Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Okay, Mary, since you asked... ;)

My blogland friend Mary is hosting a giveaway and wants to know how did you learn to sew/quilt.  My story's not exciting, but here goes.

My mother, bless her sweet lil' pea-pickin' heart, tried mightily to get me interested in the sewing arts when I was younger.  I can still remember sitting at the machine sewing a seam for a doll-baby blanket and thinking what a waste of time it all was.  Mom learned from her mother, my Nana, a woman who made Mom's wedding dress from her own pattern.  Pictures from back in the day, show Mom and her siblings decked out in fashions made by my Nana's hand...and I do mean DECKED OUT.  If I remember correctly, Mom said Nana even sewed underpants...now that's a Mom, y'all!

Mom sewed all my clothes which embarrassed me to no end, ungrateful wretch that I was and which embarrasses me now because I know how much time and love she put into it without any thanks from me.  She also made oodles of Barbie clothes (which she swore she'd never do again.  Frankly, I think that's when she picked up her penchant for the occasional curse word...all those damn snaps!  Just sayin').  I was having none of it.  A tomboy through and through, I preferred mud, climbing trees and generally just being a grubby little girl...much like my daughter today.

Mom was big into sewing, macrame (hello 1970s!), fabric painting and ceramics when I was growing up.  Later came the cross stitch which she learned from my other grandmother, Ruth and quilting into which she was dragged kicking and screaming by my Aunt Doris.  Trust me, she didn't fight hard. 

Not I.

Fast forward to 2004 and I was pregnant with Co-Defendant #2.  An avid scrapbooker, I'd somehow acquired a tiny collection of fat quarters I was using to (gasp!) cover mini-photo albums.  I asked Mom what they were really for and she gave me that deer in the headlights look (mind you, I was hyped up on pregnancy hormones and really not the nicest chick to be around.  She had reason to be scared).  She claims she took her life into her own hands to teach me how to quilt what with all those sharp cutting implements laying about.  Whatever!  By the time #2 arrived, I'd completed two quilts.

The one above is the original fat-quarter quilt.  I will not show you close-ups!!  I didn't know you were supposed to extend the batting all the way to the edge so the binding is a little...flimsy, shall we say and I had yet to learn the fine art of mitering corners.  I must give a shout-out to my supervisor, The Divine Miss Deborah, for teaching me how to do impossibly small, almost invisible stitches when sewing down the binding.  My stitches freakin' rock!  No 'toenail catchers' for me, no sir!

I fussy cut the blocks for the quilt above (I just didn't know I was 'fussy cutting' at the time).  Each block has a Beatitude printed on it.  I sat at the machine until my feet swelled like Polish sausages.  No one can say I wasn't dedicated to my new craft!

I do not sew clothing.  Let me repeat that: I DO NOT SEW CLOTHING!  I've made exactly one pair of pajama pants and swear I was on the verge of going postal.  Never again, I tell you!!

As time's gone on, I've learned that quilting 'rules' really aren't rules per se...they're more like guidelines.  If my points aren't perfect or the seam's a little wonky, so be it...I'm not pickin' that puppy out.  I've heard the Amish deliberately make a mistake in all their quilts because only God is perfect.  If that's their intention, then mine are all Amish quilts because I make tons of mistakes in mine.  Perhaps my quilting is a reflection of the way I view life...a little wonky, a little crazy, but mine all mine.

Mom made it through those first treacherous weeks to teach me a craft she'd come to love and I'll be forever grateful.  Occasionally, she'll give me 'the eye' when she spies what I'm working on, but she doesn't say anything.  I assume it's because of the rotary cutter I'm wielding and she's not taking any chances.

Happy quilting, y'all!

And happy, happy news for Mary!!


  1. Cute, Stephanie. Real cute!

    I hold a new sense of admiration for your brave mother. My mom and I were both provervial tom-boys ourselves. Probably part of what made the entire transfer of domestic skills such a war. She hated doing them and was more than willing to push them off to me. I hated them but hated not doing something right more.

    I am glad your mom risked life and limb with you. Her efforts have paid off.

    Thanks for linking up!

  2. You mean there is hope that my daughter might some day want me to teach her to quilt? So far she has said she totally respects me for dealing with the machine that she cannot master. (Middle school home-ec). And since I make them why should she. But maybe some day. Anyway, thanks for sharing, cute story!