Thursday, April 8, 2010

Why I quilt, embroider, sew, crochet, etc, etc. ...

Modify Tradition posed a thoughtful question in their giveaway post today.  Why do you quilt/sew/crochet/embroider, etc?  It got me thinking about why I started and why I continue.  Seems kind of pointless sometimes when I go to Target and see all the beautiful quilts you can buy for a whole lot less money than it takes to make one.

I remember my mom buying me those little embroidery kits when I was a girl.  Do you remember the ones that had a stamped piece of fabric, floss, needle and diagrams that gave the exact stitch and color for each spot?  I loved those!  I would love to buy those for my niece but I can't find them anymore. Sigh ...  Anyways, those were my favorite things to do at night while sitting on the couch and watching TV.   I have such cozy memories of being with my mom, each of us on our own end of the couch, and each working on a project. 

Flash forward years to when I'm a stay at home mom to my three boys.  My mom had given me her old sewing machine and I was mending and making curtains when I saw a magazine article on how to make a super easy patchwork quilt.  I started making quilts like crazy.  I used puffy polyester batting and sewed around three and a half sides, turned it right side out and whip stitched it closed.  I used yarn and tied them all over.  I'm a little embarrassed now when I think of how proud I was of those quilts.  I made a special one for each of my boys and some for the house and then I moved on to something else.  I didn't know anyone who made any other kind of quilts and there was no internet then so I really didn't have a way to grow in my quilt making skills. 

A while ago I was talking to my now grown up son Russell and we were reminiscing about the good old days.  He told me that his favorite childhood memory was coming home from school one day and I told him I had a surprise for him.  I made him sit on the couch and shut his eyes and then I wrapped a Buffalo Bills quilt around him.  He said that he never forgot that feeling.  I'm tearing up a little now just thinking of that (excuse me while I go dab my eyes).  I started thinking about what a great feeling it is to have a quilt.  I felt like making one for each and every one of my loved ones to try and express my love for them in a tangible way.  I started looking around the  for ideas and discovered quilting blogs.  Then I happened upon a blog called the Old Red Barn Company that was going to start a quilt-a-long for beginners.  That got me hooked on quilting but good! 

I think I'm constantly wanting to recreate that loving feeling I got when I was a girl and I embroidered next to my mom.  And I want to make my loved ones feel special, the way my son did when I wrapped that special handmade quilt around him. 

This is the quilt I made my son Jason about 15 years ago.  He loved to draw so I bought some iron transfer crayons and had him draw lots of pictures that I transferred to white blocks.

I was thinking about picking the quilt all apart and remaking it for a surprise.  Now I'd probably embroider over the pictures and properly quilt and bind it and use nice batting. 

I decided against it though.  It's the way I made it and that's the way it should be.  It's warm and the love is still in it, even though it's kinda funky and puffy.


  1. Love your story! And no, I wouldn't pick apart a quilt either - it's your quilt history!

  2. What a lovely post, and what a lovely idea this quilt with the drawings! keep it as it is. You can always make a new, similar one but an updated version of course.

  3. Are you not take it apart and change it. Memories...they are priceless. I bet it is still as snuggily as ever.

  4. I'm glad you decided to keep it the way it is. It is a good representation of the evolution of your craft.

  5. What a great post! You know it was those same embroidery kits that got me to really fall in love with sewing. I remember my grandmother sharing that with me. So happy you decided not to take apart that older quilt... it's perfect just the way it was made!

    (My first quilt was made for my youngest daughter, who is now a teenager. I had no idea what I was doing and also stitched it like a pillow... however, when I turned it right side out, I wound up with the batting on the OUTSIDE! My machine stitching around the edges was so tight that I couldn't rip them out. So, my daughter had a quilt with batting for the backing! Just the other day she mentioned it, both of us wondering where it ever got to. I was so surprised to learn that of all the things I made, that silly backwards quilt was her favorite.)

  6. I cried through that whole post. You are so talented and the love you put in all your pieces, quilts and embroidery, is so evident. I can see Grandma in her corner of the couch and I often think of mom in her chair with her basket of embroidery every night while we watched our 3 channels of TV each night. We are the lucky ones to have had them and their example....

  7. your post makes me want to dive into more crafty endevors. I am working on learning how to quilt and crochet. I love your work.

  8. I love this post! I love the memory of stitching side by side with your mom and the comfort it still brings when you stitch now.

    I totally relate to feeling that wonderful pride and excitement over something you created, and the feelings later of being a little embarrassed by it. But it made me just a little bit sad to read....I think there's something so fantastic about creating something that never was before. That quilt you made came to life from your hands and your dreams and your heart! Isn't that a beautiful thing and so very exciting to experience?

    I'm happy you've decided to keep the drawing quilt just the way it is. It's really very charming and there's a history there that I think should stay as it is.

    You write beautifully! I'm so glad I stopped by this morning! Thank you for sharing this post with us!

  9. oh this is so sweet. great, great post!

  10. I love your son's crayon quilt! I found it thanks to Taryn's Red and White Quilt Gallery. The quilt that got me hooked on quilting was one my mother-in-law made in 1976 of my daughter's art work. I had been sending it to her since Sarah was age 3-8 and unbeknownst to me, she selected about a dozen of them and translated them into various forms of needlework that she could incorporate into a quilt. I was stunned when I saw it! That was it! I was hooked on the whole idea of how quilts could be a vehicle of family history and women's history. Stop by and visit my blog, Quilt History Reports some time.


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