WWQP Bulletin Board

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Oldest quilter to begin rotary quilting!

Judy I have to say I have a few years up on you. I began rotary cutting at 60+ and have been at it a long time. I love strip piecing and do a lot of it. I was also an older tennis player. At 45 I picked up my first tennis racquet and learned to play. I became a good player--not professional quality but I did play team tennis and tournaments. Dot

Friday, May 25, 2007

"Don't Judge Yourself Before You Begin"

The quote I used as my subject line is something I read today in the October, 2006 issue of Quilter's Home magazine. a fairly recent addition to the flood of Q magazines that appeals to my jaded eye ... I order back issues when I find them in online quilt shops. Anyhow, in an article written by Mary Pat Rhodes, the founder and owner of Quiltsmart, she writes about we should "learn how to be your own mirror for your own talent" and "Don't judge yourself before you begin".

That is an excellent idea and if I could still do needlepoint I would make that up as a motto for my quilting room. LOL


How Did I Get Started Quilting?

I am a visual, hands on, self taught kind of person. My mother taught me the basics of sewing around the age of six and I haven't quit since. I started making most of my clothes while in the early teens. Throughout the years I made almost everything my daughter and I wore and some of my sons clothes. Even two dress suits for him.

Almost every kind of hand craft has caught my attention and I've tried my hand at most of them:painting, macrame, weaving, decoupage, cross stitch, embroidery, crochet, quilting, and now knitting. Crochet, quilting, and knitting being my favorites.

My first quilt was made around the age of 15/16. I embroidered small blocks about 8" square of animals in different activities, sewed them together, and hand quilted it into a baby blanket. I later used it when my daughter came along when I was 19. She now has it. When she and her brother were small I made several quilts for them along with a few others throughout the years.

The quilt bug didn't really sink its' teeth into me though until 1999. The children no longer lived at home. In their place my husband and I were living with and caring for my parents and another old man. I turned to quilting as a MUCH needed outlet. It is very hard mentally, physically, and emotionally to care for sick and dying invalids. Quilting was my escape. I don't know what I would have done if it hadn't been here for me.

After going full throttle though from late 1999 until July 2006, I burned out. I took up knitting. A craft I have always wanted to learn, but I never had the drive to learn until last July. BTW, the ladies here are wonderful and some of them are great at other things besides quilting too. One of the posters here has been a great help for me with my knitting.

Scrappy quilts are my favorites by far. Patterns with a curve or those that are round seem to intrigue me the most. Of course they would. For whatever reason I am always drawn to the more challenging designs. I can't seem to want to do the less stressful things in life.

I have again started to do quilt related things. Presently, I am making 25 large scrappy flower and basket blocks for one of the ladies that post right here on our board. I'll let her name herself if she wishes to. I am also hand quilting a top for an elderly lady (in her 80's) that was made about 30 years ago by her then 90 year old mother. I also am hand quilting a grandmother's flower garden quilt, which I made. Then there is my husband's DJ. It is pin basted and waiting its' turn at the hoop. I hope to get these all done this year, but if I don't I have given myself permission not to sweat it. There is always next year.

This is a good thread. Thanks for starting it.

Sandra from SC May 25, 2007

favorite quilt

Now that would be like which is your favorite child. :0) I tend to love scrappy quilts in stars, baskets, log cabin, nine patch, and four patches. Also I like crazy quilts and oriental and some applique.
Presently working on a two colored tree of life quilt and almost finished hand quilting it. The weather is lovely here lately so go outside and spend the afternoon out there working on it. I also alternate with a paperback book called "The Good German" and finding that a good read. There is to be a movie of it starring George Clooney. Will look for it at the video store.
Enjoy your day. LONNA IN WI

Thursday, May 24, 2007

One of My Favorite Quilts

So what is your favorite quilt? The one you've created and you love the most? I saw a vintage 6-point star quilt draped over a sofa in a magazine ad years ago. I loved it. I drafted the star shapes (thank you, high school geometry teacher!) and pieced this together on my Singer Featherweight one year when we were spending a month in warmer clime. This was my first quilt where the seams extended only to the point of the piece, and not into the seam allowance. To get the vintage look I chose 1930s reproduction fabrics and also used some genuine vintage fabrics my DD found for me at a yard sale. The yellow was very difficult to find...quilt shops had not yet begun carrying large selections of solid colors. Finished this one by hand quilting.

