Well, all this discussion about tools for quilting has me thinking about my roots in this art. Like many of you I did not come to quilting early in my life. I am the oldest of ten children so there was much to do. Remember when variety stores, AKA dime stores, AKA five and dimes, carried soft flannel baby garments stamped with embroidery designs? I stitched a lot of those. Being the oldest, I was my mother's right hand girl. Together we made clothing for all, did the laundry, ironing, house cleaning and cooking.
I went on to embroidery, crewel, counted cross stitch, needlepoint and more. In 1961 I married a sailor who looked a lot like the famous young man who came home from the war to get his picture taken kissing a beautiful young woman. Made all the news. That was not us. Our first child was born in 1963. At the baby shower given by friends and family I received a snowy white Baby Pepperil blanket. Oh it was so soft and beautiful. I had no idea how to accomplish this but I decided to applique this blankie with sweet baby animals and embroidered flowers etc. My fabrics were pastel velours attached with blanket stitch. Sweet. I gave her the blanket a few years ago. Perhaps we should encourage her to share it with all of you? Our little boy also slept under that blanket/ quilt.
I continued to stitch, but but knew nothing really about quilts as there were none in my personal history. I attended many needlework shows, a pre-curser I think to quilt shows and once bought a quit magazine. I knew it was for me instantly and hounded a friend of mine to join me in making our first pieced quilts. We both decided to make the Postage stamp pattern above. It was constructed on the machine. Otherwise I am sure I would still be working on it. The year was 1976. I had been entering embroidery and pumpkin pies, etc in the county fair for a lot of years and that year I entered my quilt. I still do not know how it happened to this day, but I won the first Best of Fair award ever offered by the Alameda County Fair. A big ribbon and a silver tray.
It was a joyful time for me.
I had the quilt after that day for only five months. In the early morning hours of a fall night there was a fire in the house where my sister and her family were living. The fire took her baby girl and nearly took the rest of the family. I remember feeling so helpless. I could attend the services, look after her little boys, cook meals, but nothing seemed to make a difference. My husband tried so hard to help me help her, but it did seem meaningless. At one point he suggested I give her the quilt. Almost right away, I knew I was going to do just that. I hugged her and told her I loved her and while I couldn't change anything that I wanted her to have this quilt. I don't know if it made the slightest difference but I have no regret. I think sometimes you do something because your heart will break if you don't.
I believe I came to quilting because there is so much heart in the creation. I hope that while my story is sad at times that you share your first quilts too. warmly, Nadine
3 days ago