My sister posted a picture of a quilt she made years ago. She pointed out all of the mistakes that were in that quilt…all the reasons why she was going to trash it. Then her daughter rescued it (Way to go, Sam!!) from the trash heap and loved it to death…literally. Death of the quilt I mean…Sam is alive and kickin’! And my sister brought up a point about how far she had come as a quilter.
Something to ponder. How far have you come as a quilter? I remember that day about thirty years ago when I took my first quilting class. I was a raw rookie. I became obsessed with quilting. Everyone got hot pads or pillows for Christmas that year. I was a pillow making machine! I thought they were beautiful. Ohio Star…hand pieced…hand quilted…with stitches about 1/2 ” in length! When my husband’s grandmother passed, I was reunited with one of those pillows. Yikes!!! Were the quilting gods laughing at me? Was it the result of bad karma? Whatever it was, this couldn’t be the pillow I gave her. Mine was beautiful….not this hot mess!
It all came back to me. Yep…this hot mess was one of my first endeavors. Then I thought about my first real quilt. It was a sampler I made for my son….just blocks and sashing…no borders. At that time my idea of quilting was to quilt just like our great-grandmothers quilted…by hand with cardboard templates. And even more than that, I would use whatever fabric I found lying around. Even fabric that belonged somewhere else…like my husband’s uniform shirt. 🙂 It was the perfect blue and it was old…sort of. After he discovered that I cut triangles from it, he locked up the rest of them! I wish I could show you a picture of that quilt but it’s 1200 miles away with my son. Sometimes I think that’s not even far enough away! I guess the miles have spared me the embarrassment of sharing. 🙂
I think that looking back at my early quilts, I can say I’ve learned a few things. First of all I can’t believe that I would only hand piece and hand quilt. I wouldn’t dream of going near a machine. Now I’m convinced that if our great-grandmothers had access to a machine they would have gladly used it! It took me forever and a day to finish anything that way. I liken it to quilting in quicksand...just…can’t…move… I don’t say this as a knock against hand quilters. Hand quilting is a thing of beauty and I truly admire it. And I understand the peacefulness it brings to hand quilters. It just doesn’t bring me that same peacefulness. I truly love the hum of my Bernina. While it’s humming away on Project A, my brain is humming on Project B…and C…and D…
I’ve also learned to use the best quality supplies I can afford. A bargain is not always a bargain. My husband’s shirt may have been the perfect blue, but if it was old to begin with, it had two strikes against it when it’s sewn into a quilt.
I’ve also learned to step out of the comfort zone occasionally. I always go back to what I love, but a walk on the wild side from time to time is fun!
These are lessons learned the hard way…with quilts that did not stand the test of time. They did, however, stand the test of love.
Here’s a picture of one of my earliest quilts. Would you look at those colors!
How far have I come as a quilter? Pretty darn far! And there’s a long road ahead. So, let me ask you…how far have you come as a quilter?
And speaking of far, here are my latest Grandmother’s Choice blocks. I love this quilt. It reminds how far women have come and how much farther we have to go. So, no matter if you are pro-life or pro-choice or pro-whatever your issue is, please be pro-vote tomorrow. Vote and let your voice be heard….for Grandma!