It’s National Sewing Month! To celebrate, AllFreeSewing.com is hosting a special blog series throughout the entire month. Check back daily for posts featuring our favorite projects, new sewing videos and tutorials, guest blogs from talented designers and more. We’re also giving away a HUGE sewing prize at the end of the month. You won’t believe how EASY it is to WIN!
Leave a comment on any of the blog posts with the headline “National Sewing Month”. Your comment will count as an entry into the giveaway. You are free to comment as often as once per blog post (for a total of 30 chances to win!). At the end of the month, we’ll pool all of the comments together and pick one lucky winner to win the mystery grand prize. And trust us; you want to win this one!
Whether you’re already a sewing enthusiast or new to the craft, our hope is that this September will encourage you to create wonderful sewn projects.
Happy National Sewing Month!
Here’s today’s post:
Although I am the editor of FaveQuilts.com, my quilting memories are few. I spend my days poring over pictures of quilts and I can tell you anything you want to know about any quilting technique, but I’ve actually made only a handful of quilts myself. I made my first quilt as a child when I was maybe nine or ten years old. At that time, my mom was sewing prolifically, and she had a huge bin of fabric scraps leftover from all of her projects. That bin of scraps was my introduction and inspiration in the world of sewing. With the unwanted fabric at my fingertips, I was free to experiment in whichever direction I chose. I made purses, shirts, pincushions, and, as my imagination outgrew Barbie’s fashionable store-bought accessories, caveman wraps and shag rugs for my dolls.
One day, purely on a whim, I decided to make a quilt. I collected an array of blue, pink, and silver fabrics left over from handmade Halloween costumes and dutifully cut out each 5″ x 5″ square with a cardboard template. The finished quilt ended up too small to serve as anything but a doll quilt, but it was my first experience of the warm, cozy satisfaction of making a quilt. I’ll never forget the sense of accomplishment in making something that could provide so much comfort.
Ever since that first quilting project, I have been enamored with the basic qualities of a quilt; the thick, slightly lumpy network of batting and fabric, softened in the laundry and ready to envelop you in its warmth, appeals to your sense of touch in a way that is both physically and psychologically satisfying. But you can easily achieve those characteristics in a quilt as simple as the checkerboard quilt I made as a girl. Fabric and quilting patterns can take you beyond that, from tactually pleasing to aesthetically endearing. The first quilt I fell in love with is the one that still sits on my bed, over ten years after I first bought it. Although I am tired of the furniture I have now and frequently fantasize about choosing new paint colors, I am so attached to the quilt that I refuse to redecorate. Even now, I sometimes sit on the bed and trace the quilting lines or marvel at the beauty of the simple patchwork.
When I became the editor of FaveQuilts.com, my appreciation of quilts exploded. I had been virtually ignorant of the possibilities in a simple sandwich of fabric and batting. Through the FaveQuilts Pinterest boards, I began to discover the creative, expressive, three-dimensional beauty of art quilts. But as much as I admired the fabric artists who had created them, the quilts and the art form itself seemed inaccessible to me. Although I am a lifelong crafter and I consider myself imaginitive, the sense of spatial aesthetics and color coordination that make art quilts beautiful does not come naturally to me. I searched in vain for art quilting tutorials, but they come far and few between, mostly focusing on specific techniques rather than finished products.
That’s why my pulse quickened when I saw the Road to Brownwood Quilt by Judy Laquidara from Patchwork Times. It’s a quilt built with traditional piecework patterns like Ohio stars and log cabin blocks, but the overall effect of the finished quilt reveals the designer’s astute feel for the way that pattern and color interact. The purple and gold patterns create a luminous quality that makes me think of a desert sunset. I fell in love with this quilt the moment I first saw it and comprehended the talent it took to design something so subtly beautiful: a traditional quilt that wowed me as much as any art quilt. The best moment was when I realized I could make that quilt. I could follow the directions, cut up the pieces, stitch them together and put it on my bed. I could look at that art every day and cuddle underneath it at night. That’s the moment I became a quilter.