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Thread: How Did You Get Started?

  1. #26
    Junior Member marty_mo's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing your stories!!

  2. #27
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    I've always liked the color in quilts, and I love to feel fabrics, so I wanted to do it myself! Was in Lee Wards and they were offering a class in the late 80s, so I signed up and the rest as they say is history! Took the class, joined a guild, went to guilt shows, bought books, wathced TV shows, visited quilt shops whenever I was in different cities, or travelling to anywhere. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the challenges and seeing all the new stuff! Can't wait to get started on my next project! Or to finish my present project! :lol:
    And I love buying new fabrics with no idea what I will do with them, but I want them all!!!!!!

  3. #28
    Super Member Marcia's Avatar
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    Marty, thanks for starting this thread. I love reading everyone's stories.

    Like a lot of you, I started sewing when I was a child, took home ec, made my own clothes, etc, was not a stranger to a sewing machine.

    I made my first quilt in 1982 from a kit-it was a queen size log cabin--I still have it. I used cardboard templates and hand pieced (except the borders) and hand quilted it. By the time I was finished with it I hated everything about quilting!!!

    Fast forward to Fall 1999, Carlisle, PA. My next door neighbor informs me that she is going to start a neighborhood quilt group and invites me to join. I looked at her with disdain and said that I cross stitch, but I would NEVER quilt again! Never say never!! I joined the group and for 2 months I X-stitched while others worked on their quilts. By Christmas I owned a rotary cutter, mat, rulers, fabric and was finishing my first wallhanging! Quilting had come a long way in those 17 years. The rest is history!! And that X-stitch I was working on---it is still not finished!!!

  4. #29
    Super Member Debra Mc's Avatar
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    I made my first quilt when I was in high school. I tacked it. I wasn't pleased. I have sewed since I was 6 years old making doll & Barbie clothes. My dear beloved grandmother taught me to knit at about 7. Don't remember her sewing that much when I was there but we always got some cute doll or clothes & knitted Barbie clothes. My mother had been making quilt tops & crossing stitching lots of pictures but she got real sick a few years ago and gave me all of her quilting stash, patterns & the like. I retired 5 years ago in April so I have almost lots of time on my hands. I saw a quilt throw at Dillard's Dept. Store & thought I could make that. It was in my son's favorite college colors & theme. So that is where it started. I have made close to 25 quilts the past couple of years. Have 5 that need quilting. Just got the material to make youngest grandson a big boy quilt. They all (5) got baby quilts. Got an embroidery machine this past year in Nov & now I'm going to incorporate that into quilting.

  5. #30
    Super Member mpeters1200's Avatar
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    I never saw a quilt before in my life until I met my husband. I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to make a blanket when you can just buy a comforter in the store that's probably warmer anyway.

    My mother was a home ec goddess. She was one of the first women (and first non caucasian) that graduated from a fashion school in NY. She crocheted, knitted, sewed you name it. She would go with my aunts (her inlaws) to craft fairs. She never bought anything, and wouldn't let anyone else buy anything either. She would just go home and make it....from looking at it once. When I was growing up in the early 1980's, she would get catalogs in the mail and then make whatever was in them without the pattern.

    She never taught me...any of her gifts. She had gone to college in the 60's and I came along a little later than she had planned. She felt the women's movement had come along enough that she didn't have to teach me anything. She really thought that knowing how to make beautiful things was keeping me into the "mold" that so many women have to do. She didn't teach me how to cook or anything that could be considered feminine work. I still have no clue how to sew. I'd love to learn someday.

    When I married, my MIL had little patience for me. She couldn't understand why I didn't know how to do ANYTHING. She let me help her make a quilt for my nieces a year or so after we married. It was very complicated and she went really fast. I think she meant to teach me a lesson, but I got a hunger for making quilts that has had me ever since. She helped me pick out a beginner machine a year or so later when I drove her crazy constantly asking about different machines. I signed up for a beginner class at Hancock's. I think that I learned to cut backwards, so that's a hard thing for me to do, but I still have the quilt bug.

