I started sewing when I was in elementary school. Actually, it was probably more along the lines of mending than sewing. Pulling apart blue jean seams, attaching patches, and then sewing them up again, all by hand.
I took Home-Ec in junior high and loved the sewing, every bit of it. Some time later I bought my mom a sewing machine and started making clothes and curtains and anything else we could possibly use around the house. I cut up any old clothes and repurposed them. Gym bags, dog beds, floor pillows, it didn’t matter to me. If I could sew it then it was in my hands. Once I made an enormous bean bag out of nothing but old blue jeans. Still a favorite of mine. There were four teenagers in our house at the time and that was one item we fought over constantly, especially on movie nights.
There were no quilters in my family growing up but when I got married I was quickly surrounded by folks who enjoyed quilting. And they were good at it. My then husband’s grandmother taught me how to quilt. I wish I could say she taught me all she knew about quilting but I don’t know if that amount of knowledge would fit in a wall of books. She had been doing it her entire life.
She pieced everything by hand. She used old clothing and any scrap material she could find. Her quilts were a story of her life told through the fabric and the stitching. Each one with its own memories, each one with its own personality. I still have several of her quilts, as do my children, and we cherish them all and the memories they evoke.
My first quilt took me a very long time to finish. It was for a king sized bed and I somehow managed to do it all by hand. I loved the process for what it was, peaceful and creative. I didn’t love the time it took to see the end result come to life though.
When I started seeing quilts that had been quilted by a machine I was one of “those” people that thought such quilts couldn’t be “real” quilts. As if somehow using a machine made those quilts less authentic. At the time, to me, if a quilt wasn’t done by hand then there wasn’t enough bloodshed for the finished product to be a “real” quilt. Ah, the blissful ignorance of youth.
Still, I turned out a few quilts, pillows, baby quilts, and a number of other things by hand. I was busy raising kids, working, moving all over the world for my then husband’s career but it was something I could do anywhere and it was a reminder of home wherever we were.
Over the years my ability to quilt often coincided with calmer periods of life. Those didn’t come often so my quilting was sporadic at best for some time. I still loved quilting and still did it from time to time but I could hardly call myself a “quilter” back then. Turns out life had a different plan brewing.
Somehow, through the years, I missed the tipping point when quilt shops came into being. I found my first quilt shop in Giddings, Texas in 2012. I walked in one morning with no clue what would be staring me in the face. I stumbled out roughly 4 hours later with much less money in my pocket but so much more inspiration in my heart.
I had big plans to piece by machine and turn out some designs but the idea of quilting them was overwhelming. How on earth was I going to get them quilted? I attended the International Quilt Festival in Houston for the first time in 2013. This was also the first time I touched a long arm quilting machine. Actually, I think I touched ALL the long arm quilting machines. I was more than intrigued. I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to own one but I thought the idea of using one was pretty fantastic.
Move ahead a few years to 2015. I sold my business and told my husband that I wanted to buy a long arm machine and follow my dream. Now some might say I had a problem, others might say I had a passion, I say I had fanned the flame of an old love. I was not sure if I would turn my quilting into a full fledged business but I knew I wanted to spend more time creating beautiful things.
The rest, as they say, is history. I love my clients. I love seeing their creations and envisioning how my quilting will help bring those creations to life. I enjoy the edge-to-edge quilting as much as the custom quilting. I enjoy the whole cloth quilts with no rules attached. I enjoy hanging my own pieces on the wall and creating in my own ways.
Now, I just wish I had more time for my quilts!