Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Am a Quilter

I've wanted to be a quilter for a long time. I was so sure of it that I took a quilting class 24 years ago in which I learned to pick fabrics and piece a small doll-sized quilt. I machine pieced the quilt but never quite got the hang of the hand quilting and repeatedly ripped out my uneven stitches. I set the quilt aside to "finish later"and when we moved to Jordan 22 years ago I packed up the small quilt, my cutting mat and and rotary cutter, because I was sure that I would be a quilter. Other projects that came along (remember counted cross-stitch?) as did four children, and then we decided to home educate those four children. Evenings were now spent reading and educating myself, not sewing and crafting.

circa 1987 doll quilt, not yet quilted

About two years ago, when Oldest Daughter began her second year of college, I made her a simple quilt from recycled denim and through the process of creating this quilt, realized that I had been a quilter all along--I had just to discover what kind of quilter I was! I was not a traditional quilter, choosing coordinating calicoes to cut into intricate, traditional patterns and hand quilt with patient precision. (That is my friend, a true quilting artist, Renae of Renae's Quilts, now a machine quilting industry innovator. Check out the amazing quilts in her gallery.)

Searching the internet for a binding tutorial, I came across Crazy Mom Quilts' site and my quilting imagination was awakened. This was the kind of quilter I wanted to be--on a more basic level, of course--making simple, modern, bold quilts which could be machine quilted. Ever in need of keeping it simple, not to mention affordable in Jordan, I decided to limit my quilting--at least the tops--to recyclable materials.

Next up would be a denim quilt for Active Son to take to college with him. It wasn't finished when he moved into the dorms last fall, but I was able to give it to him before we left the States in early January. And though I had purchased a couple of inspirational modern quilting books:

it was to Crazy Mom Quilts' site I returned, using her Fair Square quilt pattern and tutorial.

Active Son's Quilt
The top of the quilt is made of recycled--or upcycled, as they now say--denim shirts. I used jeans for Oldest daughters quilt but it was tied. As I planned to machine quilt this one, I thought I'd better use a lighter weight fabric; is a good thing I did. When I chose oh-so-soft minky fabric for the back of the quilt to please oh-so-tactile Active son, I didn't realize, having never machine quilted before, how difficult I had made things for myself.

I used a walking foot for quilting but I didn't have a proper quilting table/extension on my machine which made the machine quilting laborious and less than perfect. Thankfully, Active Son has no hints of sewing perfectionism in him and he loves the minky backing, so all was good.

Next up will be a quilt for Artist Son but I'll not be starting that one right away as I've been smitten with another recycling/upcycling crafting project...


A Circle of Quiet said...

Congrats on your beautiful work. I have a question for you: would you benefit from lots and lots of 2" quilt squares? My mother, the watercolor quilter, had many, many (MANY) boxes of squares she had cut, and I am looking for a worthy recipient. Let me know if it is YES, and then let me know how to send them to you. I would love to share them with you.


Jodi said...

OHHHH you are a quilter! Beautiful.

Quotidian Life said...

Thank you for the kind offer, Diane;I would love to say yes but I must decline. I'm committed to these denim quilts for the kids for the next couple of years (making one a year will be an accomplishment for me!)And then there is the whole transport issue. I bet the your mom's squares are lovely. I've only seen pictures of watercolor quilts and they are beautiful.

Woman of the House said...

You did a fabulous job! I like the multiple shades of blue. Your children are blessed to have quilts made by Mom!

Tina said...

Diane, I know a quilter in the Bay Area who quilts for hospice there. They make some gorgeous quilts, all from donated materials. Consider.


P.S. She is my mom!

Tina said...


Um, so what's the smittening next upcycle project? I have a whole houseful of such projects I'm accumulating; I'm always on the hunt for interesting ideas to spark my imagination.


Quotidian Life said...

Just saw your comment, Tina. A hint: save those old wool sweaters.

Kyle said...

Beautiful Melissa!
I brought a machine back with us this visit. Abigail is wanting to learn to sew and I've been wanting to try my hand at a simple quilt. I'm looking at trying to sew a 'rag quilt'. Anyway- looking to find out where to go here in Amman to buy some sewing supplies. Where do you suggest?????

ps- I hope that your move went well and that you are settling in:)