    My first 4 quilts were all the same pattern. Lap size rail fences. My husband's family raved about them and I've been making stuff since. 90% of what I have made, I have made in a group for charity. I've made 6 total lap size now and one queen....but countless full and twin size for charity.

    My MIL ended up becoming my best friend and a good mother substitute for me. When she passed away in 2007, I was blind with grief. I got quilter's block so bad. It was people here that helped me out of it. I kept some small squares of fabric she had helped me pick out for a friend with cancer. I kept the left over squares, sewed them, and framed them. They now hang in my sewing room....with a picture of my MIL and I presenting a quilt to a charity. I will always have reminders...but I thank God everyday that she showed me my new passion. It really brought us together.

    Once both of my mothers were gone, I started accumulating clothing from both of them. I don't have enough of one mom or the other to make a quilt, so I will make one that honors both of them at once.

    My latest quilt, a lap size for my grandmother, has incorporated many patterns and nuances that my dear MIL taught me. I know that I will carry her gift with me everywhere.

    Melissa

  6. #31
    Super Member weezie's Avatar
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    I satisfy my creativity urge by sewing. When the company I worked for sold in 1994, I lost my job and was not interested in getting another one. I therefore did not need to keep making clothing, although I continued to do doll making for several more years. However, I'm a bit of a fabric junkie so I started watching and taping the quilting programs on t.v. and was really fascinated by the quilts, the fabric, the notions, and the whole process. I decided to try it and I've been loving it ever since. It just gets better and better.

  7. #32
    Junior Member Arizona Sunrises's Avatar
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    Mostly self-taught--I've never taken classes.

    Grandma quilted until a few years ago, and I was given several of them over the years. Mom doesn't quilt. It seemed like losing a part of culture and history to not start doing it. I made my first one a year or two ago...and still haven't made many.

  8. #33
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    I learned to sew in a home ec class in high school. I did a lot of sewing, knitting, cross stitching, etc. over the years. Awhile back my mother gave me a quilt top that my great-grandmother had hand pieced back in the day. The fabric was starting to rot, and I knew I had to preserve it, so I took a quilting class at a local high school and hand quilted the top. I have been quilting on and off since them. I am now quilting almost every day, and enter our County Fair every year. It is so relaxing and fills my days.....

  9. #34
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    I wandered into our LQS to check out Pfaff embroidery machines. I have been sewing since elementary school. I bought the machine of my dreams for embroidery but was very curious about all of the quilts hanging in the shop. They looked like a puzzle that I HAD to learn to solve. I started doing the BOM there and have been hooked ever since. I wish I could say that I combine the embroidery with quilting but I rarely do - hope to eventually. Kathy

  10. #35
    Super Member henryparrish76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpeters1200
    I never saw a quilt before in my life until I met my husband. I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to make a blanket when you can just buy a comforter in the store that's probably warmer anyway.

    My mother was a home ec goddess. She was one of the first women (and first non caucasian) that graduated from a fashion school in NY. She crocheted, knitted, sewed you name it. She would go with my aunts (her inlaws) to craft fairs. She never bought anything, and wouldn't let anyone else buy anything either. She would just go home and make it....from looking at it once. When I was growing up in the early 1980's, she would get catalogs in the mail and then make whatever was in them without the pattern.

    She never taught me...any of her gifts. She had gone to college in the 60's and I came along a little later than she had planned. She felt the women's movement had come along enough that she didn't have to teach me anything. She really thought that knowing how to make beautiful things was keeping me into the "mold" that so many women have to do. She didn't teach me how to cook or anything that could be considered feminine work. I still have no clue how to sew. I'd love to learn someday.

    When I married, my MIL had little patience for me. She couldn't understand why I didn't know how to do ANYTHING. She let me help her make a quilt for my nieces a year or so after we married. It was very complicated and she went really fast. I think she meant to teach me a lesson, but I got a hunger for making quilts that has had me ever since. She helped me pick out a beginner machine a year or so later when I drove her crazy constantly asking about different machines. I signed up for a beginner class at Hancock's. I think that I learned to cut backwards, so that's a hard thing for me to do, but I still have the quilt bug.

    My first 4 quilts were all the same pattern. Lap size rail fences. My husband's family raved about them and I've been making stuff since. 90% of what I have made, I have made in a group for charity. I've made 6 total lap size now and one queen....but countless full and twin size for charity.

    My MIL ended up becoming my best friend and a good mother substitute for me. When she passed away in 2007, I was blind with grief. I got quilter's block so bad. It was people here that helped me out of it. I kept some small squares of fabric she had helped me pick out for a friend with cancer. I kept the left over squares, sewed them, and framed them. They now hang in my sewing room....with a picture of my MIL and I presenting a quilt to a charity. I will always have reminders...but I thank God everyday that she showed me my new passion. It really brought us together.

    Once both of my mothers were gone, I started accumulating clothing from both of them. I don't have enough of one mom or the other to make a quilt, so I will make one that honors both of them at once.

    My latest quilt, a lap size for my grandmother, has incorporated many patterns and nuances that my dear MIL taught me. I know that I will carry her gift with me everywhere.

    Melissa
    truly moved by your story of how you learned and where you got your passion for quilting from. I am sure both your mom and mom in law are looking down on you with love.

  11. #36
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    love these stories...ok, here comes mine. My mother always sewed but didn't have the patience to teach me. Her mother, my little gma, sewed, but lived a bit away, but visited about every 6 months. When I was about ten my gma was visiting and helped me make a simple cotton top. I was hooked on sewing and used most of my babysitting money on fabrics. My mother soon learned that if she let me use her machine I would make my clothes and she didn't have to buy them.
    When my kids were little I guessed how to make two simple baby quilts and then somewhere down the road made a full queen size quilt in huge pastel squares and white eyelet embroidery fabric. I had been given a huge amount of this tan ? fabric...wasn't just cotton, but it worked ok for a backing. Since I had never seen anyone quilt or seen a magazine or anything, I must have sewn the backing to a used blanket in a huge asterik and then tied the quilt top to both. My kids loved it and one time took to a church sleep in and got many compliments.
    Since I loved to make clothes, toys, etc. that satisfied any curiosity I had about quilts for a long time. All I had ever seen was patchwork quilts that didn't have any particular design or anything to them and they just didn't interest me enough to want to make one.
    Then a few years ago, my father's mother started telling me about teaching at a senior citizen's group and they were making a fall wall hanging and all the ladies were handmaking a quilt to raffle off.
    She is immensely talented, but lives across the country from me. I did get curious though and picked up a quilting magazine and found out that the world of quilt is an amazing place of colors, textures, designs, and once i realized that since you use small pieces to make the blocks, that meant you had to buy a lot of different colors of fabric. Well I had always loved fabric, but you bought one kind for one outfit...oh, this was going to be FUN!!! I thought I was going to get one book and read it and turn out quilts like the lucy episode where she was working in a factory and the candy just kept a coming!!!!
    So, i went crazy buying everything in site and got seriously out of control until I got very sick and couldn't sew for over a year. Now hubby is disabled and we have to be careful, but I would say I owe the itch to my family, but my grandma n. pushed me to scratch it. I still sew other things sometimes, but my love, my passion is all about quilting now. It's like finding your way home and you didn't even know you were lost. :wink:

  12. #37
    Super Member henryparrish76's Avatar
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    I took home ec and teen living( fancy name for sewing class) in high school because none of the other electives interested me. My grandmother and grandfather quilted and I had grown up seeing the things they quilted and I own one of the quilts, which was made for me by my grandfather before he died in 1988. I think the quilt was made in 1987 before he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I cherished that quilt and it went with me everywhere I went after i got it and he had passed away. fast forward to Aug/sept of 2007. I was showing my grandma the quilt, showing her some places that were coming loose. This prompted a quilting/sewing discussion because I had made a few dresses and such for friends over the years. My grandmother asked me if I wanted to learn how to quilt. I knew that no one else in my family had an interest in learning how and my grandma has said how she always thought she would pass her knowledge on to my aunt or to one of her granddaughters, but they hadn't shown interest. So I told my grandmother that yes I would be happy to learn from her how to quilt. So she taught me what she could seeing as how she can't sew anymore due to arthritis and bad eye sight. What I didn't learn from her , I got books and I joined this website and have learned many things. I made my grandma a quilt and gave it to her this Christmas and I have heard from my aunt that my grandma wraps herself in it everyday while she sits in the living room. :) Grandma will be 89 this July.

  13. #38
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    It's been a while since I posted anything, but this one "kinda" caught my interest. I was the last of 11 children with a gap of almost 8 years between my next sister and I. (There had been 2 deaths between her and I.) Otherwise, the rest of the bunch was only about 2 years apart; like clockwork! Needless to say, I think my mother was probably pretty tired of dealing with all of us, but somehow, (maybe she knew she was done with all the birthing stuff,) had patience and tolerance for her last little sickly girl. Skinny, scrawny, sickly at the time, (but you should see me now!) respiratory problems, hard of hearing, a wandering eye, but a mother's love made me feel special anyway. Due to physical problems and the joy of living in the country, isolated from anyone closeby that was near my age, and an older sister who thought I was a big bother, my Mother took me under her special wing and taught me many of the gentle arts, that she had learned as the daughter of a fairly well to do family in Georgia. (NO! I didn't say we were wealthy! Far from it in fact!) I learned to sew at a very early age. I could run her old Singer treadle machine when I was about 6 years old, with guidance, of course! She taught me to knit, and to crochet. Somehow, she had never learned to follow directions; but could look at something and know how to do it. I taught myself to read directions for both when I was 9 years old when my oldest sister sent me some leftover yarn and crochet thread and a couple of instruction books. I learned to tat, which is almost a lost art. It is so slow, but the end results are very pretty. I remember my Mother crocheting or tatting the yokes for the homeade slips she made for me and for the collars to my blouses/dresses.
    But the quilting: Sorry if I got diverted... I guess Mother was a "Purist" when it came to quilting. Everything was hand sewn. My first pieced quilt was a simple bow tie. We just had scraps back then: we used what we had. It would have been unheard of to buy new fabric, cut it up in pieces, and sew it back together again!!! So what that the whites weren't all the same? Some might have been flour sacks and the others a lot tighter woven and whiter. I know my stitches were pretty long, and if I got tired working on my pieces, Mother would say, "Just quit." "Remember whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well." I remember putting all my squares together with her help, and using an old blanket as batting, and a half worn out sheet as the backing. My, have times changed! I have no idea what happened to that old quilt. Life is sometimes unfair and somethings that should be remembered are lost in the dust of bad times.
    Within the past 2 years, I have started quilting again. Have moved up from one long arm machine to a better one, and have been fortunate that a local quilt shop refers me to quite a few people. The world turns around in mysterious ways, and I'm sure my Mother would be proud of me right now if she were able to know what I'm doing. She would have been 109 this year; I am 71.
    Sorry for all the rambling, guess I needed to vent a little bit. My next to the oldest sister is in Georgia, (86) has just been taken off a ventilator, and is not expected to last much longer. I can't be there, so I guess I am here, rattling away at the computer. Thanks to everyone on the list for reading this or thinking about me. All prayers for "Ida" would certainly be appreciated. I truly didn't mean to "write a book," I promise I will be shorter my next post!

  14. #39
    Senior Member JANW's Avatar
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    In 1980 I took a quilting class and it was all done by hand with cardboard templates and many squares desighned by myself. Although it was a sampler quilt the center 6 squares were personal, so I called it a memory quilt. I made it for my son for high school graduation and all of his freinds wanted one too. This quilt was done one square at a time for quilting then all were joined with sashing and more batting. I did sew the first side of each sashing strip by machine, but the back was hand sewn. I did make one for his freind Dana too and after that made many baby quilts. For a few years I didn't seem to get around to it but then in 2003 my sister-in-law got me back into it making a cathedral window quilt. I never got that finished ( guilt on that one) because it was for my daughter and she didn't want it. But I have made many over the past five + years.
    Here are the first 2 I did
    Attached Images Attached Images


  15. #40
    Power Poster SulaBug's Avatar
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    My Grand Mother started me sewing when I was a very young girl. I had always wanted to learn to sew & have been sewing most all of my life. A few years ago, a dear friend of mine said lets make a walling hanging together. She had the easiest pattern, so we shopped for our fabric & started on our project. At that time, she lived in a different city than I did, so we shared all of our questions & solutions through email. Now she lives here in the same city with me & we are still sewing together. It's truly been a wonderful time for me. I love sharing together. I have made several quilts since then.

