Saturday, February 27, 2010

apparently, March is National Craft Month. who knew?

the following is an article that BF asked me to write for the local Sunday paper. I'm disappointed that it didn't appear in today's paper, but I'm sharing it with you anyway.


Quilting is the expensive and time consuming hobby of taking large pieces of fabric, cutting them into hundreds (if not thousands) of tiny pieces of fabric, and then sewing them all back together into a large pieced quilt top.

While the above sentence may evoke a wry chuckle from seasoned quilters, the art of quilting is so much more. While our grandmothers and mother may have quilted out of necessity and thrift, most modern quilters have the luxury of quilting for the pure creativity and enjoyment of manipulating the fabrics, colors and design into a work of art.

I began quilting over 25 years ago, and have been steadily pursuing this hobby ever since. My first quilt was a Bachelor’s Puzzle, made using the cardboard from a cereal box as my template. Tracing with pencil around the squares and triangles, I tediously cut out all the pieces that I would need. Today, with a rotary cutter and rotary rulers, such time consuming and inaccurate preparation is unheard of.

For me, quilting is an outlet for creativity, while having the added advantage of benefiting my family. All my children have several quilts that I have made. Whether for their birth, a milestone birthday or graduation from high school, there is a quilt to mark that special day. Our home is peppered with quilts; wall hangings, table runners, doll quilts, or simply a quilt thrown over the sofa to wrap around yourself while reading a good book. Quilts help make our house a home.

Quilting is also relaxing. As busy wives and mothers, most women can probably relate when I say that much of what I’ve done today will need to be done again tomorrow: washing dishes, laundry, cleaning, caring for small (or not so small) children, cooking dinner… It’s a treat, then, to sit down during naptime, or after dinner, and piece a block or two of a quilt that I’m working on. I’m encouraged to know that tomorrow, I can probably squeeze in some more sewing time, and before too long, I will have a completed quilt! I’m making a future heirloom, one stitch at a time.

Perhaps most importantly, quilting gives me community connections, and builds new friendships, with other women. Whether it’s joining a local quilting group, teaching classes at the local craft store or sewing with the women from my church, the opportunities for encouragement, inspiration and friendship are far more valuable than might first be evident.

I’ve had the privilege and blessing of quilting with all 3 of my daughters. Making a quilt for someone who has suffered from a fire, homelessness or even the earthquake in Haiti, is a good opportunity to teach them how truly blessed we are, and how much we have to be thankful for, while at the same time showing love to those in need.

If you’re interested in learning to quilt, getting started is much easier than you might think. First, you’ll need a reliable sewing machine. An excellent place to get one would be at a yard sale. Most of the older machines are very sturdy and well made, with many years of sewing left in them. If it doesn’t already come with an instruction manual, you can easily purchase one relatively inexpensively on-line.

Next, you’ll need a teacher. Whether you purchase a comprehensive beginners quilting book, ask a friend or relative to teach you, or sign up for a quilting class, you’ll have taken your first step towards becoming a quilter.

Deciding on your first project might be overwhelming, so start small. A crib quilt, table runner or wall hanging are all a good choice. Now comes the best part: buying the fabric! There are so many gorgeous fabrics available that it’s hard to choose just a few!

However, quilting does not need to be an expensive habit. With books borrowed from the library or fellow quilters, and fabrics you already have in your stash, you can make a quilt just as beautiful and just as frugally as our pioneer ancestors.

Whether you make a quilt for yourself or a loved one, a quilt to keep or give away, you’ll discover for yourself that the fabrics, the friendships and the fun are only a small part of the joy of quilting!

1 comment:

Angie said...

What a well written article--very nice!!!

National Craft Month--cool! I saw BF's ad in the paper.

I really should attend a class...maybe then I can make sense out of my quilting mess that I made a few weeks ago(I still haven't touched it). :)

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