The One Day Quilt

I was four years old when I held my first threaded needle. I felt so grown up to be trusted with a needle and a swatch of fabric to transform into my very own handmade Barbie dress. While Mrs. Kidd, my babysitter, zoomed away at her machine, I carefully pulled the needle in and out of the fabric binding it together with my long uneven stitches. I transformed the square piece of fabric into an ill fitting tunic. Still Mrs. Kidd praised my efforts. I continued making Barbie clothes and furniture from the scraps Mrs. Kidd handed to me while she scrutinized over her projects which often included skirts and dresses for me.

I was hooked. I sewed everything in sight! I sewed together pieces of thin cardboard that came in my mother’s panty hose. I sewed those tiny fabric swatches that used to come in mail samples. I collected them to make a quilt. They were about one inch squares. I don’t think my quilt ever even made it to the size of a wash cloth. When I had no fabric or anything I could adhere with needle and thread, I still practiced my stitches by pulling a thread-less needle through the top layer of skin on my left pointer finger. I was spellbound to watch the puckers of skin lift up, no blood, no pain. I even created a small pucker flower on the inside of my palm. I lived and breathed the mere act of creating something, anything from mere scraps.

When my sister took home economics in school, I copied her machine efforts by hand. She made a halter top. I made one from her scraps. She made a granny patchwork skirt. I made one as well. I even hemmed mine and wore it to school. The girls at school were amazed and showed my efforts off to my teacher who was puzzled to think I put in a waistband by myself. Scarlet faced, I admitted there was no waistband. I had simply tucked the cylinder of patches I’d sewn together into my under panties. All was well until we played kick ball…I had to hold my skirt to me while I ran so that I didn’t end up with my skirt around my ankles. In retrospect, I am fortunate no one called social services due to the attire I was sporting. I can only imagine how ragged it probably appeared to adult eyes!

My mother was not a seamstress. She vowed, “All four of my daughters will learn to sew.” We all did learn. I don’t know if any of the other three enjoyed it. I complained about zippers and buttonholes like everyone else, but secretly I loved the challenge. Those are still not my favorite sewing options, but I also don’t refuse to attempt them. I think I am the only one who continued it after graduating high school. Thank you, Mama for making sure I had a machine to sew all the while I was growing up.

I have been in love with sewing and fabric well over forty years. We won’t talk about my fabric stash(es). Every quilter has fabrics tucked away for those just-in-case projects that creep up. I have never become an expert, but I manage to eek by. I took the basic home economic classes and learned how to master darts and zippers. I even watched my best friend sew her finger the first day we operated the machines…this time there was blood and pain! While my boys used to brag to their friends that their mom could make anything, my skills were actually much less. I could attempt anything just not necessarily master the skills. My sewing is not perfect, but is presentable.

My love of sewing settled with quilting. Sometimes, I follow patterns and other times I free form art quilts. The process is one that I become absorbed in. It is the machine, thread, fabric, and me. I have a computerized machine so I don’t use a foot pedal. I feel totally free speeding along watching my projects take shape. I love the sense of control it gives me. The best thing is that unlike life, if I make a mistake I can simply rip it out with a seam ripper, redo it, and no one is ever the wiser. There have been times I have irreparably torn my fabric with the ripper…mistakes sometimes create new opportunities or fabulous pieces of art.

I consider myself a creative person. I fiddle with all sorts of needle work and crafts. I experiment with many types of writing. It seems that what I am most comfortable with always comes back to the things I was familiar with as a child. With needlework and writing, I always return to sewing and poetry. I wonder if it provides a level of comfort deep within or if it’s more of a hereditary thing.

I love the creating process. I love the planning, the selection of materials, and the assembly of the projects. I especially love the power I feel while operating my machine.

Even when my machine acts up (it is generally the inaptitude of the operator not the machine!), I revel in it’s awesomeness. It’s one of my main tools of expression. Nothing comes between me and my sewing machine…except maybe my laptop.

This weekend I was at a loss for what to do. It was nasty, weather wise, so I opted to stay indoors. I didn’t want to clean house. I wasn’t in the mood to write. I even got tired of reading. I didn’t want to work on the art quilt I had started nor did I want to begin a new project. Then I decided to attempt a fairly easy quilt pattern. After a quick trip to the fabric store, I went at it. It took a total of eight hours from start to finish. It was just the rejuvenation I needed.

