Do you quilt?

I recently visited a local flea market that sells vinyl so I could get the material for a truck decal that I promised a friend.  Of course I can’t go in and not mosey around, taking in all that I find so visually pleasing.  I just love antiques and shopping in thrift stores, yard sales and the like.  Among the timeworn items, unique decor and random treasures was a basket of fabric!  So much fabric!

I wanted it all!  I am obsessed with vintage quilting fabrics and especially random fabrics in the same color group.  Walking through a fabric store is overwhelming with all of the pretty fabrics, bright colors and modern prints.  But there is something about muted colors or those in the primary group, small floral prints or fabrics that you can tell what decade they belonged in.  I would love to someday make a rainbow quilt so scrappy that no two fabrics are the same.  That is definitely on my quilting bucket list!

I knew I needed to show the teeniest bit of restraint and not grab the entire basket of fabric scraps.  In hindsight, I wish I would have rescued all of the pieces and brought them home with me!  However, I plucked out the red fabrics and headed to the register while trying to hide my excitement over this haul.

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The shopkeeper asks me, “Do you quilt?”

It was a simple yes or no question.  But I didn’t know how to answer!

Since I do not quilt in the fancy ways of more experienced quilters with long arm quilting machines and I have only made a few to date, could I really consider the few blankets I have made as quilts?  Would that actually mean that I have quilted?  Does that make me a quilter?  To say that it is and that I am seems a bit silly to me.

I said, “Well, I like to collect fabric and sometimes sew them together”.

That was just about the dorkiest answer I could have given!  I have never been very good with words, during a real-time conversation.  I usually get tongue-tied, forget words completely or just draw a blank on how to respond.

But it is the exact truth.

I love finding fabric that has spent years hiding, tucked into a closet and long forgotten when its intended purpose was fulfilled.  I love taking them home and filing them into my grandfather’s old chest of drawers, reserved for my own collection, which my youngest daughter so thoughtfully arranged in color order.  And I love to see the large variety of fabrics I have been able to collect in the last year and a half.

I collect fabric and sometimes sew them together.

Lessons

Since I have began sewing and quilting, I have come to learn a few things.

  • I have more patience than I realized.
    It does not matter how many times I sew and rip seams and sew and rip seams, I keep my cool and continue on.  …except for that one time….
  • I can’t draw…er, sew…a straight line.
    Even when I use a guide line, my “straight” lines somehow are still a little wonky. And you know what?  It’s ok.  My goal is not perfection, it is completion.  Because sometimes, completing a project is the hardest part.
  • Basting a quilt should be considered cardio.
    I have learned that you should always have too much backing fabric because “just enough” makes for a lot of work.  I spent entirely too much time wrestling with the fabric for a large lap quilt on my living room floor.  It was a workout, for sure!
  • Machine quilting should be considered “arm day”.
    Due to the nature of my last large project, I only used straight (ok…sometimes wonky) stitches.  Feeding such a large piece through my machine, while keeping the excess on top of my small work space, to keep it from pulling, was a workout in itself.  My arm muscles were feeling the burn!
  • It should also be considered therapy.
    There is something about mindlessly sewing rows and rows of straight (well…you know…) stitches that is very relaxing and freeing.  In those moments, I could let go of worries, expectations, and daily responsibilities.

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Mario Bros.

As with most of my previous projects, I saw a picture of a completed quilt and thought to myself, “I can do that!”  I started this project shortly after completing my dads Tetris quilt.  I printed a picture, counted out the squares and did some sewing math (see kids, you really DO need math!) and planned it out.  I cut all 864 squares before starting to sew, which is unusual for me because I typically get too impatient to get to the fun stuff and cut as needed.  But given the large number of squares needed, I wanted to make sure I was organized.

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This kind of sewing is peaceful to me.  I don’t have to think much about what I am doing…just sew in a straight line.  I was likely binge-watching something on Netflix, sitting quietly in my own thoughts, or gabbing with my girls about the latest high school goings on.

I finished the top.  I quilted it.  And then it sat on the back of my couch, folded, for nearly a year!

Finally, recently I found the lost fabric I was going to use for the binding and got to work to complete it.

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This was a challenging and fun quilt to work on.  And I just love the finished product!  It takes me back to the 80’s, when playing Nintendo was one of my family’s favorite past-times.

One Year Sew-iversary

One year!

It was one year ago today that I borrowed my mom’s sewing machine.  I was most intimidated by threading it.  When I first sat down with it, I pulled all of the thread out, pulled up a video on YouTube and re-threaded it.  Whew!  Step one done.  I used a piece of scrap material and and sewed a few straight lines to get a feel for the machine.  Then I set out to make a cute little triangle pouch I found online.  I followed a tutorial on YouTube and it was much easier and way more satisfying than I could imagine.  I was hooked!

Here is a look at {most of} my sewing projects from the last year.

My first time running fabric through the machine

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Very first project…a triangle zipper pouch

Practicing quilting

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First fidget quilt, for my grandmother

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Trying my hand at a half-square triangle quilt block

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Wall quilt, made for my grandmother…but it now hangs on my wall

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Cricut covers for my mom and myself

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Cricut cover for a friend.

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Guard equipment bag (I also made another one but don’t have a picture)

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Bag made from a thrift store mumu

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Another tote bag made from thrift store clothes

Set of five placemats

Scrappy Monster

Pin Cushion

Quilt for my king sized bed (still unfinished)

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My first baby blanket, for my cousins new baby

tetris quilt back

Tetris blanket for my dad

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Not quite ready to share this one yet 😉

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One cat block, I made this just to see if I could lol

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Fidget quilt, for someone to gift to their elderly mother

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Weighted blanket

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Another set of placemats, better suited for fall

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One matching curtain panel (this has since become scrap fabric – although I really should make some curtains)

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Wine glass coaster

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Drawstring bag (vinyl done by my mom)

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My Dollar Tree quilting gloves 🙂

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An evening “wine down” at my sewing machine

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My first t-shirt quilt

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Another t-shirt quilt

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Chapstick holders

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Practice memory bear, made from a shirt and scrap fabric

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Girafficorn

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Pencil pouch

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Cosmetic bag

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Cut pieces for one block

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Completed block for memory quilt

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The first blocks for a memory quilt, made from my grandparents’ clothes

If you’ve made it all the way to the end…thank you for looking.

And thank you to my family and friends for the continued support and encouragement in all that I do!