I learned to sew in 2005 from the mother of one of my best friends. No one in my family knew how to sew and I had a deep desire to learn. I was 15 at the time and eager to learn. I had already taken almost every art class my high school had to offer, and I felt a deep need to create more in my free time.
I'm not sure when I got my first sewing machine, but let me tell you, I really put the miles on that thing! It got to the point where my parents had to set limits on my sewing time. By the time I left for college, I was forbidden from bringing my sewing machine with me.
I took it anyway.
I hid it in my suitcase and packed it in the car. I even brought it back with me over winter break so I could sew Christmas gifts for my family.
I didn't have many opportunities to sew in college, but I did find a little downtime here and there to make a blanket for my dorm room. I wanted to make a patchwork throw - a quilt - with a nice soft back. I had no clue what I was doing, but I had made dresses, skirts, blouses, and many other clothing items, how hard could a flat rectangle be?
It turns out that quilting is a lot more complicated than it seams. Haaaaa see what I did there?
My first quilting pun, is that like the quilters initiation? Anyway, this quilt I made was a hot mess. No seams lined up and i think I did about 2 or 3 lines of actual quilting before I gave up. I didn't use batting and I didn't baste it. I was just winging it and had no clue what I was doing. I sitll have this "quilt" but my lovely little dachshund, hunter, has put a couple holes in it.
My sewing machine lay dormant for nearly ten years, only coming out on occasion to sew the lining of a crochet bag, or fix some ripped pants.
This past spring, while my coworkers were cleaning out the interior design material library, they collected hundreds of fabric samples with the intention of throwing them away. It felt like such a waste, so I adopted these samples with the idea of making a quilt.
This time, I did my research. I consulted with my good friends over at /r/quilting and they clued me in on the best way to tackle this project. It was here that I learned some useful quilting terms like "sandwich" and "FMQ". Mmmm sounds good right? Unfortunately, you can't eat this sandwich. The quilt top, batting in the middle, and the backing make up the quilt sandwich. FMQ stands for Free Motion Quilting and is a pretty intense method of joining your quilt sandwich together.
I finally finished this project and realized that upholstery fabric is not used in quilts for a reason. I free motion quilted a pebbled stone pattern over the whole thing, which looks pretty sweet if I do say so myself!
I love how this fabric looks and feels. It has this soft shimmer to it which gives the pebbles a lot of depth and texture, both visual and tactile. The little holes are rivets from the fabric sample. Rather than trim the fabric down to a very small size, I just left them in and carefully quilted around them. I only broke one needle on them! Quite the accomplishment if I do say so myself.
I learned so much about quilting from this project, and it has gotten me totally hooked on quilting. I love the process of arranging color, pattern, and texture, and highlighting those selections with thread. Free motion quilting is like drawing with thread, it is limitless and flexible, and I can't wait to incorporate it into future designs!