West Michigan checking in

What a wonderful thread. I've enjoyed reading them all.
What a great way to get folks to post. I took 4H when I
was in grade school. Home EC in high school. I sewed for
myself and all 5 of the kids. I can remember my Grandma
teaching me to make nine patches when I was little. I took my
first quilting class, I think in 70 or 71. I've never looked back.
I have many tops that need to be quilted. I like the piecing part
the best. When I started it was drawing around a template, adding
the seam allowance and sewing by hand. When I started piecing by machine
my kids said I was cheating. Most things I make are scrappy. I have way
more fabric than I will ever be able to sew up. I don't buy like I used to. I
enjoy making Christmas table runners to give as gifts.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Quote

I saw a quote in the newspaper today and had to share it. The article was about 70s style crafting (tables made from suitcases, purses crocheted from plastic bags, etc), but I thought it especially appropriate for quilters.

"We make things for two reasons: pleasure and because we can. The pleasure is in the process and the end result is just a byproduct of this joy."


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

When did I begin to quilt?

Like so many here I began with sewing my own clothes. For me it was 4-H, my Mom was the leader. I fought tooth & nail with her to skip the "apron" & move on too something useful, so I
made pants first.
Quilting skipped a generation & my interest in quilting grew from making "one of a kind clothes",often with embroidery or patches. I always loved the quilting done by my 2 great aunts who were Mennonite quilters, always quilting for charity, never themselves. We have only one family quilt, done by my great grandmother when she was in her 90's.
I took my 1st quilting class at Daisy Kingdom here in Portland after seeing the bicentennial quilts that were touring & made a stop at a local mall. I'll never forget how inspirational they were, I was awestruck! I have been quilting soooooo long I should have a zillion quilts on my bed, but the truth is I'm not as disciplined as I should be & do more dreaming than actual quilting! But I still treasure the friendships I have formed through quilting & I don't think there is anything to compare to our quilting community, quilters are just the best!
PS: But I do have a zillion yards of fabric!

When did I learn to quilt?

I was 48or 49 when I was drawn, very reluctantly, into quilting. When I was a kid my mother and my grandmothers all sewed and knitted, etc. My sister started too, but I refused. I did a terrible job with the 6 months of sewing required in Grade 9 and swore never, never again. Then as a young married woman with no money, I found out that I could make little dresses and pyjamas as Christmas gifts for next to nothing (those were the days!). When I had my own kids, I made a lot of their clothes when they were small. I can't say I enjoyed the process (my youngest daughter says she always associated Mommy sewing with Mommy swearing at the sewing machine!), although I did love the feeling of accomplishment when something was finished. I hadn't used my machine in years until a new friend bugged me and bugged me to make a quilt. I got hooked quickly and found it so relaxing and creative. My youngest daughter was amazed at my newfound calm and patience. I made a junior bridesmaid's dress for DGD about 6 years ago and have taken a vow that NEVER will I sew clothing again. It's quilts for me now.
Brenda in Nn Ontario

My first quilt

I too grew up with a Grandmother who made quilts. Mom sewed, but she did not quilt. She is a fine artist with paints instead. I can remember taking art as a child, and coming home with drawings that did not meet my expectations of what they should look like. Of course, I never told Mom why the art ended there! Therefore, I took up crocheting, embroidery, counted cross stitch, and any other craft.
I didn't start quilting until DH and I moved 200 miles away from my family. I was unable to find a teaching job right away, and when I did, it was only part time. I told DGM that I wanted to learn to quilt. A few weeks later, a Grandmother's flower garden top, queen sized, showed up in the mail. I had previously cut and matched the pieces for her, because her hands could no longer handle cutting large amounts of pieces. I quilted that one by hand, using the stab method, on a floor hoop. No one had ever showed me a real quilting stitch, and that way I could get the stitches the same size. I decided them that I didn't want to hand quilt another large quilt.
Then I pieced a top out of scraps. Again, I had been sewing for years, but no one gave me any hints on how to put it together. I did get a book and read, so I knew about 1/4 inch seams. The top actually looks OK, but there are creases on the back where I quilted it on the machine without getting it properly stretched and basted. I also sewed on the horizontal sashing in one long strip, so the squares don't exactly line up...
After that, I was well and truly hooked. I took some classes. I really like the piecing of the top. I never did get to liking the quilting process...
Laura in Alabama

