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Saturday, August 01, 2009

How I Learned to Quilt

LOVE the quilt Kara! So cute! Where did you learn to quilt? My Gma is an avid quilter and I sew but have never tried quilting out. You have me itching to start! :)

I actually started quilting because of my high school graduation.

My mom and I went to Swiss Days. We were looking at all the goodies and deciding on a graduation gift for me, and fell in love with all the beautiful quilts. So, she decided to get my sister and me two each as graduation presents. My sister didn’t graduate until the next year after me, but that hardly matters since she is 22 months younger than I am, but is generally only a few months behind me in everything. This started with getting my ears pierced (I was 5, she was 3), continued with my first alarm clock and CD player, and culminated in her getting married and having a baby just 6 months behind me. I wouldn’t mind so much, expect she always gets the fancier model. Her stereo was huge compared to mine, but this luckily didn’t extend to husbands and children. Sorry, Mel, but I like mine better.

Anyway, after shelling out about $700 a piece for quilts, my mom and I decided to try it. I still have the quilts my mom bought for me at Swiss Days and I actually sleep with one of mine when I’m not busy stealing quilts from my children.

We bought a bunch of books, she bought a quilting machine and we went to town. I think our first project together was a king size quilt we did for my Aunt Angie. We were dumb. The one featured in the book was baby sized and we didn’t enlarge the blocks or anything, just multiplied them. It was a huge project, but the end result was gorgeous. Even more stupidly, we quilted it on our tiny machine quilt. I now have a policy that anything bigger than a twin goes to The Stitching Corner for quilting, where they have a huge stand machine and every dime is worth not having the hassle of wrestling an angry, giant quilt with my bare hands.

After that, I decided I wanted to learn how to do free-motion machine quilting and so I took a one night class at our local quilting store, The Stitching Corner. I’m trying to remember, but I think it’s the only crafting class I’ve ever taken. I have a whole crafting philosophy and it generally relies on experimentation and not on taking classes. I have no patience for classes, although there are some great ones out there, they just don’t work for me. I happened to be the only student that night and I learned a lot and got to go at my own pace.

From there, I went from copying designs in a book to exploring creating my own patterns. This is a bit harder, as yardage is a lot less certain, but more fun for me, as I like using my own designs. Not that I’m above following a good block pattern every so often. And really, unless you are copying everything down to the same fabrics, every quilt is its own unique creation.

Anyway, we’ve been quilting ever since. All you really need to know is how to sew in a straight line and the basics of quilting (if you machine quilt, you need a walking foot on top to feed the fabric through evenly with the bottom) and how to do the binding, all relatively simple things.

A few of the quilts my mom and I have done over the years:




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