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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some of the students from my girls’ marching band are traveling to Disney soon. Flower crown, Mickey ears were requested. And these were the results.