Why did I start quilting?

Over on Krisp-Quilt , the question is being asked. It really made me think.

From childhood, I was a knitter. I loved to knit and rarely was without a project on the go. I made lace tablecloths, lace scarves, big fishermen’s knit sweaters and everything in between. Then about 12 years ago, aggressive arthritis struck and I had to give it up. I was lost without a craft.

My cousin is a quilter and I had always been intrigued but figured there wasn’t a chance I could do that. After all, when I needed to sew on a button it became a very big deal! I had never used a sewing machine. It all seemed too foreign. The funny thing is I remember being in a big bookstore here, looking at one of the Elly Sienkiewicz Baltimore Album applique books and being absolutely enthralled. That was years before I even began to contemplate quilting. Little did I know!

However, desperation took hold and I took the plunge. One rainy Saturday afternoon DH and I were out doing errands on the same street as the LQS and we stopped there. I bought some supplies; a book, a rotary cutter, a mat, needles and thread and, of course, fabric. That evening I went through the exercise of washing and ironing my fabric, making templates, tracing them on to my fabric, cutting it out and started to stitch. My first block? Oh, it was dreadful. But I was hooked.

The following week saw me haunting bookstores and another LQS. I read and read and read some more. Then I started on a star quilt. It is truly dreadful — but I still love the fabrics I used in it. It never got quilted. Even as a total novice I could see it was dreadfully constructed! If nothing else, I’m sure the kitties will love it. LOL

I can’t even imagine what I was thinking now. When I look at this and see the great gaping holes in the middle of those stars, I shudder. I actually tried to fix a couple of them last night — unsuccessfully.

Since then? Well, since then I’ve learned tons and tons. I tend to learn best from books and at my own pace. I have some wonderful books in my quilt library but must say that my most treasured book and the one from which I think I learned the most is Linda Franz’ Quilted Diamonds 2. The DVD lesson that comes with that book is worth its weight in gold, in my opinion.

I have never been comfortable with machine piecing although I am fortunate enough to have two great sewing machines; my mother’s Featherweight and an older Pfaff Creative that is wonderful. Perhaps because I sit at a computer all day for work I find sitting at any type of machine for anything else seems altogether too much like work. But I found my niche! Hand piecing and, when I can, hand applique and hand quilting. And this past year I even started to do some hybrid blocks — utilizing both machine and hand piecing. I don’t know if I’ll ever be completely comfortable with machine stitching, but this is a step I never thought I’d take.

While my wrists are certainly not better, I count my blessings — I can hand piece even at the worst of times. During good times, I can applique and hand quilt (using the Thimblelady technique and thimble). I am very fortunate and know it. Tracing templates and rotary cutting were both things that I knew were going to be problems for me a few years ago. So when Inklingo came on the market, I was thrilled. Thanks to it, I can keep on quilting and have been able to make a wonderful king-sized quilt for us — I had seen the pattern for the quilt in an older issue of Australian Patchwork & Quilting and had always wanted to do it but knew there was no way I could trace the templates on to fabric or paper for English paper piecing. The day I got my copy of Inklingo Collection 1 I started printing the hexagons and elongated hexagons for that quilt. And that is the reason I talk about Inklingo so much — it has meant I didn’t have to give up quilting as it was becoming apparent, the summer before it came out, that my quilting days were numbered.

I am amazed at and thrilled by the creativity of quilters and their beautiful creations. Wandering about quilting blogs is almost sensory overload some days. There are so many gorgeous quilts being made with so many techniques and so many wonderful fabrics that I’m constantly wanting to try something else.

6 thoughts on “Why did I start quilting?

  1. Bravo …. you found a way to enjoy your obession when a medical problem entered into the fray. And your star quilt ….. heck, it can come live with me any day and I would take the kitties too (toys and all)!


  2. Wanted to see if you have tried Cindy Blackberg’s stamp templates. She has a line of rubber stamps that are used with fabric in to mark the templates on fabric. I am taking a class in Chicago from her this spring. I’ve never tried the Inklingo but I’ve seen them on her site.christine


  3. What a lovely post. I read all your posts and very much admire how much you achieve by hand piecing so I for one am very glad you found your niche. And of course I love to see your lovely kitties – lol xxx


  4. What a great story Cathi!! It’s wonderful that Linda’s Inklingo has kept you quilting. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t quilt!!



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