Thursday, April 17, 2008

Quilting Each Day Keeps the Psychiatrist Away

I truly believe that quilting is medicine for the soul. It is addictive, but also something that soothes the savage beast. When I was twelve, I copied my sister's shorts pattern onto newspaper and then cut them out and sewed the seams by hand. I was off and running in the world of sewing. My first sewing machine was an old Singer Treadle that my hubby bought for me for $10.00. The tension was terrible, but it sewed! When I was pregnant with the first child, he bought me a Brothers machine and I happily made my maternity clothes.
I made plenty of little girl's clothes and little boy's shirts for a nephew for about twenty-five cents. I just sewed and sewed. My sister-in-law got a Singer Golden Touch and Sew in the seventies and I had to have one like it. I sold the Brothers to the woman across the street and moved on up to my Singer. It saw me through grade school clothes, prom dresses, a leather coat for my youngest (which she outgrew in about six months) and even a wedding dress for a friend's daughter. Once my hubby was earning better money, I asked for a Pfaff and gave the Singer to my daughter-in-law. The quilting bug had bitten by the time the kids were out of the house and even though I was happy with the Pfaff, I coveted a Bernina Artista. The husband was spending too much money on raising quarter-horses at the time, so he didn't complain when I spent over $3000.00 for the Bernina. I love that machine like it was one of my kids. The Pfaff is my back-up machine, but it is living at my oldest daughter's house, because her old White quit working and I had given her quilting fever somewhere along the line.
The little critter on the right is part
of an embroidery card that I finally started using on the Bernina and I put together a baby quilt for an unknown baby boy. It is ready to be quilted and the backing is pieced and the binding is ready. Someone just needs to have a baby!

I can't seem to get myself down to the actual quilting, when there are so many fabrics calling my name and so many wonderful patterns to challenge my ability. I need to learn to finish what I start before going on to the next project.
I take some of the really big quilts out to a professional long arm quilter after piecing them. I save my quilting fingers for the ones where you can show off the tiny little stitches required to call myself a quilter. The needles are so tiny (size ten or twelve Betweens) that they make holes in your fingertips. Ouch!
This quilt is called a charm quilt,
because the pieces are all different fabrics. It is a king size and I made four pillow shams to match. I have a queen size just like it--- it wasn't big enough for our king and I am stocking up on quilts for my grandkids, so I just did a repeat. The dust ruffle has dragon flies all over it and I sewed the ruffle right onto the box spring cording. It sure helps keep from tucking the skirt in with the sheets when you make the bed.
I saw this pattern in a quilter's magazine and had to give it a try. For someone who didn't do too well in Geometry classes, I have learned to figure out how quilt pieces work. This one is a standard bed size and is mostly Batik fabrics, which I really love. I found a pattern recently and have to start collecting half yard Batiks again. Sigh! I can't wait to go to Bettsville, Ohio to The Door Mouse Quilt Shop --- they have so many fabrics that I could stay all day just correlating things.
Now we come to the quilt that shames me. I bought the fabric to make a quilt for my older brother. It is huge --- big enough to be a bedspread for a king size bed. I managed to get the blocks pieced and put together. I began hand quilting with a hoop and really enjoyed quilting the open blocks. Then I did "stitch in the ditch" around the colored pieces in the odd blocks. I was slow--- I admit it. My brother died six years ago! And --- the quilt is still not done. There is a huge amount of quilting needed on the pieced border and since he died --- I have not felt like getting it done. I could finish it and give it to his widow, but she has been remarried for almost two years. Like I started out to say, quilting will keep the psychiatrist away,but procrastinating will drive you nuts!


Molly said...

Lovely story Kacey! You seem like a very accomplished needlewoman! I started out as a little girl with a bunch of scraps my grandmother gave me when I was visiting out the country...I wish I still had some of the tiny dolls I made that summer! They were probably fairly primitive, but I was really proud of them!
Do you have friends who quilt? You could work on your brother's quilt together....It looks so beautiful, it'd be a shame not to finish it!

Big Dave T said...

That's a lot of quilting. My mother-in-law was a quilter and we have our share of quilts of all types. However, she passed away some years ago and some of the panels are in need of repair. My wife tried her hand at fixing them, but some people just aren't the quilting type, my wife being one of them.

As your history of sewing machines progressed, I was waiting for you to menion Bernina. My aunt used a Bernina in her home-based business. It paid some bills.

lesleyjack said...

So when are we going to Bettsville?

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

wow... so much fabric, so little time! ha ha ha

they are lovely my friend. i never made the actual patterns but i have done the quilting part. i love that with friends...

smiles, bee

EE said...

They're so pretty! The mice are cute little critters!

Matty said...

Amazing talent! I imagine that quilting is a wonderful past-time that probably got you through some trying times...and happy times.
They are beautiful quilts...I can imagine the family fighting over them.

Carine said...

absolutely beautiful story and quilting Kacey.
a friend of mine was into quilting when I was pregnant w/ Sarah and made her a beautiful quilt for our shower gift.
It meant so much to us, because of the love that was put into it.
that's how a piece of art should be.

Betty said...

I seem to attract friends who are quilt-oriented. One is a collector, one is an award-winning quilter, one is a quilt dealer, and another is a budding collector. And there's you, of course.

In 7th grade home ec class we had to sew. Oh, I can still picture the mangled skirt-like item I produced. (It didn't seem fair to me that we should be graded on something that I perceived as a gift that you either had or didn't have!)

I admire those of you who have it. And the mice are so adorable- it makes me wonder why we think we don't want such critters running through our houses!


Betty said...

Oh, and I love the batik. I keep coming back to look at it. Those are my kind of colors!!!!