My first memory of quilting is when I was little my grandmother and I were visiting my great-grandmother on the farm.  A group of ladies came in and they sat around a huge table set up in one room and they all started sewing on a quilt spread on it.  I also remember my grandmother saving old clothes and cutting the good parts into pieces which she sewed together into blocks and made quilt tops.  Some never got completed and when she passed away my mother claimed them.  They were discovered among her things when she passed away.  I wonder if my sisters and I will ever complete them.


          I’ve never taken a quilting lesson, but I’ve learned a lot about quilting and quilters.  Besides the traditional covering for beds, table cloths, place mats, wall hangings, pot holders, and even some clothing qualify as quilts.  The requirement is that there are two layers of cloth, with a layer of batting in between, held together by stitches.  They can be simple square blocks or intricate patterns.


Quilts were of necessity around the time our country was settled    – there wasn’t a Sears or WalMart on the corner or even in the next town, so the women cut up any useable piece of clothing and made quilts.  When the farmers purchased grain and feed for the animals, it sometimes came in colorful, patterned cotton fabric.  After being emptied, what wasn’t used for dresses* and shirts for the family was used for quilts.   *(Another story)


Today, quilting is more of a sport and can be quite competitive.  Guilds are formed for women to get together and learn new methods, exchange ideas, and display their handiwork.  Many women sell their quilts, while others make them for gifts.  Some Guilds support charities by making beautiful quilts and raffling them off.


Quilters are usually quite passionate about their hobby and devote many hours to it – some are more serious than others.  Most women now do machine quilting, while a few prefer to quilt by hand.  Technology has made it possible to have quilt patterns computerized and the final stage is done by “long arm” machines.


As you may have guessed by now, quilting can be an expensive hobby, but it can also be challenging and entertaining.  By the time you have purchased a pattern, the required fabric for it and fabric for the back, batting for the filling, binding material and thread, you have made quite an investment, especially if you are making a full or king size quilt.  Then there is the time investment – just choosing the right fabrics can take time.  Lay-out and cutting and seam pressing  are also very time consuming.  Machine piecing is much faster than hand piecing, but I enjoy doing it by hand because it’s a good way to pass the time while my husband watches sports on TV.   Having the quilt professionally machine quilted is another expense.  So when you see a beautiful quilt at a craft show or in a specialty shop with a big price tag on it, don’t be shocked – think of all that went into it.


I am not a serious quilter – I do it for the challenge and the satisfaction of a finished project.  I prefer to make my own designs; I don’t get upset if my seams are not as straight as they should be . It is a form of art, and since I can’t paint or sculpt, if I can turn out a decent looking quilt, I’m happy.




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