The old lady who first taught me to quilt was one of the kindest individuals. She directed a diverse group of beginning quilters with quiet charm. She was the one who knew how to run the sewing machine. The rest of her group cut donated fabric into squares using a cardboard template, felt tip pen, and large scissors. The fabric was a variety of fiber types and thicknesses. But it wasn’t important that the quilts be beautiful, just warm. They were destined to go to the local rescue mission to cover beds for the homeless. When I showed up to help I brought my sewing machine and years of sewing experience. They were delighted and entertained my 4-year-old son to give me time to sew.
Laurel learned to sew before first grade. Her mother taught her to thread a needle and knot the thread to make clothes for her dolls. As the years progressed she learned to sew using a pattern. She took tailoring in high school and worked for the home-ec teacher. Quilting as a hobby didn’t arrive until her first son began school. She took her sewing machine and second son to a group making quilts for a local homeless shelter. It was a wonderful start.
Now she designs patterns and teaches quiltmaking with a specialty in appliqué. Check out her patterns here: Patterns
View her teaching schedule here: Schedule
Check the workshops and lectures she offers here: Teaching
One of my bucket list items was just checked off. Teaching at the Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar. People come from all over the world to teach and learn quilting. The weather was perfect despite the nasty winter California was enduring. The facility showed vintage charm and offered glimpses of wildlife, otters, deer, raccoons, and butterflies. The beach was a brief walk across the road. We quilted for 6 days and it was hard to leave my students and new friends. We hope to meet again.
You work hard in your sewing room to create your next quilt and you wonder if it is important. When you give this quilt to the new baby, or graduate, or bride, will they like it? Will they use it or use it to shreds? The best quilts get used to shreds. They are given to babies and become the most important prop for nap and travel time. They become tents and dinosaur landscape. They become dolly blankets and tea party tablecloths. They get used up, but what a live they live.
Consider the life cycle of the amazing, phenomenal quilt. It takes years to applique and quilt. It goes the to all the best shows and brings home ribbons and money. Eventually, it is sold to a collector and leaves home for good. There are tears shed and a sense of loss until the next quilt is begun. Yes, the world needs quilting but the important thing is that I need to quilt. I need quilting.
Are you a member if a quilt guild? Do you remember your first visit to one? My first impression was that there were similarities to a church service. There were announcements, a main speaker, community service appeals, and opportunities to socialize. But the part of the guild meeting that impressed me the most was the Show and Tell. People showed their quilts on the stage and were applauded. All of the quilts received applause, the ugly, the pretty, and the completely phenomenal. Where else in my life could I go for guaranteed applause? I was a mother of 2 young and challenging boys. I loved them very much but they made every day a bit of a battle. Every day I needed a game plan, a strategy, and fortitude to face whatever came into each day. Sure, cooking, laundry, and cleaning are important but they don’t stay done! I wanted something in my life to get done and stay that way. I learned I could squeeze in a bit of sewing if I left my machine and project on the table and ran a plastic table cloth over it. When the boys were in school I could manage to feed my creativity and once a month I could get away for an evening with other quilters at the local guild meeting. The other members became mentors, examples and dear friends. A bargain at any price.