I've always admired quilting - have been drawn to it since I was a teenager and my Mom had our neighbor's Mom make each of us 3 kids quilts from her scraps. I think they were Christmas gifts.? We were able to CHOOSE the backing fabric (mine was purple, of course). I remember thinking THAT side was the front but I loved all the scrap squares on the back. I took it with me when I left home, but it disappeared somewhere along the way. I miss it still.
I also remember going on a family trip to visit my Dad's Uncle Lester in Lewiston, Idaho. I think I was about 8 or 9. As we came close to Lewiston, we were high in the mountains and the valley looked like a patchwork QUILT to me. Even then, I'm not sure why, but I thought of quilting.
While doing shows in the early 90's, I met Jean Adkins and her husband, James. We traveled the circuit together and sometimes Jean roomed with us (there were 3-4 women rooming and sharing expenses in those days - GREAT FUN!). Jean invented a paddle- like thimble and was selling it. I so envied her quilting talent and finally, I asked her to help me make a hand quilted quilt of my own. She had owned a fabric store in her home in South Carolina so she picked out fabric for me (in pinks and greens) and started me along my quilting path. She taught me every step of the way! We used the Dresden Plate pattern as that was the one she started her beginner students on! I cut the plates and sewed them together on my sewing machine and then HAND-APPLIQUED them onto the background piece.
I've ALWAYS been drawn to applique but I'm not very good at it. I was able to applique the plates onto the background pieces though and then sewed the top together by machine.
I think the year was around '96 or '97 because Mindy had graduated from high school, was off to college, and Don decided he didn't want to miss out on the fun. We started traveling from show to show, he being the pack mule and driver. It was wonderful!! We stayed with Jean and James in the motorhome sometimes. Wonderful memories - we really enjoyed our 14 or so years on the road. We both were sad when the economy kinda told us we couldn't continue! I think Don would STILL be on the road if we could find the right product...but we also have Nan to think of and will stay put for now. I'm not actually sure if either of us could handle the work load anymore - we are getting older, you know.
Back to my quilting...I remember appliqueing some of the plates down while visiting with Jean and James in the motorhome in Albuquerque in January. Boy, was it cold! and SNOWY!
It took me a total of about 7 years to finish the hand quilting - mainly because I was fixated on being the "perfect hand quilter" and I wasn't proud of my stitches which weren't as small, even, and perfect as Jean's. Most of that time, the quilt stayed basted together but not worked on at all.
In January of about 2003, we were doing a show in Phoenix and we were there for a whole week. Don got to attend some car races and I stayed in the condo and QUILTED all day. By the end of the week, I had accepted the fact my stitches would probably NEVER be like Jean's but I also knew I LOVED THE PROCESS.
Now I have hand quilted a project for each of my 3 daughters. But this one was the first
|Dresden Plate - finished 2004|
I hope to NEVER have empty hands again!
Now I plan handwork for the evenings when I can. I'm not very good at just sitting!