Sewing Secrets

I've already mentioned how I began quilting. My first sewing experiences on my mother's Singer treadle machine included making doll clothes. The handy-dandy thing about a treadle is that you can stitch very slowly. I got the hang of it pretty quickly and ran the needle through my thumb only once. LOL. I had no patterns, simply cut pieces of fabric to what I thought should be the right size for my dolly. I even added bits of lace trim.
My first garment was a shirt-waist dress with a full skirt. I used a pattern and a piece of red-gingham check that my mother had on hand. Unfortunately it was a bit less than needed. I was able to cut all the pieces except that the skirt pieces were a tad short. No problem, or so I thought. I bought a short piece of similar red gingham and added a three-inch ruffled edge to the bottom of the skirt in order to add the necessary length The idea wasn't all that bad except that the new fabric was a shade darker than the dress itself. This was my very first lesson in dye-lots.
Later in Home Ec class I made a full skirt and a button-down blouse. Teacher insisted we learn to make flat-felled seams. These were a wonderful exercise in skillful sewing and I hate them to this day. LOL. I made nearly all my own clothes in high school and beyond....through the age of polyester double-knit (whoever invented that stuff, anyway??)...and into the age of the hippie era (all-natural cotton).
I dislike poly-cotton fabrics to this day. LOL
I really regret not being able to do hand work anymore. I used to love hand quilting. I miss it a lot. But, it's just too painful now. I visited the orthopedic Doc yesterday. He tried to draw out the fluid inside the synovial cyst on my left palm, but was only able to get 1.5 cc out, even using an 18 gauge needle (huge thing, looked like you might be able to stick your finger in the end), so still have a lump on my palm, and on the little finger. I'm lucky that my hands don't hurt very often, just when I abuse them, so am grateful for that. Thank goodness we have sewing machines to take up the slack.

Pat in Rockport, TX

Oldest Quilting "Virgin"?

As a "city slicker" child (remember my earlier mention of S.S.Kresge dimestores?) I grew up with a very talented mother who did her best to teach me the domestic arts (sewing, knitting, crocheting and tatting) so I learned the same skills as Marie. However, I went to college and became a teacher, I married and had children, etc. As an adult I gave my leisure hours to needlepoint and and counted-cross stitch because I did not wish to follow in my mother's footsteps. I passionately loved needle arts but in my own way. In her youth my mother was a 4-H prize winner at her Indiana county fairs for her dress making and quilting skills. She was a ruthless "judge" of my dress making skills (oh, those 22" zippers down the back of a dress!!) and we had too many battles over her Singer sewing machine. I would not even think of the idea of learning quilting from my mother so I did my own thing, did it very well, and I even did silk petitpoint work for hire. But too many fine stitches and other things interfered and the day came when I had to stop gripping those needles ....

When I called my mother on the telephone and told her that at age 52 I was teaching myself to make quilts on the sewing machine she snapped back and said that it would not be a real quilt if I used a sewing machine .....

How many of us have had that conversation? LOL

So, was I the oldest beginner quilter? Anyone older than me when they picked up a rotary cutter for the first time?

First quilt

Growing up in a farm family where the family mottoes were "raise what you eat and eat what you raise", and "make it, or make it do", quilting and sewing were not optional if one wanted clothes on their back or warm covers on the bed. My mother was skilled at both and began teaching me as soon as my legs were long enough to run the treadle machine and my hands quick enough to avoid the sewing needle. Piecing my first quilt was her way of teaching me to sew a straight seam of a particular width, a bit about utilizing scraps left from dress construction, and perserverance in finishing a big project to her exacting standards. Many seams were ripped out and many tears were shed, but the finished quilt still resides on my guestroom bed some 50 years later, only a bit worse for the wear. Some of the pieces were printed feedsack, and I vividly remember accompanying my parents to the feed store warehouse and watching my mother pick out 100-pound bags of chicken feed in matching patterns so as to have the required yardage for a dress. Sometimes those choices involved having the sales help move several bags of feed to uncover the specific bag she wanted, not an easy task when the stack was 20 bags long, 10 bags deep, and 10 bags high, a seeming mountain of feed to a small child.

That first quilt was a simple 9-patch in a straight setting with lattice strips. Sometime during my junior high school years, I remember handpiecing a set of lemoyne star blocks on newspaper foundations from strips out of the scrap box, which I think Mom finally set together with 16-patch gold-and-green blocks fromthe '60s, though I don't remember that the top ever got quilted. Guess I need to dig through some of the still-packed boxes and see if I can find that one. Most of the quilts I make now are gifts, some large, some small, some only for wall hangings, but I still get a great deal of enjoyment from handpiecing and handquilting.

Y'all have a great day now. Marie in Maryland

Sunday, May 20, 2007

first quilt

I began sewing in 4H at age 8. By 11, I was making full cotton skirts and progressed to tailoring in high school. I made boys shirts for school, blazers for Easter (tailored pants only once - those zippers got me), dresses, suits, coats and progressed to prom dresses. When DD went to college, I decided to make her a quilt - with no knowledge of quilting. I took a picture of mountains and a lake to school and enlarged it on the opaque projector. Cut it apart for a pattern and added 5/8" seam allowances. Somehow it went together with many curved seams. That was appliqued onto doublecloth, layered and quilted minimally. It is in use still, amazing. In 1993, my mother came to live with us, I stopped teaching and my husband retired. I took 18 classes in 18 months! The quilt shop became my second home. Teaching and designing are my favorite aspects of quilting now.

