentum by immediately starting another one!

    Belinda — I’m lookng forward to it!

    Sam — I’m so relieved to finally have this posted. Cathy told me she was waiting expectantly! I hope she won’t be disappointed. It’s certainly not as good as one would be by a real quilter! (hint, hint, Cathy) Thank you for stopping by, Sam. Your blog has already become one of my regular visits.

    Beth — I think it’s wonderful that your quilt hangs on grandma’s wall. Yes, I think we should all encourage your mom to do a quilting blog. I would certainly read it!

  7. cathy says:

    Well, your blog was the first thing I looked at this morning – usually have my quiet time first – see, you’re already a bad influence on me! :). I enjoyed reading it and looking at the pictures. Love the blues on your UFO (That’s what quilters call unflnished projects – and we should know – we’re notorious for them) My “biggest project” quilt is highlighted in blue – it’s hand appliqued, hand quilted and took 3 1/2 years of constant work to complete. Be glad to send you a pic if you email me at my email address. (I love to share my favorite pasttime!)

    No, Beth and Sandra, I don’t plan to start a blog – not even a quilt blog! As I’ve said before, then I wouldn’t have time to quilt. You bloggers already have me spending WAY too much time looking at your blogs – which inevitably send me straying away to various other blogs! It very time consuming! But I’ve enjoyed it – just not enough to start my own. As Sam or Beth would tell you, when I start a project, I go whole hog into it, which would mean the demise of my quilting!

    Hope you’ll visit Belinda soon and enjoy all you learn!

  8. Sandra says:

    Hi, Cathy! I just saw a picture of you sitting at the computer, on Sam’s blog — don’t you love technology! I know what you mean about blogging getting in the way of your quilting. It (blogging) does take alot of time — very addictive. But, I’m glad you are reading mine sometimes. If Belinda and I ever get that quilt together, I’ll definitely post a picture.

    Since we retired two years ago, i have really enjoyed exploring lots of hobbies that I never had time for before, but none have been as gratifying as blogging. It’s opened up a whole new world, which I’m really enjoying.

    btw, love the UFO term. I’m sure I’ll use that at some point. 🙂

  9. Hilary says:

    What a wonderful story complete with herilooms and a project of your own. I think your quilted squares look wonderful. I hope you’ll post the finished quilt when it’s done.

  10. Sandra says:

    Hi, Hilary! Believe me, if I get those squares made into anything resembling a quilt, you WILL see it! I’m really looking forward to seeing if Belinda can work her creative magic on me and make me a quilter, because I have always loved those blue materials I used, and I would love to see them in a finished product!

  11. cathy says:

    Sam says his email isn’t on his blog. I thought you’d have mine since it says it’s required to leave a comment, but won’t be published. Guess it isn’t published to you, either? Anyway, if you want to email me,just email Beth at her posted email address and she’ll give you mine!

  12. Sandra says:

    Oh Cathy, apparently I’ve mis-lead you. I’ve somehow given you the impression that I know anything about communicating on the internet, just because I write a blog! Well, I think I’ve once again proven that that isn’t true. I had forgotten that I can contact a commenter with the e-mail address. I am so used to replying here in the comments, it just slipped my mind! A typical mental pause, for me. Sorry. 🙂

    I e-mailed you right back after you left this comment. Hope you got it!

  13. Kelly Smith says:

    What a wonderful post. I’m so glad you’re going to start quilting! I can’t wait to see the finished product!

  14. Danielle says:

    I love this idea. I have wanted to do this for a long time. I have just never had the chance. I know a nurse at work who was given one by the other nurses that work with her on the ward. She had cancer and they all designed a patch for the quilt and put them together to make her a special blanket. She took it with her for every Oncology visit and covered herself with it while she recieved treatment……

  15. Sandra says:

    Oh, the quilt that your co-worker took with her for her treatments touches my heart. How much that must have meant to those who gave it to her too, that they had given her a little comfort during such hard times. A great idea.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: