My beloved Aunt Dorothy (my mom's sister) has always been a crafter and set the stage for my lifelong interest in similar hobbies. Besides buttons, the last thing I sewed was a dress to wear to a friend's wedding in the late 70's. Afterwards, I put my Singer sewing machine in mothballs and took up more portable hobbies such as crocheting and counted cross-stitch.
Thanks to my friend, Minette, I discovered quilting in late 2003 and have not looked back. She has since set quilting aside and believes it was her destiny to bring me to quilting, though initially I went into it kicking and screaming. I already had more cross-stitch projects in progress than I could finish.
But, thankfully, she just ignored me and put together a little quilt kit for me from her own fabric stash and BeeHappyQuilting.com, her sister Barb's online quilt store. The kit was my birthday present that year.
In my usual style, I didn't dive into the project right away. I borrowed books on quilting from the library and bought quilting magazines. The magazine that convinced me this new hobby was for me is Fons and Porter's "Love of Quilting."
In early 2004 I completed my first quilt, shown above, from a Fons and Porter pattern. It was for Charlotte, the first child of the first child, Lisa, of my dear friend, Dale.
Since then I've made about 10 more and given all but 2 away. That seems to be the way with quilters.
One of my quilts has been in progress since about Oct 2003. It's a traditional pattern called Grandmother's Flower Garden (its "flowers" shown at right). It's best made by hand using hexagon templates around which you wrap and baste the fabric into shape. Then you sew the hexagons together. Once the fabric is cut up, it's a mindless project requiring only needle, thread, scissors, and very simple hand-sewing. Working on it is a perfect respite from my business, from technology, and from the world.
On the other hand, when it's finished, it will have over 5,000 hexagons in it, as I'm making it into a king-size quilt. This part continually teaches me that it's the journey that counts, not the finish line. It also teaches me how much progress you can make in an hour here and there over time.
This quilt project has sustained me through several years when we experienced heavy losses of family members and friends due to cancer or other illness. Making the 85 "flowers" has also accompanied me through great times. This quilt literally represents the many colors and pieces of my life. And it will help me quilt together the pieces and parts of this brand new year.