Quilt Beginnings

I began sewing when I was 7 years old when I made a dress for myself with the help of the neighbor lady who was an accomplished seamstress. I used to stand up to sew at my grandma's old Singer with the knee control. She'd always try to slide a chair under me but standing up felt right. I can't picture doing that now! I started quilting in June of 1992 when I was expecting our son. I bought a McCall's or Simplicity pattern--the only kind of patterns I was familiar with-- for what was actually an appliqued baby quilt--a big teddy bear stitched to a background--which I did with a machined satin stitch. It wasn't half bad and weathered use ok. I think I packed it away with his baby keepsakes. My second quilt was a log cabin in purple and green--great big 12" blocks--I figured the bigger the block, the fewer I'd have to make! It's still in use and holding up ok as a cat blanket. All my quilts are done by machine--I'd still be on my first quilt if I did it by hand. However, if I ever tackle another queen-size quilt, it will be sent out to a longarmer for quilting--I did that ONCE and it was enough!!! I've kept a pretty good record of how many quilts I've made in the 15 years--many are small wall quilts. I found I average one quilt about every 2 months.

My First Quilt Was Inspired By A Display of Mountain Mist Contest Quilts at JoAnn's

In the winter of 1992 I had less than successful wrist surgery and found that I had to give up working on my beloved needlepoint and counted cross-stitch because gripping a needle had become too painful. I wandered into a JoAnn store one day thinking to buy a glue gun and something frou-frou so I could learn some kind of new hobby that involved color and ribbons or something ......

Up on the wall there were small square quilts made with big bold shapes and funky fabrics, nothing like the bed quilts my mother and grandmother had made. These were small quilts with golfing themes and football fabrics and Mickey Mouse and when I went over for a closer look I realized that these quilts were made on the sewing machine!!! My mouth dropped open and I stood there staring up at these small "quiltlets" on display for a Mountain Mist contest and had what can only be called a "light bulb" moment. I could make quilts on a sewing machine!!! I didn't have to hand piece and hand quilt like my mom and grandma!!! I wandered around with a shopping cart and found the section of the store with "Quilting Supplies" ..... and wandered out about two hours later with a rotary cutter, a short acrylic ruler, a small cutting mat, one book ("Strip Quilting Made Easy" or some such title) and four pieces of cheap fabric from the bargain rack at the back of the store. I didn't want to invest too much money in fabric in case making quilts on the sewing machine was boring ........

I shudder to think how much money I have spent on "Quilting Supplies" since that day fourteen years ago but I certainly have had a great deal of joy from this hobby .... and I have yet to buy any Mountain Mist batting. LOL

First quilt..

My first quilt was made possible by a kind American lady who sent me the pattern of a quilt I had seen in a magazine !! My maternal grandmother had made quilts and I remember being fascinated by the tiny pieces of material she had sewn together to make a quilt top.. I have always loved fabric and made my own clothes from an early age. I sewed for our daughters until they decided that Jeans were all they wanted to wear !

When we were farming I used the raw material that was around me and learnt to spin wool, make felt and knit warm jerseys for anybody and everybody. We had white, brown and black sheep (and every shade in between !) so I was able to make some interesting jerseys ...

When we left the farm I needed another hobby, I picked up an American quilting magazine and was immediately hooked !! There was a section of the magazine where people could send photos of their quilts and a little bit about them... I saw a beautiful quilt and knew that I had to make it. I wrote to the lady who had sent in the photo and she, bless her heart (!) photocopied the pattern and sent it to me.... Two problems here, one that the quilt was made by an expert and two that the photocopying had distorted the patterns... I can't remember the name of the pattern but each block had a stylized flower, the flower and the background were both pieced... I made the first block and it was nowhere near the finished size that it should have been. Not easily put off I decided to just piece the flower and then applique it on to the background... That worked !!

I made many blocks (double bed sz) and then put them together, set "on point" with a great deal of hand quilting of leaves on the sashings.. You may have guessed that at this stage ,I didn't know anybody else who quilted... This quilt is still on our bed (some 22yrs later) and I get a great deal of pleasure from it. It was a case of "ignorance is bliss" !! I still smile when I think of my determination . The hand quilting is very fine and even, probably the best that I have ever done. I've made many quilts since and have them on all of my beds and most of the walls !!

It's a great hobby and has brought me into contact with many kind and interesting people.