My first real encounter with a quilt was about 10 years ago when I was working as a medical photographer and happened to stop to admire a small exhibit of quilts on the walls leading to the hospital’s auditorium. I couldn’t figure out how the quilters were able to put on the edge (which I later discovered was called the binding) without any visible stitching! I decided that the easiest way to figure out a quilt was to make one and so headed down to a quilt shop that was relatively close to my apartment at the time. My plan was to go in at every step of the way, buying the new element of the quilt each time and asking questions as I went. It was a pretty good plan except that the store went out of business (or maybe moved) after my first trip and I was stuck with the little I had, which consisted of some piecing that I had painted with fabric paint. Five years and three moves later I still had the makings of a quilt in a plastic bag at the bottom of my closet and decided something had to be done about it. I asked around but no one was interested in finishing this project for me so I decided, finally, to take a beginner’s quilt class at Earthly Goods (www.earthlygoodsquilting.com) and made my first official quilt (in which I also learned how to put on a binding).
This was a machine pieced and quilted lap quilt and I tried my hand at a few quilts after, a wedding and a baby quilt, which is where my foray into quilting would have ended if I hadn’t decided to take another class on hand stitching. It changed my life and started me down the road of fabric hoarding and “just one more square before work” that I know most quilters would nod their heads in approval at. I still machine piece the top of every quilt I make, unless I’m english paper piecing of course, but no longer am I forever fighting with my machine as it sputters through three layers of quilt. Hand quilting, while I admit takes forever, is my favourite part of the process. Each stitch made while listening to music, a podcast, or a movie has let me enjoy the process of slowing down, being quiet and calm, and making something that I can really be proud of. And I’m hooked.
P.S. I did finally finish that first quilt last year and I decided to try something a little different and tie it with yarn instead of stitching it all together.