Welcome to the first blog post of Quilting Stories with Sam. Make sure to read the most currently publication in the Country Register. Grab a copy on your next visit to Aspen Grove Quilting, or at your favourite quilt shop.
"Sharp as a fresh needle, my mother instantly knew my first project – a very special quilt specifically for her. "
Do you remember the first quilt you made?
I recently provided long arm quilting services for a three-generation quilting trio, completing their FIRST quilt this year. After profusely apologizing for its imperfections, my mother pipped up, “it’s not about perfection, it's about the joy of completion, and sharing it with those you love”. The ladies looked at each other, smiling while sharing a giggle about their experience learning to quilt, together.
Once the quilting trio left, I questioned my mom if she remembered what my first quilt was. I have been sewing with my mother by my side since I was six or seven, but wasn't certain where my love of quilting started, or even what my first quilt was. Sharp as a fresh needle, my mother instantly knew my first project – a very special quilt specifically for her.
My first year out of high school had its up and downs, but the most life changing event hit me hard and changed life as our family knew it. Our invincible hero, our favorite woman, our idol; mom was diagnosed with cancer. As a family, we prepared for the process of fighting her diagnosis – chemo, radiation, medications, surgery. We all bound together to support our mom, and each other. It was tough, it was challenging, but I had the desire to do more for her.
Like any 18 year old, I went shopping trying to escape the reality I was facing, not knowing if mom would survive to see my wedding, my kids, or what I was going to accomplish in life. I ended up in a fabric store (my guilty pleasure) and happened to come across fabric specific for breast cancer. The words in the fabric were perfect for what mom was going through. I knew I needed it and shopped around, quickly finding additional pink fabrics that complimented the encouraging survivor textile.
Unfamiliar with quilting solo, I did not know where to start. I didn’t know you needed a pattern, so I left that store with only fabric in hand, no pattern, no thread, and no idea what I was doing. Thankfully, I knew how to sew and was determined I was going to make a quilt mom would be able to take to appointments, relax in her chair, or have a nap with.
I knew I could cut straight, sew straight, and so I started doing exactly that. I cut strips of the beautiful pink fabrics and sewed them together at random. I determined the width I wanted the quilt to be and began to cut the never-ending single strip into multiple width length pieces. Laying them out on the floor and seeing my vision come to life meant the daunting feeling of quilting my FIRST quilt solo started to evaporate. I was doing it; I was quilting by myself. And, it was working!
I think I finished that quilt in record time – I was so excited I just couldn’t stop, plus I really wanted to know if it was actually going to turn into a real quilt. After a couple days, very little sleep and a few seam ripping plights, I was done and needed to get it to my mom – what's a few more hours of no sleep at 18. I drove down to my parent's place and handed her the precious item I created just for her. I don’t remember what she said, but I remember her reaction. A combination of love, pride, thankfulness, joy, gratitude, and surprise.
Right there, that is why I continued to quilt. My quilt was far from perfect. I look back at it and giggle to myself. Seams are crooked, it's not square, binding is wavy, and the quilting is erroneous. I have learned so much since that first seam and continue to learn more with each quilt. So, when my mom told those new quilters “it’s not about perfection, it's about the joy of completion, and sharing it with those you love” I recognized how those exact feelings directed my path in quilting and continue to do just that.
From there my enjoyment of quilting started and my passion to see that “I love it” look began. This lead me to my most current adventure – starting a long arm quilting business just outside of Morden, MB. To be a component in the process of making a quilt brings me that same feeling my mom had, and hopefully flows through me to the quilter and/or the quilts recipient.
I look forward to sharing more stories with you over the coming editions, and would love to hear about your first quilt too. Share with me online through our social media, website or email. See you next edition of the Country Register – chat soon!
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