I have a quick story to tell. On Saturday I had to go to our hospital lab for a routine blood draw. I had to fast so I was there first thing in the morning (I’m not big on fasting). I got in and out of the lab with relative speed and was just leaving the parking lot when something caught my eye. There was a mama quail leading her six chicks across a parking space. If you haven’t ever seen quail chicks, they are very tiny. Here is a photo that I found here to show you how tiny the chicks are. This is the size of the covey that I saw.
When the mama got to the curb, she jumped up to the sidewalk to lead them to a bush (for safety I would imagine.) The chicks just stayed put on the road. She looked back at them as though calling them to her. None of them moved. They couldn’t yet fly and couldn’t jump the curb as she did. Here is the amazing part. (I wish I had taken pictures but I didn’t want to get out of the car and get close, they were already having enough difficulty without my scaring them). The mama jumped back down and went back to her chicks. She then led them to a nearby speedbump which they all walked up to the top of. From there they were up high enough and could jump the curb and follow her to safety under the bushes. It was amazing and so sweet to watch. I love witnessing little parts of nature like this.
And on to the subject at hand…. This quilting obsession has come over me in a slightly overwhelming fashion. My evenings are now spent reading quilting blogs (there are so many incredibly talented quilters out there that have wonderful blogs), cruising around Pinterest pinning myriad quilts, tutorials, quilt blocks, inspirational art quilts, quilt backs and borders, free motion patterns and tips. The wealth of quilting information to be found through Pinterest is never-ending. (Follow me here.) If I am not on my iPad reading about quilting, I am at the sewing machine working on something. I didn’t use to be this way. I used to have balance in my life! This quilty obsession sneaks up on a person, takes over slowly and before you know it, you’re hooked. Here’s how I remember it:
About three years ago I was wandering around our small downtown area in the Sierra Foothills town of Grass Valley. My daughter and I were window shopping and I walked by a little fabric store (sadly it is no longer open – it was a great shop.) In front of the store there was a small display of about 20 bolts of fabric that were on sale. A set of fabrics in various shades of turquoise and browns caught my eye. We kept walking but when I got home I kept thinking of that fabric. (It all comes down to the fabrics, right?) It was on sale, couldn’t do too much harm to go back and purchase some, could it? (I had no idea!) I got it into my head to make a quilt for my queen size bed. I had made a few quilts way back when (another story for another post) and thought maybe it would be fun to try making one again. I drew a basic design with six inch squares, a border, and some binding. With limited knowledge (no pattern, no knowledge of all the blogs and tutorials that could have helped me) I began. I bought the fabric, estimating what I needed as best I could. No surprise that I had too much of some and not enough of other prints.
I started to cut my squares. No rotary cutter, no mat, no ruler. Yikes. I had a t-square, scissors and a pencil. I sat on the floor at the coffee table and hacked away at that fabric. Surprisingly, the squares were consistent for the most part. I sewed the top together; that was the easy part. I had no idea what to do next. I made my very first trip to our LQS and was immediately befriended by the owner. She said to “stitch in the ditch”. She explained how to make a quilt sandwich and how to roll the sides up so I could quilt it on my home sewing machine and off I went. Quilting it was arduous and frustrating. Stuffing that queen sized quilt through the small throat on my Janome was not easy. But I finished it. I was so proud of it.
Once I finished that quilt I kept thinking about how fun it was and that I wanted to do more, to learn something more than “stitching in the ditch”. I saw a post on the website of our LQS advertising a beginner’s free motion quilting class. I signed up. Looking at the supply list, I realized that I was somewhat out of my comfort zone. Listed as necessary were a darning foot and a walking foot for the sewing machine. I had no idea what these were; I only knew I didn’t own either one. After googling both of them I was able to order the items. I showed up for class and had so much fun. My machine was less than cooperative as were my hands. It was awkwardly reminiscent of being in 3rd grade and trying to learn to write in cursive. One of the hand-outs that I received in this class included a list of internet quilting resources. (Now that I consider it, this list was really the beginning of the craze.)
As I started checking out each of the sites that were listed, one thing led to another. This whole new quilting language became a part of my daily reading. Fat quarters? Charm squares? Block of the month? Half square triangles, paper piecing, and flying geese? Low volume, high volume and blenders? Quilt alongs? Blog hops, shop hops, giveaways? Quilting styles, both traditional and modern; especially the clean lines of the modern quilts!! It was madness and I loved all of it. Looking at the gorgeous quilts posted on Flickr was (and still is) inspirational. I have absolutely become obsessed with the process, the fabrics, the design and the resulting quilt. It is a blast.
It is my goal to use this blog to journal my progress as a quilter, share information I have found useful, and to make some friends in the quilting world. Hope you’ll enjoy my blog and will come back to visit!