I Was a Sewer… Now I am a Quilter!

I grew up with a mother that sewed for all of us. If I needed a gown for the Christmas School Play night, she sewed it. I was interested in using the sewing machine by the time I was 10.

When I was 12 I found under the Christmas tree, a brand-new-to-me Coronado sewing machine. That year I built several blouses for school with the help of my Mom and patterns. From then on I was hooked. I loved creating clothes for myself, for gifts and for fun! I Kept that sewing machine until a couple years ago, even though I had a Kenmore and Brother sewing machines in later years.

When I got married and started having children, I enjoyed sewing for my girls. Nightgowns, dresses and other items that were made for the oldest then handed down to each of them. Of course, they all needed doll clothes and one Christmas I made for every daughter and niece, beautiful stuffed dolls with wonderful old-fashioned dresses, aprons, knickers and bonnets. I don’t think any of them lasted. They were a favorite with all of them and played with many times.

Once the girls were all in school, I went to work and my sewing came to a halt. It was a difficult job at a newspaper with lots of overtime trying to get the paper to the printer on time and I was practically raising the girls on my own while my husband’s job took him all over the country. I just didn’t have the time or energy to sew in the evenings. I worked the job for 10 years before becoming a housewife again.

It was shortly after the job ended, that a girlfriend asked me to pick up a package at a Quilt Store in a city 2 1/2 hours away from us. When I walked into the store I was immediately intrigued and fell in love with all the quilts displayed. When I walked out with her package I also walked out with a small wall-quilt pattern and fabric as a beginner project for me.

It was a challenge, as I was used to 3/4″ seam allowances and not worrying about a slightly crooked seam. I had never heard of 1/4″ seams and trying to maintain them was hard. I had many puckers as I sewed patches together, I did a little machine applique in the project with a too-heavy fabric adhesive (it was what I had in my sewing room for use as interfacing for clothing). I quilted the project without a Walking Foot which created many more puckers. And there was some embroidery needed to finish the project, but when I was done, I was hooked.

From that day on, I was an obsessed quilter and determined to learn everything I could about quilting. I took many courses, I joined a quilting guild and I lived and breathed quilting.

I also found out that I loved quilting gadgets! If there is something new out there that I am sure I will enjoy, it gets bought and tried out. Some items I never use again, others… I will travel with them everywhere.

I have found quilting even worked as a way to fill time while I worked as an Oilfield medic. A medic usually sits in her truck 12 to 14 hours and a variety of tasks are needed to wile the time away. My backseat in my Crew Cab became my quilt cupboard and I did much hand quilting in that truck. I even rigged up an iron through the truck’s battery and a 1000 watt converter. I was then able to do applique work, too. I never did sew with a sewing machine in the truck, but if I stayed in a camp, I quite often had my sewing machine set up for the evenings.

I now machine-quilt my quilts on an 18″ Gammill, which I just love. I love learning how to create quilting designs on my quilts and seeing the quilts come alive with the play of thread.

Quilting is also a fun, social event for me. Quilt retreats are very common and much loved events for the quilter. Most retreats are set up somewhere, so that everyone travels to a location and spends a few days and nights doing nothing but quilting. There are new friends to make, several projects to finish and of course, usually scrumptious meals to eat. The special times also teach new quilters many skills from other quilters and inspire quilters to try another new project. The marathon of quilting for several days is the best way to get a few projects done up speedily, among all the laughter and fun of socializing.

All in all, after 20 some years, I am still a quiltaholic! I enjoy the relaxation of quilting, the creativity of building my own pattern and designs and the socializing I do with quilting being the uppermost topic on everyones’ mind… Yep, I truly love everything to do with quilting, as many of my quilting friends know!

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