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Thread: The way I remember it...

  1. #1
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    The way I remember it...

    I was going to title it "The way it used to be" but I can only speak from my experience.

    I started making quilts in 1979 or so, almost all self taught, never joined a guild. Except for looking at a few QNL mags in the library I have been "out of the loop" as far as quilting developments.

    When I started quilting, there were very few fabric lines - Concord Fabrics was one of the big ones. The first few years we used dressmaking scraps from factories in Chinatown (Boston).

    The most sophisticated cutting system was a pair of Fiskars. Almost all the quilters I knew either tied quilts (most of them) or hand quilted. All the fabrics were made in the USA. I'm not sure if electronic sewing machines were out yet.

    I was able to sell almost all the quilts I made, this was before the imports started coming in. Colonial blue and dusty rose were the big colors.

    My set of tools consisted of (still consists of) a ruler, scissors, thimbles, needles and thread. Chalk pencil for marking. Cardboard templates.

    Well when I joined the QB my eyes were opened!! I had to look up all these cutting machines to see what they do - I had never heard of them. And so many people have quilting machines - I remember the first time I saw a demonstration of machine quilting on TV - a man was doing it.

    I would love to hear more reminiscences from other old-timers like me. I still am doing everything the old way. DH does most of the cutting and he prefers scissors, so we don't even have a rotary cutter (prob. a good thing as I am very accident prone!)

  2. #2
    Senior Member 1234Irene's Avatar
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    I remember back in the 70's, I was just barely in high scoop. Anyways, my grandmother was a quilter, and I wanted to too. Although I had started making clothes for myself, from the fabric of larger pieces of clthes, I really wanted to make a quilt. My grandmother had recently lost one of her dear friends, and gave me all of her friends double knit pants, lol. I don't remember the name of the technique she taught me, but I stll remember he quilt. I sat for hours and cut squares out of those pants, sewed them together some how, I don't remember that part, but when they were done, it formed an "x" acoss each of them. I do remember it being a bright quilt, as the double knit was colorful back then.
    Happiest when sewing,
    Irene

  3. #3
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I remember that when I started quilting , the cotton calico fabric was all 36 inches wide... and there was very few of them. Poly was really becoming "the" fiber. There was no such thing as a quilt shop, and quilts were almost all made from scraps. Only a quilt for a very special occasion like a wedding , did we purchase fabric just for a quilt project.
    I do recall getting a rotary cutter when they came out.... it changed everything!
    Last edited by Lori S; 01-01-2012 at 02:42 PM.

  4. #4
    Super Member Tink's Mom's Avatar
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    I made my first quilt in '79. It was one of those dog shaped baby quilts for my niece. Made more baby quilts as more nieces and nephews came along.
    Tink's Mom (My name is really Susie)

  5. #5
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    I started a few years prior to that, but I too remember everything you all have discussed. Even worse, I got my unsuspecting Mother hooked; she used basically the same tools we both started with until her death in 2003...and she was a very good quilter! I have moved on to the rotary cutters, rulers, Accuquilt, a LA and 12 more machines...and she out-quilted me to the end! Oh well...it was, and IS, fun!
    If you feel like you're special...it's 'cause you are!
    Momto5

  6. #6
    Super Member Gramie bj's Avatar
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    My grandmothers taught me the basic for quilting before I can remember, one of my earlst memories for buying fabric was going to a store with my Grandma Annie when she looked through 50 lb bags of something (flour, sugar,chicken feed don't remember what) to find the right color or print for something she wanted to make. I remember making muy own cloths and buying 36 in wide fabric, I also remder the first time I saw 45 wide fabric. It was so wide!! LOL I didn't really start quilting until about 10 years or so ago. I learned to sew on an old treadel. Could not waite until Mom got a Elec. machine! Now I have 5 electric and 2 treadels, used to cut using dress makers fabric shears ( anyone remember them, blades about a foot long? LOL) now a rotery cutter, templates from cardboard and sundays news paper (had to iron the newspaper first so ink would not rub off onto fabric) Now use plastic, Grandma's used a # 2 pincel to mark there quilts I'v done it to. My how times have changed!any one rember polished cotton?

  7. #7
    Super Member Nanamoms's Avatar
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    I remember Polished Cotton. I loved to make clothes out of it. Always "looked so expensive"! My mom sewed all our clothes and she would use the flour sacks. I couldn't wait to get my "first store bought" dress which was for Easter when I was 12. I LOVED that dress. But now I would give anything for my Mom to be here to make my clothes. She used to cut patterns she designed herself out of newspaper or any type of paper she could find, even tissue paper lef tover over from Christmas. We didn't have a lot of $$ when I was growing up but we were always dressed "well". I remember how beautiful my Mama was and she never owned a store bought dress until she was much older. My Mama also worked at a sewing factory that made military uniforms and I remember her talking about "quotas" they had to meet.

    Yes, I think we can all "remember when...!

  8. #8
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    Oh dear, I'm an old timer. In 1974 I bought cotton dresses at Value Village in Tucson for 15 cents and cut them up. In the mid 80s, someone told me about rotary cutters. Three log cabin quilts were the last ones cut with scissors! I've taught classes, donated untold numbers to charity, overwhelmed my children with quilts, and still going.

    When the prices of everything started to equate yardage, I knew it was obsession. No, that dress is worth six yards of fabric, I'd rather have the fabric. Thank goodness its acceptable to be eccentric at my age.
    Life is made up of bits and pieces. You won't know how it'll turn out till its done.

  9. #9
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    "Thank goodness its acceptable to be eccentric at my age. "

    I think this is my new favorite quote.

  10. #10
    Super Member hikingquilter's Avatar
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    Pretty much the same here. I started quilting in the late 70's and had been sewing for a dozen years already, clothing and crafts. Always used a wooden yardstick from the hardware store, scissors and homemade templates. I had never heard of or seen a rotary cutter or transparent ruler until the mid-90's. Nor had I ever seen or heard of machine quilting! Always tied them or quilted by hand. We had one fabric store in my hometown that everyone went to for all sewing needs. Now that I have those 3 handy tools - rotary cutter, mat and 6 1/2 x 24" ruler - I am a much more prolific quilter. The LQS's and Jo-Anns keep my passion fed. By the way, I still have that wooden yardstick - it is the hanger for my avatar.

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