Monday, December 29, 2014

Living the Legacy

My mother, a Home Economics major in college (I don't think they even have a course in Home Ec, let alone a major anymore!) used to sew most of our clothes. 


She taught me to sew. I used to make Barbie clothes by hand before graduating to making my first dress at 10 years of age. How well I remember Mom's old Elna machine with the green paint worn to burnished steel where her hand brushed the frame as she advanced the hand wheel to bring the needle up or down and to get the machine started. Mom gave me my first sewing machine when I went off to college. I was touched, and I continued the sewing tradition, to some degree, sewing some of my clothes, many home furnishings and lots of clothing items for my boys and friends.  

In her later years Mom took up quilting. 


She loved picking out the perfect swatch, considering both color and pattern, to create the look she wanted. 


Mom preferred to make small quilts. 


She loved the planning and creation process, and always wanted to move on to try another technique, pattern or color.  


Also, like me, at this point in her life, she spent a great deal of her time on a motorhome. Small quilts were easier to work with in small quarters. 

I never quilted. When Mom died I took her bins of fat quarters (A fat quarter is a one-fourth yard cut of fabric that usually measures 18" x 22" instead of the typical 9" x 42" quarter-yard cut), her books and her tools, figuring that one day I might try quilting. 


That day has come, and I like it! I think that my dabbling with painting, and learning more about color has contributed to my interest in quilting. Perhaps, since I now understand a bit about color, that is one less new thing I have to struggle with, freeing my aging brain to tackle other aspects of quilting. 

For our "handmade" Christmas I decided to tackle a quilted jacket for Holly (DIL's mother) using a sweatshirt as the base, as a gift. This is one I bought years ago, and I liked the Bohemian look of it. 


But then, I found an online video that described a way to cover the sweatshirt entirely with material. This solved the problem of not finding the specific green or blue hue that I wanted. 

I snipped, and sewed, and snipped some more. I emptied numerous spools and bobbins of thread. I had a carpet comprised of bits of cloth and thread, punctuated with an occasional pin. And voila, I had a jacket! Wow! I impressed myself. I didn't think I could do it. 

But then...

I tried it on. The jacket was a bit snug for me. Uh oh. It wouldn't fit the gift recipient. No one told me that quilting through layers of material would make the garment significantly smaller. Well, now I know! 
I started over, using a pattern instead of a sweatshirt (I didn't like the short sleeves, larger neck opening and shorter length that comes from trimming a sweatshirt). I sewed like a mad woman, and by Christmas Eve had everything but the trim and buttonholes completed. I left them undone for last minute alterations. The jacket was finished just in time for Holly to head home. 

I liked the experience. I found a fabulous quilting shop in my hometown - how could it be that I have lived here three years and never knew of its existence?! Well, to be honest it is on a street I have only travelled a handful of times! And, of course I am a very carful driver watching the road at all times, not the shops in plazas along the road! ! I am looking forward to learning more about the craft ... when I return from our travels!

2 comments:

  1. Quilting is a talent I used to have.

    Also sewing clothing. Even Hubby would find something in a book and ask if I could make that, uh, yes. so I fashioned muzzle loader bags and face masks. When the children were young I would just lay them down and cut around them. Never had patterns but did know how to sew beginning with my index finger on the old treadle machine.

    When they walked on the moon I was sewing a sailor top with tie and elephant leg pants...remember those?

    Makes me want to create but my creating space is occupied by a long term guest, Maria, and her child. So today I crochet finger-less mittens and dream of painting and sewing again soon.

    Happy New Year.

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  2. It looks like you Mom made some beautiful quilted pieces. I have made some potholders, a few baby blankets and one quilt top...not finished. I made the quilt called Grandmothers Garden with hexies...I hand sewed all mine together...that is something you could do in the motorhome:)

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