  16. #41

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    That is like the star I made,the first one I made turned out great. Then when I tried to make me one,the center of the star pouches up when sewed together.I have taken it out three times and can't get it right. I wish I hadn't sold the first one I made.The only thing I know to do now is just go back and cut out the star again and start over.

    I love the colors in yours it really stands out.

  17. #42
    Senior Member QuiltinLee's Avatar
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    I worked with 2 women that quilted and they were constantly bringing in their projects. I got fabric envy :oops: and began to teach myself.

  18. #43
    Super Member mpeters1200's Avatar
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    Crazyquilter....

    What a great story. Prayers for you and your sister. I think it's great that you learned by hand, I wish I could have been taught some of those arts.

    My Gramma is 83 and she quit sewing last year. She's never quilted, but I've always seen her sewing...it's odd knowing her machine is packed away.

  19. #44
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    Ditto, prayers for you and your sister, Crazyquilter!

  20. #45
    Junior Member bugsmom's Avatar
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    I have always been into sewing, started with embroidery when I was around eight or nine. I have always loved quilts, they remind me of my grandma's house when I was little. She wasn't a quilter (didn't have time, she had 6 kids) but she always had quilts around the house. A few years ago before my other Grandmother passed away she gave me a quilt top that her Mom had made when she was pregnant with my Grandma. She said she would give it to me if I had it quilted. I found someone that my Mom knew to hand quilt it and I was hooked. I just got a sewing machine and started myself. After I had made a few baby quilts, I took a class at the local quilt store and made my sunbonnet sue. I'm not good at quilting, I just make the tops. I want to learn to quilt them but it's really HARD.

    Carrie

  21. #46
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    I love to sew and I used to make other crafts, so I decided to make some friends of mine a quilt for their wedding gift (my very 1st one). I pieced it by machine and quilted it by hand. They loved it.

    I learned from the book 'quilting for dummy's'. :lol:

    Here it is, I didn't have a camera then so she took this pic for me a few years later.





    Attached Images Attached Images

  22. #47
    Super Member gcathie's Avatar
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    I got started by making a list of things I would like to do before I leave this world.....
    Well my DH was very ill and that has changed me completely.....that's why I did the list .....
    I've always been a crafty person ....Home Ec..I made most of my cloths
    Learned to crochet when I was in second grade....learned to knit as a teenager and have done many craft items and sold them in a local shop....
    Quilting always scared me....I can remember picking up a Quilt book and trying to understand what the.........it was all greek to me......so I put the book on a shelf and waited a couple years....got brave and brought it out again....still greek

    I had a girlfriend that moved away that was into quilting wall hangings....one year for xmas she got me a subscription to a quilt magazine......rest is history.....
    I've taken a class or two....my first class was hard but I managed threw and I read and study everything I can....and still do 4 years latter ...I read all the tips and watch all the quilt shows I can cause I have found I am always learning and that is what I like the most about quilting....
    My Dear friend has passed and never got to see a finished quilt but I know she is with me in spirit and smiles down on me......:-)

    Results of my first class on quilting....defiantly in over my head....but I did make 2 of these for twin beds..
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  23. #48
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    My first 'expeience' with quilting was at my grandmother's house at age 4. Grandma always had a quilt on the frame, even after she and Grandpa moved to town. I didn't really do anything with quilting until about 7 years ago, when my sister signed us up for a quilt class at an outdoor quilt show. At the time, I didn't know beans about quilting, but that class, and encouragement from my sister, was all I needed to sign up for a beginner's quilt class once I returned home, and I've never looked back! I've made several quilts for gifts, but so far none to keep for myself. I do have some lovely FGs (flannel) for a quilt for DH, but right now, very little time to do much of any quilting! :( I also have lots of USOs (unstarted objects) in my house. Once I have a room I can really call my own, I'll have everything in one place, and hopefully I can get a lot of them done! If I can talk my daughter into showing me how to post pictures online, you will see the finished products!

