This month I am participating in a “Sew Thankful” challenge hosted by All People Quilt. It is a two-week celebration of things and people to be grateful for in our quilting lives. I hope the prompts stir up some of your own stories and I hope you take some time to think about how a simple hobby can result in so much gratitude.
While I have always loved crafts, I cannot say the same for sewing.
In fact, as a 4-H kid of the 80s, I can tell you that I HATED sewing! With a passion!!
Please see “Exhibit A”…my first pair of shorts sewn up for the county’s 4-H “Fashion Review”.
Exhibit A features me on the right and my dear cousin Susie on the left. We grew up together thick as thieves. We both had a healthy appetite for snacks and a robust interest in cute farm animals.
Neither of us had any fashion sense and no business in any contest called “Fashion Review”.
For our first sewing project, Susie chose an elastic-waisted skirt while I chose “shorts” that went past my knee.
It’s obvious we both had to make our finery out of the same bargain-valued piece of cotton that had a faux denim vibe. I’m sure our moms got a discount on that elastic too.
Here is an excerpt from my 4-H records (which I now LOVE and consider to be one of my best scrapbooks! Notice the photos + labeling). Heart eyes.
Susie, always the smarter one of our duo, accented her outfit with the books as a prop. Clever.
I hated those shorts then, and I while I can admit I am unapologetically cute in them now, I think I still hoard a teeny tiny bit of hatred in my heart for those elastic-waisted, past-the-knee-length cotton shorts.
Who made me sew them? My mom.
Every summer mean old mom would make me pick out something that I wanted to sew (my response was nothing…I was dying for store bought) and we would whip it together for the county’s 4-H Achievement Days.
I hated the whole ordeal of it all. I hated the fabric store. I hated cutting out the pattern. I hated stitching the pieces. I hated finding out that my project didn’t fit me (remember: chubby cat-loving kid) and I therefore I HATED SEWING!
I never even bothered to learn how to thread the machine. If mom wanted me to sew it so badly, SHE could make sure the bobbin was full.
It was clear early on that stitching together clothing was not my thing (still isn’t) and then around the turn of the century, it seems that quilting became quite popular and beautiful options for fabric exploded!
How My Love For Quilting Began
My mom took up quilting in 1999 and learned from a lady named Dorla who taught classes at a local quilt store. Dorla, by the way, was THE sweetest lady and was a dear friend to anyone who quilted. She is gone now and I hope God gave her a full bobbin in heaven.
As mom progressed in her new quilting hobby, she started bringing home luscious bundles of fat quarters and piles of pretty fabrics.
Oh how that sewing machine became tempting! But I didn’t know how to refill that darn bobbin!
I gathered up my pride and I told mom I wanted to learn how to do what she was doing.
She didn’t make me apologize too hard. In fact, she was giddy to have a shared hobby, so instead of making me feel bad for all of those times I made her re-thread the machine during those awkward cat-loving 4-H days, she instead bought me my own machine (a Brother from Wal-Mart, which I still have!) and she let me cut into those pretty fabrics of hers.
On weekends home from college my mom, sis, and sis-in-law would all plan for a project we would make together. Mom supplied the fabric (she’s a good soul, that lady) and we would spend the weekend working on our project. Most often it was a wall hanging from a Nancy Halvorsen Art to Heart book.
I fell in love with applique and I also fell in love with a small project that could be finished up in weekend, thus giving the ultimate I-finished-a-project-and-it’s-not-sitting-in-a-pile satisfaction.
My collection of fabric and my love for quilting has exploded since then and it’s become a hobby that has provided me so many friendships and so much contentment (I love the hashtag #quiltingismytherapy).
So mom, I thank you and I salute you!
Thank you for allowing me to “snip” into those fat quarters so that I could make a bird’s beak the perfect color of orange. I know it messed that fat quarter up forever (it’s been 20 years and she still tells us how she cringed when a new fat quarter was deemed “the perfect choice” for a very tiny applique piece.
She rolled with it though, and as she saw how much I loved the hobby, she upgraded my machine.
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