Recently, I have been thinking about my quilting journey over the last 3 years and how it all started for me. I have written a little bit about this in my first ever blog a couple of years ago, but I’m hoping that you’ve forgotten about that one, and I can expand a little in this one!
Three years ago, a day before my birthday I headed to a shopping centre to treat myself to a few birthday goodies and I came across a ‘quilt’ and I use that term very loosely, in a shop. It caught my eye because I liked the colour and the feel of it. It was very simple, just a one-piece fabric that someone had put a few long stitches through by hand and named it a quilt. I stood there for a while debating whether or not I should buy it, it was £125.00 down from £175.00 in the January sale, so I went ahead and treated myself to it.
I got home and put it away. I found that I was annoyed with myself for spending so much on such a simple looking mass-produced item that had nothing remarkable about it whatsoever. Over the next couple of weeks, I got more annoyed every time I thought about this quilt. I woke up one morning still feeling cross and I glared at the cupboard door behind which sat this quilt and I decided there and then that I could make a much better quilt myself. And so began my journey into the world of quilting…..
I went out that same morning and I headed to Hobbycraft and I bought myself a machine, cutting mat, rotary cutter, thread and fabric, all the items that the lady in the shop said that I would need to begin and lugged it all home and unpacked it and just looked at it, now how do I start?
I opened up YouTube on the TV and typed in ‘quilting tutorials for beginners’ and I discovered Jenny Doan and Missouri Star Quilt Company (MSQC) and I was hooked. I watched a few tutorials on how to make some different blocks and decided that I liked the look of pinwheels and that was what I would make. As you know, Jenny likes to use precuts and I had bought fat quarters, so I looked up the sizes of the precuts that she was using and cut my fabric to the same size.
I was ready to sew my first seam, but first I had to get out the machine manual and learn how to thread the machine and wind up a bobbin. The last time I had sewn anything or used a machine was years ago when I was at school, so this was a bit daunting, but I got my fabric pieces, lined them up and slowly stitched my first seam, and lo and behold, it worked!!!
I was hooked……
After I had sewn a few pieces together and was getting into the swing of things I started going a bit faster and my sewing machine nearly took off from the table. I knew there and then that this machine was not for me, I needed something more robust and a machine that could handle heavy use, because I was loving this ‘sewing business’ and I knew with absolute certainty that I was sticking with it, that it was not just a fad.
I returned the sewing machine to Hobbycraft. Now I needed a sewing machine but I had no idea where to buy a ‘real’ machine, I didn’t know of any shops near me, neither did I know anyone that sews that I could ask advice from. So, I went online and typed in ‘quilting sewing machines’ and up came the Singer Modern Quilter, my mum had a Singer machine and it was a name that I was familiar with. I had a look at the machine, the spec and the price and the fact that I could have it the following day and I bought it, I just wanted to sew so much.
The machine arrived the next evening and I set it up and it was just so easy to use, I was able to thread it without using the instruction manual, which as a beginner impressed me!
The next morning, I got up early because I just wanted to get on with making my quilt, I was so fired up and excited. I stuck with it over the next few days, building up the design as I went.
I have since learnt that there are easier and more accurate ways to do things, but I didn’t know about the UKQU site at that point, or the shows around the country or any of the other places that we go to for tips and advice so I just muddled through.
I completed the quilt and was so happy with it, I was proud that I had stuck with it even though I had no idea what I was doing.
Around 2-3 weeks after I started my quilting journey, I discovered the UKQU Facebook page, I found a local quilt group and through them learnt that there is a sewing machine / fabric shop in the next town and that there are 2 shows at Duxford (my local show) each year.
My mind was blown and going into overdrive with ideas of what to make, I was buying up lots of fabric, tools and gadgets, I bought a Horn cabinet and chair, I was like a madwoman at shows, I had to have everything. Luckily, over time I have calmed down and controlled my buying and am more sensible now (probably because I have everything!) when I go to the fabric shops and shows and only buy what I know I will definitely use.
I’m now 3.5 years into my quilting journey and I still get very excited when I begin a new project and I’m always happy when I see the recipient’s reaction to their quilt.
I love quilting as much today as I did at the beginning of my journey and I leave you with pics of my very first quilt that my mother-in-law has on her bed.