Learning to Quilt

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 I started learning how to sew when I was 19 years old. I would see my girlfriends in gorgeous outfits that they had created and I would be so jealous because they had made them themselves.

Anyway, at age 19 I already had a sewing machine even though I knew nothing about how to use it. My friends used it much more than I did. I was not happy about that. So I finally broke down and asked a friend to teach me how to sew. When I made my first dress I was ecstatic! It was my own! I had made it! And I could wear it! I was on cloud 9.

As the years went by I was drawn into more and more creative things. I learned to crochet and made wonderful and beautiful doilies all of which I gave away. Then I learned how to knit and that was a passion that was well-fulfilled. I was able to do a lot of knitting when I had my daughter.

Then I started thinking about quilting. It looked easy because all you really did was sew pieces of cloth together to make a throw, a blanket, a comforter or whatever. But try as I might I could not handle it. I didn’t know how to do it. The first one I tried was a disaster because as usual, even though I bought a book to teach me how to do it, I did not read the book. I looked at the pictures and thought I would be able to do it. So I gave that up.

Then I moved to Huntsville and met a lady who was just like me when it came to crafts. She made all kinds of things and actually made money from them. I told her my desire of wanting to learn to quilt and she expressed that desire too. So we decided that we need to start a quilting class. But we had no teacher so she approached a lady at the sewing counter in Wal-Mart and the lady volunteered to teach us how to quilt. Needless to say, that did not work out. Finally we were able to find a teacher who did not have a class so my friend and I got together and called up all the women we knew and asked them to join our quilting class. We started out with about 10 ladies. I was so excited. I was finally going to learn how to make a quilt.

At our first class I brought the pieces of scraps from the very first quilt I had started about three to four years before. When the instructor looked at it she pointed out to me what I did wrong and how to correct it. I went home that night so excited that finally I would be able to make a quilt. I stayed up the greater part of the night stitching the pieces together and finally I had the quilt top done. Then I looked in my instructional book and followed the instructions, and with the guidance of the teacher was able to get my first quilt put together.

Now I don’t like to do hand work but there was a lot to be done on the quilt. I had to actually sew the top and batting and the backing together (that’s the quilting to make them adhere to each other), and then I had to hemstitch the binding all the way around. But my teacher showed me the quilt in a ditch method and explained that I could machine stitch the binding. Well, after some deliberation I decided that to get the real feel of quilting I had to do it all by hand. As I told you I don’t like to do hand sewing but finally I decided to sew a button at each corner where four pieces met and that would be my quilting. It took me a long time because there were many four-piece corners, then I again sat down and sewed the binding all the way around.

That’s the only quilt I have done that with. All the others I have made I use the machine, and even then I find it tedious to do the quilting. However, it is much better than doing it by hand.

This first quilt I made will stay in my possession until I die because I have no intention of giving it away, considering that I spent so much time on it. I keep it in a closet and show it to everyone who comes to visit. That’s my masterpiece.

Since then I have made quite a few quilts. Some of them look pretty ok while others need some improvement. But I’m still learning, and I believe that I’m getting better at it. I wish I had more time to devote to quilting because it is a craft that I really love and I hope one day to make a king-sized quilt for my bed. Right now I am specializing in baby quilts as they are smaller and much easier to handle.

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