Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Push the Pedal Down

My first quilt was a HUGE learning experience and I decided that each quilt I made would offer me the opportunity to learn something new.  Since my first quilt was hand-pieced, I wanted to machine-piece my next one. 

Sitting behind a sewing machine was not completely new to me, but it was still an uncomfortable place to be.  My grandmother taught me how to make a dress when I was 12.  I flew to Amarillo, TX, by myself and stayed with her during the summer for a couple of weeks.  During that time, we went to the fabric store, picked out a dress pattern and fabric and started on the journey of learning to sew.  I learned to cut out my pattern and cut the fabric with all the notches.  I learned to piece each part together and rip apart seams when I did something like sew the arm sleeve closed.  I didn't truly appreciate the lessons she was teaching me at the time and I walked away from the experience proud of the dress I had made, but lacking any real interest in trying it again.  Why make clothes when you can purchase them so easily?  I still kinda feel that way. More recently I sat behind a machine a couple of times making things for my babies before they were born.  My friend, Erin, helped me make the bedding and curtains for my daughter's nursery.  I'll be honest in saying that she did most of the work.  My friend, Mary Catherine, helped me sew together bumper pads for my son's nursery.  Again, I was mostly a spectator.  I did make half-a-dozen receiving blankets for my son and I did that project all by myself with a couple of YouTube videos instructing me on how to wind a bobbin.  Those receiving blankets are still holding strong and my son has been dragging them around for over 2 years now.

Alright, back to the next quilt.  I only had 2 weeks before my next friend's baby shower and I didn't have 3 months to finish a quilt by hand again.  All I needed was a sewing machine, but I didn't have one.  Luckily, I know people who do.  I called up my friend Mary Catherine and asked if I could come to her house and use her machine.  She willingly opened up her home and I spent 2-3 evenings closed off in her upstairs room sewing like a mad woman.  I was determined! Here is the finished product:

This is bigger than a baby quilt, but it will grow with the child.
I still didn't baste the quilt.  I still used the cuddle mink fabric and I still put it all together like you would if you were recovering a pillow.  I hand-quilted using embroidery thread and followed the pattern of the quilt.  I now know this technique is called echo quilting, but I just thought it was a neat idea at the time.  It was a adventurous pattern for a newbie since I didn't have traditional blocks.  This was also a challenging quilt since it's for a girl.  My friend Jessica wanted a navy and white nursery for a baby girl and I was determined to make something in her color scheme that was appropriate for the baby.  I feel I succeeded...at least no one has told me otherwise.

A year and a half later, this quilt is still thriving.  It's been used to provide warmth, used as a safe place for the baby to lie on the floor, used to bring family together and used to give comfort with a good snuggle.  This is the best compliment a quilter could ever receive.

A grandmother with her grandchild.
Hangs nicely on the crib.
I like to do this with my quilts as well.
She's a cutie!
Thanks Jess for the pictures!

1 comment:

  1. Janet, I have watched you along the way on this journey and it has been such and amazing experience for me to see how they all unfold into something breath taking. so I venture out and tryed my hands at making 2 quilts for the new twins to my family under your instructions, in which i appreciate the most, You have taugth me so much!!! Keep up the good work my Susie Home maker you know I often talk about you and to all I refer to you as my Susie Homemaker. I love you and keep making mothers happy. Linda


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