Recently, I realized I really and truly am a quilter. I’ve become addicted to fabric, new techniques, and stalking my favorite quilters for inspiration. It still surprised me to realize that I know think of myself in the category of quilter.
I learned to sew on my mom’s machine in elementary school. It was a super basic kenmore machine that she had bought at a yardsale years earlier, and was so heavy I couldn’t even lift it to the table by myself. I have a lot of fond memories of learning on the green monster.
A few years later, my mom and aunt both learned to quilt in order to replicate an heirloom quilt. I joined in the madness, and learned the basics through Block of the Month clubs at a local fabric shop. I didn’t have a lot of patience but I at least new the basics of quilt block construction and got a lot more comfortable on a sewing machine.
In high school, I took an advanced home ec class and as the final project, everyone made a quilt. We were given the choice of two quilts- Around the World and Around the World on Point. I chose the more complicated option, naturally, and made my first quilt. That twin size around the world on point was hand quilted and lived on my bed for several years, and now resides on the guest bed in my mom’s house.
I helped my mom on several more quilts, and made a few small baby size quilts as part of charity projects, but that was the end of my quilting for myself for many years. While I got a sewing machine for my birthday when I was 19, I got married shortly after and moved overseas, where it was very hard to get quilting supplies and most places wouldn’t ship to my location. I sewed some basic things and altered my own clothing, but otherwise, I hardly sewed for the three years we lived overseas.
When we moved back to the states, my interest in sewing was renewed. I was doing some basic home projects and had easy access to fabrics once more. It still took me a few years to bite the bullet and start sewing a quilt again though. I assembled my first quilt top in a matter of days in the summer of 2012-and from there the quilting bug was born.
We relocated once more in the fall of 2012, and I found a fat quarter bundle of fabric that I fell in love with. From there, I started collecting matching pieces, and in January 2013, I took a very deep breath and cut into the fabric, and started assembling my dream quilt. I took breaks to work on other quilts (like a few baby quilts as gifts, etc) and to save up money to buy backing and to pay for it to be long arm quilted, but I finally completed my dream king size quilt in January 2015, almost exactly two years later. It’s far from perfect, but I love it. It took me outside my comfort zone and forced me to get comfortable with sewing large projects. I learned new skills and refreshed old ones.
In the midst of the quilt projects, I also upgraded my sewing machine from a super basic older model to a mid range model that is a lot more versatile and easier to find accessories for. I’ve bought accessory feet and upgraded most of my other tools as well.
I’m always looking for new projects, but I am terrified of starting new ones. My next big quilt is Moda Modern Building Blocks, which is 48 different blocks in a variety of sizes. They are all pieced blocks, and there are minimal instructions, which scares me. But I know I am capable of doing this, I just need to suck it up and start.
I loved the look of English Paper Piecing(EPP) but again, was scared to learn. But I wanted to try it, so I finally got brave and dove in head first, and well…now I have over 600 hexagons hand pieced and starting to assemble them into a quilt top anyway.
Same with foundation paper piecing. It terrifies me- but once I started it, I love it!
I am far from a pro, but I am becoming much more comfortable with my skills and much more adventurous. I can’t wait to dive in headfirst on my next projects and learn even more.