A few months ago, my mother and I signed up for a quilting class at our local quilt shop, Thistlebee. I had no experience sewing, but she did. My mother grew up sewing her own clothes and even made her wedding dress. I, on the other hand, didn’t even own my own machine. I was ambitious and didn’t know it.
On a work trip through Little Switzerland, I found a cute little quilt shop. The owner stood in the doorway on double crutches and said to me, “you’re a fabric artist, baby, I know you’re coming in here”. When I told her my story, she told me hers. She had lost everything, and now she was selling away her personal fabric stash to build a life for herself. When I told her I was planning on taking the quilt class and sharing my mother’s machine, she said, “wait right here, baby”, went home and brought me back a machine.
I was blown away by this stranger’s generosity and odd prophetic ability to look at me and see me as an artist with fabric. I accepted her gift, and had it serviced and working good as new before the class began.
Joining the quilt class was a good decision. It was good bonding time for mom and I, and we also made good friends at the shop with the instructors and shop owners. Mary Ellen, the shop owner, helped me figure out fabric measurements for the designs in my head. Pat, our teacher, helped me square up my work and learn to love my seam ripper. I went from not sewing at all to sewing a straight line to reading patterns, learning quilt tools, and designing my own quilts. Thistlebee became my home away from home, and something mom and I looked forward to sharing together.
As class approached its end, I realized I would not get my project done in time (I redesigned the project from the original lap quilt to a full queen quilt). I didn’t want to disappoint, so I designed, pieced, and finished a small tabletop pinwheel quilt instead of the rail fence we had started. This little quilt was a big hit in the class (Pat and Mary Ellen wanted to keep it), and it has since been used to teach math in my classes. When I see it now, I smile. I think about Pat and Mary Ellen and Charlie and mom; all the ladies that opened the door for me to learn how to quilt.
4 thoughts on “Rockin’ Summer Row-by-Row Experience: My Journey Into Sewing & Quilting Part 1”
Rebecca, I’ve enjoyed reading your series of blogs about your whole experiences with the quilting class and all. First I say ”thank-you” for the gift certificate you had given to me and then the little push you gave to help me go ahead and use it!! We sure never knew we’d get bit as bad as we did when first we started that class,lol It has been a great journey that is still going on and who knows where it will take us? Much love,Mom
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I love you too, mom, and I am enjoying this journey with you. 😉
This is Wonderful story !! that same happen to me but I just learn sewing dress for prom when I was in 10 grade then I love it until 1 year ago I decide filled apply for sewing class with quilt too. I did not know about quilt but I really remember that my old next door is old lady very sweet who work on her many flowers on her front home and did work on her own quilt very large wow that was time I was young girl. she is very sweet to me . So when I was 12 as time we had move to other town ..I not have hear from her but I still remember her as don’t forgot her .. that why I ahead take quilt class and learn from sweet old ladies who teach me . they make me big smile . I bet that they make you big smile and big heart ..
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Thank you for reading, Natishia, and sharing your own quilting story. May quilting bring you fond memories and many beautiful quilts! 😉
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