The slippery slope into my quilting addiction began quite innocently. In January 2014, I was browsing in the independent bookstore in my small town and saw they had a 2014 calendar on sale that had lovely photos of quilts. I decided it would be a bright, colorful calendar for my office and would bring up good memories of my mother who was an accomplished quilter. The one photo in the calendar that I frequently would look at was a rail-fence pattern made up of purple and blue batik fabrics.
Around that time, I started to get to know one of my work colleagues, Beverly, who had recently moved to New Mexico from Ohio. It didn’t take long to discover that quilting is one of Beverly’s passions. I shared with her my love of mosaics, telling her that “I quilt with glass because I didn’t get the sewing gene.” I never took Home Ec in school and hadn’t touched a sewing machine since junior high after making an apron and not being all that fond of the process.
Shortly after that, I decided to subscribe to the magazine, Quilting Arts, telling myself it was for inspiration for mosaics. I looked forwarded to perusing each issue and was absolutely astounded by what people could create using fabric. Though like mosaics, I wasn’t as drawn to the representational quilts as much as the photos of geometric-shaped and modern quilts in calendar.
As the year progressed, and I flipped each month of my calendar, I started to consider that maybe I could try some simple quilting. Another friend at work started encouraging me to buy a basic sewing machine to give it a shot. When I started checking out sewing machines online, it was pretty much a done deal. I ended up ordering a Brother sewing/quilting machine, but when it arrived, I was too scared to even take it out of the box. So it sat on the floor in my bedroom for a few weeks.
What finally got me to take my sewing machine out of the box was when Beverly forwarded an email on 10/10/14 with a subject line that said “Make the nifty, efficient 5-yard Everyday Quilt.” It was from our local quilt store, Threadbear, and the three-evening class was for “confident beginners.” Well, that certainly wasn’t me since I hadn’t touched a sewing machine in over 40 years and hadn’t even taken my sewing machine out of the box! But Ann, the owner of Threadbear, told me that she’d give me some extra help, and Beverly also offered some sewing hand-holding, so I nervously signed up for the class.
The next Saturday I hefted the box over to Beverly’s house, and we unpacked my sewing machine, and she patiently walked me through the basics of threading my machine, winding a bobbin, and introduced me to some of my presser feet. We had a heck of a time getting the walking foot attached, and it gave me grief for months to come, but I finally am more or less comfortable putting it on and taking it off. It helped to buy a short-shafted screwdriver to use rather than the useless disc Brother included to loosen the presser foot attachment.
Beverly encouraged me to get a 50% off coupon at JoAnn’s and get an Olfa cutting mat, rotary cutter, and a rolling sewing machine tote which I did prior to anxiously going to my first quilting class on 10/20/14 and started to learn the basics of piecing a quilt. I also got the fabric for my quilt at JoAnn’s which was fine for my first project, but since that time, I have developed a taste for beautiful quilt store-grade fabrics both at my local quilt store and online.
After learning to hold my thread tails down to avoid “thread throw-up” and ripping out many stitches after not making sure my seam allowances were facing the right way before sewing over them, I got 35 blocks pieced and even sewed the blocks together to make seven rows. Here’s one unsewn row with two of my supervisors:
Beverly helped me to sew my first three rows together, and lining up the blocks was HARD! I decided to put this project away and make some mug rugs for Christmas presents because by that time, I had become completely addicted to Pinterest and had pinned a few mug rug tutorials. I ended up making up my own simple pattern with using Rae’s cheater binding tutorial Made by Rae and had a great time making a bunch of them. I can only find a pic of one of them right now.