Wednesday, May 4, 2016

My Very First Quilt

I grew up in a sewing home. My mom frequently made my sister and I clothes, more for enjoyment than out of economic necessity. Kenmore sewing machine, scissors, and thread surrounded me and there were frequent trips to Joann Fabric. By the time I reached middle school, I could make a dress, too.
It wasn’t until high school when the “obsession” officially began. My mom took a day trip with some of her church friends, into the heart of Amish country—the Kutztown Fair. Ironically, I wasn’t even present, but they all came back on fire to make a quilt, and a spark flew off in my direction. (As far as I know, my mom was the only one who did actually make one.  <3)
Mom bought a book to help her get started and once again, a seed fell on some fertile ground. I have laughingly referred to it since as “the book that changed my life.” Let’s Make a Patchwork Quilt” was about making a sampler, and was divided into easy, intermediate and advanced blocks. I leafed through it a hundred times. Of course, the “advanced” section held my interest most, and one particular block caught my eye: the Virginia Star.
"The Book That Changed My Life"
So it began. Diamonds were lovingly cut from a cardboard template, one piece at a time.  I remember working on it especially right after college graduation, in a tiny Brooklyn apartment, in between job interviews. It was such a treat to take it out and sew--- a guilty pleasure on days when I probably should have been making phone calls and pounding the pavement. I knew that one part of life was ending and a new one starting—one that might not include many sewing days. A phone call might come any moment, with a job offer and a place to be 40 hours a week, catapulting me into adult life.
Adult life did begin and it took a couple of years, but here’s my very first quilt:
My Very First Quilt

It spent its first years on my Brooklyn bed, as a young bride. In our first home, my husband “lovingly” cut holes in the binding to insert a rod—he felt it was a piece of art, deserving to be on the wall. I, having no concept of a hanging sleeve, lovingly agreed. Still later, a little four year old boy took a marker to it, for which he received quite a tongue lashing, but those marks are now a happy memory. Thirty five years later, my quilt and I are now antiques, but serve as a reminder how God held me through the anxiety of finding that first job and many roads and travels good and bad after.

Feeling nostalgic now that my last baby left for college, I took it out the other day. I have to say, my piecing is still exquisite—unfortunately the SID on top of it, somewhat less so, not so in the ditch! The holes in the binding have not self-healed. And some stitching has come apart, thankfully, all on seams. Add to that, probably during some time in box between moves, a water stain took hold. I gave my quilt a good soak—although I can’t remember where I left my purse, I clearly recall pre-washing those fabrics so many years ago, so it washed up beautifully. A new binding, and some stitches-in-time are ahead, and who knows—wouldn’t some fabulous machine embroidered feathers look amazing in between those stars? You’re never too old for a makeover. <3