27 March 2012

The Making of a Quilt

I am a quilter.
I love making quilts.
There is just something about buying fabric, bringing it home, cutting it up into tiny pieces and sewing it back together again.

It reminds me of my grandmothers. Both were quilters. Grandma Fortune made her quilts 100% by hand. She would sit next to her radio in her rocking chair and stitch away. She had all these little pieces that she would carefully hand sew together. Then she sewed the pieces into blocks and then into quilts. I remember her quilting the huge quilts. I received one of these precious quilts as a high school graduation gift. I have since given it to one of my girls. Pinwheels, tiny toys in the fabrics, stripes, and the color blue all make me think of Grandma Fortune.

Grandma Orme made her quilts on her treadle sewing machine. She would piece them by machine and hand quilt them on a frame. I remember watching her sewing in her kitchen and asking her if she would give me her sewing machine when she died. (Pretty brazen even as a kid, I was.) She never said "yes" and she never said "no". She used more daring colors in her quilts. I remember that I used to think that her quilts didn't jive. But years later, I see that she had quite the eye for color. I also received a precious quilt from her as a high school graduation gift. One of my girls got that one. Wool quilts remind me of Grandma Orme. Heavy, heavy quilts that offered the only heat in a very, very cold bedroom in her house. I was so thankful for the weight and warmth of those quilts.

Now I'm a quilter. I don't save all my scraps any more like I used to. I had so many tiny scraps saved and organized, I had a friend come and exorcise them from me! I was never going to use them, but both grandmothers taught me not to waste fabric. They used to piece even a 1" block if they didn't have one square inch! OMG!

Recently, I gathered all of my green fabrics that looked as if they would compliment each other. I cut them into smaller pieces and sewed them back together again. Once I had my quilt top together, I taped the backing down to the floor. I stretched the fabric every so slightly.

 Next I lay batting on top of the backing fabric and finally, the quilt top. I spread them out evenly with my hands and smooth out all the wrinkles.

Then I baste the quilt. This is a cool technique that both my grandmothers would get a kick out of... I don't sew the layers together with basting stitches, instead, I pin with safety pins. (Some of my quilting friends spray glue the layers together and don't require any pins. I don't like the use of stinky sprays and don't think it's good for my machine to get gunked up with the glue so I still use pins.) 

And then I start sewing. I just "draw" with my needle. This quilt didn't require any thinking, just the basic stippling.

And YES.... this is my new quilting machine. It's my time-share machine! It's my time to have it before I share it again! It sewed like a dream and it has such a nice large area to accept the quilt that I didn't have to struggle at all.

And Ta Dah! A very sweet green quilt ready to be mailed tomorrow! 

I love the process. I enjoy thinking of the person who will receive my quilts and pouring my love into every stitch.

P.S. I did get the treadle sewing machine after Grandma died. She didn't leave it to me but my uncle inherited everything and I managed to beg it off of him. I'm so glad I did. I love that machine and all of the memories oozing from it.


Kate Wille said...

This quilt is just gorgeous, Sandee! I wish I lived closer so I could learn from you! I'm glad you're feeling better.

Amy said...

Oooh....my favorite color! That is just gorgeous!!

CrochetnQuilt said...

How fun. And the machine must be fantastic!