Quilting: It's just for the elderly and retired right?
If you asked me a few years ago about quilting and making quilts I would have laughed, possibly sniggered and said that I was too young for that. While at times I do feel old (not helped by the fact my husband tells me I am old relatively frequently), I am definitely not quite QUILTING old!
To me, quilting is all about those disgusting little squares, in the most vomit worthy fabrics! NO, I would not be interested in looking any further into quilting.
But, something happened. I am not sure what. Or who. But something peculiar happened.
One day, out of the blue, I did it! I picked up a quilting book. And LIKED what I saw.
How? For all my years had I thought that quilting was all about those squares and vomit worthy fabrics? What I was looking at was (yep, you guessed it) geometric patterns and funky fabrics!
It appears that quilting had become HIP. That YOUNG people were the new age, modern day quilters. I liked this style! This geometric, funky fabric quilting style was definitely something I could get my teeth into.
Telling people that I was now going to be a ‘quilter’ would be a different story. Those that I told had the same reactions as I initially did. Followed by sniggers and laughs. The same ideas came up that it was for the retired and the elderly. I had to prove to them that it was modern, hip and cool to quilt! I had to make a quilt that was NOT like the stereotypical quilt. One that involved my favourite geometrics.
And again, if you have been reading these blogs for awhile, you will know that - NO I did not start with a quilt within my skill level (which was again ZERO), but one which I loved, with geometrics, triangles and funky fabrics.
No YouTube or Pinterest were used in the making of this quilt. This time it was a book, a quilting book I had been given from my mother-in-law. After a good old read, a trip to the fabric store and a stock up of quilting supplies I was ready to go. Not really sure how, or where to start I decided to ring my mother-in-law, “Read the instructions and work step by step through them” followed by “it is about the journey, not the destination”. Clearly she had forgotten who she was talking to. This is me, the person who if starting something will do the utmost to finish it within the same day. It was about working smarter and not harder. Finishing one project before starting another.
So there I was, with my supplies, fabric and my sewing machine (at least sewers were quintessential to this story). Instructions read, measure twice, cut once. Piece by piece, step by step my triangles started to go together. Once I had triangles, I sewed them into strips. Once I had strips, I sewed them into the quilt top. To cut all the pieces (which actually took longer than I had anticipated, ensuring to get them the perfect width and length so quilt was not skewed), sewing the triangles, into the strips then into the quilt top took me a couple of days. It was here I learnt that quilting was NOT a day project. The shock and bewilderment came when telling my mother-in-law that I had in two days, ALREADY finished. She was quick to remind me yet again that “it is about the journey, and not the destination”. To me, this saying says that it’s all about the journey (the plane ride somewhere) and not the destination (the place you are travelling to). Personally I would rather be in Paris than sit on the plane for 12+ hours. But each to their own...
I had the quilt top finished. I relished at the look of it, took some photos, shared it on Facebook, then quite simply, folded it up, and put it in a drawer. Yep, that’s where it then stayed for quite some time! The top of the quilt was simple enough to assemble, being a sewer definitely helped in this case. It was the stuffing of the quilt (which I later learnt was ‘wadding’, and that you didn’t actually ‘stuff’ a quilt) and sewing on the backing fabric that I had NO idea about.
There lay my quilt (top), folded, in a drawer for quite some time. Until, my sister announced that she was pregnant. What better gift to give my ‘rabbit loving sister’, than a RABBIT QUILT!
Cue quilt number 2.
It was quite convenient that I had found this quilt pattern BEFORE my sister made her big announcement, so I knew exactly what I was going to make. My 2nd quilt, was going to be Elizabeth Hartman’s Bunny quilt. A quilt made up of 12 rabbits. Surely it shouldn’t be too hard or take that long right? Well, after cutting out the multitude of squares and strips I was ready to get these bunnies underway. Piece by piece they went together. My first bunny took me well over an hour to complete and involved piecing and sewing together around 54 pieces of fabric. You may notice one of the bunnies styled with some iconic ‘glasses’. I wear glasses and love adding them to the things in which I create, making my quilts uniquely me. It wasn’t sewing the bunnies together that was the hard part, it was the thought of the impending doom of trying to back and ‘stuff’ the quilt. At around one bunny per hour the quilt top finally came together. Though I knew I could do this part, and I managed to do this without YouTube, Google or phone calls. The ‘stuffing’ and sewing the quilt together would be another story.
Off on a trip to Spotlight, I asked what I needed - Ok, so I did Google this part. It turns out you don’t ‘stuff’ a quilt, you use wadding, who knew. So with some wide ribbon - for the binding, a backing fabric and a whole lot of wadding, I was ready.
Skip forward a few days and yep, I managed to have the quilt finished, sewn together and completed, while my first quilt, my geometric triangle quilt still lay in the dorment in the drawer, unfinished.
Cue quilt number 3.
Coming from another announcement, my best mate was having a baby. She loved foxes, black, white and the colour grey. I had the perfect quilt in mind, yet another Elizabeth Hartman quilt, this time the ‘Fancy Fox’ quilt. The top of this one was not a worry. And the foxes went together really quickly. I stuck to the brief while incorporating some of my beloved geometrics to give it the ‘Cobey-factor’, along with the iconic glasses of course. For the backing of this one I managed to get the help of my mother-in-law (who was staying with us), who is very experienced in this field. It appeared that I did my bunny quilt completely wrong, and while it was still ‘together’, it was not best practice. It was awesome to be able to learn the ‘correct’ way of doing things. I now knew how to complete a quilt. There, out of my drawer, came my first geometric quilt. Yes, I finally finished it, over a year after completing the top, it was now a usable quilt (and now a dog bed).
And finally, the most recent quilt I have made to date is one from “Suzy Quilts”. I made her gorgeous Hexie Stripe quilt pattern to put in our lounge after we bought all new furniture. Suzy actually shared my quilt on her social media which was so awesome!
So four quilts in, I may be getting old, but I am not elderly or retired. It would appear that my judgements about both quilts and quilters was drastically misguided.
I am a quilter. I am not old, elderly or retired. I am a modern day quilter. Using geometric patterns and funky fabrics. And currently, I have NO quilts unfinished or banished to a drawer, but I do have 4 quilts on my to do list!
So, if you want to quilt, start with one you like.
What's the worst that could happen?
Anything is Possible @ The Design Room.