45 thoughts on “The One Day Quilt

      • How can I find this pattern!!?? I tried google, but it just gives all sorts of Twister Tool patterns. lol I need an easy fast project for a quilt that I forgot I was suppose to make for someone to give as a gift. I really like this one.

      • I made this a while back so I don’t really remember where I got the pattern. I get most of them on a site called Quilters Cache which has hundreds of free patterns.

      • You’re welcome. I’m so glad you found it. That site is really my favorite. I’ve made many of those patterns. Now, I have an embroidery machine so I spend more time with that and art quilting these days when I’m not writing.

  1. I’m impressed ~ cutting out all the squares and pieces must have taken some time.

    Interesting that I gave you a link to a post on Quilts minutes before you posted this. Coincidence? Or not?

    • I actually have friends that have me sew on buttons for them and make repairs! Both of my sons, and hubby, can sew on buttons and run my machine…however, they usually find it easier to hand it to me to do it for them! It’s still nice to know that they can and will do it if needed and I’m not around!

  2. Omigosh, I also grew up with a needle in my hand, though I held my first one a couple of years earlier than you did, and it was my mother sitting at the machine. Unlike yours, mine did sew — perfectly. And she insisted I do likewise. I thank her for ultimately enabling the choice between perfection and expediency.

    But alas, my wonderful Viking now gathers dust. Fabric has become hard to find, time even more so, and quilting never lit my fire. I miss that physically creative process and the powerful metaphor for manifesting. “Everything begins with an idea.”

    Sew long!

    • For years I went back and forth between writing and sewing, but seldom did them at the same time. Now, I manage to keep several project in both areas going…I just don’t always complete them!

  3. Such talent you have! I am not a sewer. I think I have a cross-stitch project in my hall closet that I started about 10 years ago. Oh, and I can do latch hook kits. Remember those? Blah!

    • She will treasure it forever. There is nothing that pleases me more than a gift made for me from someone I care about. Joy is the point! You’re experiencing joy in making it and your daughter will be joyful when she receives it…yay, joy for all!
      And your mother would have been delighted to know you’re making a quilt!

  4. I am in awe of you. That’s one day’s work? You’re amazing!!!

    I was never really much good with the whole sewing thing. I tried, but my projects were messy and amateurish.

  5. As I was reading this post, I could actually FEEL your passion for sewing, Suzi!!!

    And I am so in awe of your talent, because I’ve always wanted to try my hand at sewing. When I was in high school I wanted to take Home Ec. rather than Shop Class with the boys. I longed to use one of those Simplicity Patterns and make a dress – HA!

    The only thing I’ve ever done was some needle point and latch hook rugs. I started a HUNDRED of them, but never finished a single one!

    Gorgeous quilt, my friend!

    Brava!

    Hope you had a wonderful Monday…..X

  6. As evidenced by the beautiful quilt photos, I do believe you understated your skills in your post 🙂 Of course, my sewing “skills” don’t go any farther than sewing a button on a shirt…and I don’t even do that very well.

    I am very impressed with your ‘quick quilt’ – thanks for sharing your pictures!

    • Seriously, I can throw stuff together and I enjoy it, but my workmanship is not the type to be displayed. I have learned though that the enjoyment of it far outweighs ability. For me, quilting is good for the soul, like writing. I think it’s the creative outlet that keeps me going!

  7. this is a marvelous art, i have seen some really good works with needle, they are as beautiful as paintings.

    yours are awesome. you truly are an extremely talented lady.

  8. I’ve heard artists who dabble in writing, while writers may dabble in photography, pottery, painting or quilting. I think the overlap and the desire to experiment enhances the person’s art of choice.

  9. You still amaze me with your creativity. I did actually make the curtains for the first duplex we lived in. And they actually turned out preltty good. I think other than repairing rips, hems, etc., that was probably the last creative thing I sewed. I did help #3 make a simple A line skirt for a school project once….or maybe it was 4H? I just simply don’t have the patience. I wish I did.

  10. Whoa! You are skilled! I couldn’t even imagine how long that would take me. It is lovely. How wonderful that you could do that in a day. Well—I’m impressed that you could do that—no matter how long it took. But I am thinking that for you since you have such skill it is a nice accomplishment to be able to do it in a day. Wow! I am amazed!

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