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!