  24. #49
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    Quilting the tops isn't really that hard. I have done a little hand quilting, but I prefer to machine quilt. I've done a few small quilts using quilting templated, but a couple of larger quilts I've just done stitch-in-the-ditch, and that type of machine quilting has (so far) suited the quilts I've done

    Good luck!

  25. #50
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Crazyquilter, you and your sister are in my thoughts and prayers. What a wonderful story.

    I've told my story somewhere else on this board, but have no idea where. Although I think it may have been on a PM.

    I was always interested in sewing. As a child (probably age 6 or so) I learned to embroider. I don't remember of ever FINISHING any projects though. I can remember working on a pillowcase and a table scarf.

    My mother always sewed making all of our clothes. I can even remember her changing our overcoats when we grew out of our sleeves. :wink: She would add cuffs and a new collar. That always impressed me that something like that could be done. Then when I was 12 I asked for a sundress. She sent me to the store (our family owned a general merchandise store) for a pattern and fabric. My aunt gathered all of the supplies I would need and sent me on my way. Mama taught me to set in a zipper and how to follow the pattern guide, etc. That summer I made 2 sundresses. And I was hooked. We had an old electric Blue Grass sewing machine. When I was about14 or 15, I was working on a dress for the homecoming dance. The old Blue Grass konked out and I was in the middle of things. She called the local sewing machine shop and asked the owner to send her a new machine ASAP. :lol: THOSE WERE THE DAYS!! He brought over a 301 Singer and that thing is still working today. She's 91 and still uses it for repairs and hems. :wink:

    I loved Home Ec and nothing was too great a challenge when it came to garment construction. I even tried my hand at tailoring and pattern drafting. In college I majored and received a degree in Home Economics Education. (Taught Home Ec only4 months) Fast forward 30 years, by then I was a first grade teacher almost ready to retire. Several of my co-workers were quilters. In 1995 they invited us to join their group to make friendship squares. We all made enough blocks to share. I had no idea what to do. All I knew was that the block was to be 12 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches. One of the ladies suggested that I make a 9-patch. So she helped me with a pattern :shock: . I went to the fabric store and chose fabrics. I had no idea about anything -- I just selected lots of fabrics. Can you believe it?? :oops: Well, by the end of the school year, my quilt was made -- sashing, backing, binding, and all. In '98 I retired and began cutting my school t-shirts to make a quilt. Again, I had no idea what I was doing. Well, I finished piecing the top on Friday and had a stroke on Monday. Bam! Right side. So one of my goals for rehab was to get that quilt hand quilted. A month later I was holding the needle and doing one stitch at a time. Some of the quilt had to be tied because I wanted to finish it and it was slow-going. Alex Anderson was always in my living room -- on HGTV, and there were a few others.

    When my daughter and I went to Martha Pullen's sewing markets and sewing schools, I went to as many quilting-related classes as were offered.

    I've made many baby quilts and quilts for the grandkids (both pieced and whole cloth). I finally took a couple of classes (One at Hancock's -- the St. Jude sampler; and one at a LQS in a nearby town -- the URR) Fast-forward May, 2008. I found this quilting board. Tah-rah. I'm computer-challenged, but I surely enjoy what I can do on here. I am learning sooooo much. And the friendships are unbelievable.

    I, too, am a chatty-cathy. I have insomnia so I sleep very little. I watch the Hallmark movie every night and then get on here until I get sleepy. I haven't proof-read this gazzette, so I apologize for an mistakes.


    Oh, and I forgot to mention that I am a fabricoholic. I hoard fabrics. They're in every corner of my bedroom and my sewing room. I need help, but I don't want it. :lol: :lol: :lol:

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