Back in April of 2011, my grandmother, Jorene, wanted all her children and grandchildren to gather together for her 80th birthday. So, I loaded up my daughter, 22 months old, and my son, 6 months old, hopped on a plane, and flew to Amarillo, TX, to celebrate together with my family. Jorene called all her grandchildren together and gave us each a quilt that she had made. When she got to me, she handed me a quilt that was unique and different from the other ones. My quilt wasn't new. My quilt had a legacy that started well before my grandmother started quilting. The front of my quilt, named "Peeled Orange," was hand-pieced in the 1930's by Sarah Frances Morris Taylor Faught, my great-great grandmother, in Shawnee, Oklahoma. My grandmother, Jorene, hand-quilted the quilt in 1985. I knew then she gave me a treasure.
After I got home, I spent a lot of time studying this quilt and the other quilts I had received over the years. Thoughts started going through my mind that told me I could do this if I wanted to. The only problem was that I didn't have a sewing machine. I didn't have any fabric. I didn't have anyone around who could help me figure it out. My grandmother was back in Amarillo, TX, and I was in Memphis, TN.
A few months later, I was walking through Hobby Lobby and passed an end cap with pre-cut fabric. A jelly roll caught my eye. I grabbed it and threw it into my cart as an impulse buy. When I got home, I grabbed my sewing kit my grandmother gave me several years back as a Christmas present and sat down to formulate a plan on what I was going to make. I had a couple of friends who were pregnant and a baby quilt seemed like the most logical thing to put together. I knew I needed to make blocks and I drew out a quilt using graph paper. With a pair of fabric scissors, a 12-inch ruler, a needle and thread, I cut my fabric based on what I had drawn. I didn't take into consideration quarter-inch seams...I knew nothing about seam allowances. I just started piecing and trimming to clean it up. After diligently sewing for 7 weeks, this is what I had:
It wasn't fancy, but it was done. I then went to Joann's fabrics and bought batting (I don't even remember the type) and cuddle mink fabric for my backing. I didn't know until after I was trying to put my layers together what a mistake that was, but I managed and pushed through any difficulties I faced. I didn't baste my quilt. I sewed it together like I would have a pillow cover. Again, I didn't know any better. After that, the idea of quilting this blanket I had just spent 2 months putting together by hand seemed daunting. I remembered a quilt my parents had that was tie-quilted and decided that was probably the easiest and most practical way to go. Here is the finished product:
Did I forget to mention that I also didn't have the foggiest idea how to take a picture of a quilt either? I folded it up, put it into a gift bag and gave it to my friend, Erika, as a baby gift for her daughter.
She was thrilled and surprised. I wasn't one of those people who made gifts for my friends. I was also thrilled and surprised that the quilt didn't fall apart the first time she started using it. I knew I had started something that was going to impact my life. I knew this was just the beginning of a quilting journey.