Friday, August 28, 2015
I don't know about you, but I had the most amazing grandmother. She cared for us while our parents were at work, baked and cooked traditional recipes from the proud heritage of our people who grew their own food and shared with their neighbors and welcomed strangers in need to their depression homes. She was the daughter of immigrants with her family spread out too far to stay close. She was the bearer of disappointment and loss and the keeper of babies and flowers. And she made quilts. Nothing fancy; she made the kind crafted with love from scraps and worn clothes to warm and comfort her family. None of the luxuries of our time distracted her work. Only making do with the materials around her, and making her house a home with hand made and hand grown and hand cooked simple foods that raised two generations of children through the heartbreak and resilience that marked her generation. She was gone too soon from me to teach me much about her skills, but I remember her hands. Browned by making a warm and loving home. Bent by making her way when necessary picking cotton and slinging hash in an early part of the last century in the poor country of the south and then the midwest. Her hands dried my tears and tended my scrapes. Her hands lifted me to see out the window. They braided my hair. They held me close.
I only have one of her quilts. It's a tattered crazy patch, tied with yarn, and repaired with newer fabrics as the years passed. There are little pieces of embroidery here and there all hand done when she had a free hour. Some of the threads are faded but the designs are still happy, little daisies with faces and teapots and baby animals dancing. The quilt is yellowed and frayed, but I use it every Christmas as a tree skirt, no matter what the decor or where we now make our home. I keep it safe, the way her hands kept me.
My mother sewed a bit from time to time, but was never that keen. The gene must have skipped a generation. Because from my first home economics class and the first costume crew I worked on in high school, I was never far from a needle and thread. And now, as I quilt, I see my own fingers starting to bend from arthritis and age and the hard use of making a home, raising a child, growing our food, tending pets and livestock. I see the shape of her hands in my own now. And I am so comforted. I'm thinking of my Grandmother today as I look at my hands to sew. I can almost feel her hand on mine. Smiling that I continue her good works. I am blessed.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
I have had several people ask me at my Facebook page who are some of my quilting idols or favorite teachers or bloggers. So I've decide to link you up to a few must see spots and quilting gurus online.
For doodling whimsy, Lori Kennedy at http://theinboxjaunt.com is a figural quilter extraordinaire, and she even has a new Craftsy.com class on how to break up your quilt with fun scribbly designs using your domestic machine.
For a super star of long arming, with her very own free motion quilting filler design named after her, check out the excellent and wacky Karen McTavish at her website: http://mctavishquilting.com
and she even opened a new quilt shop where she teaches and sells APQS long arm quilting machines.
Modern Quilting maven and free motion superstar Angela Walters can be found here: http://www.quiltingismytherapy.com/homepage-test/tutorials-and-free-patterns/
and she too is remodeling a retail spot where she'll sell long arm machines by Handi-Quilter and teach quilt retreats.
All three also have Facebook pages that help you see what they're up to...authors and quilters for hire by some of the industry's most famous fabric designers and show quilters, these ladies are inspirations in their outreach to spread the good word of quilting with everything they touch. You can find them all on YouTube as well, with lots of free tutorials and content to help you find your own unique voice.
For learning and shopping, another awesome and inspiring quilting celebrity who always has a warm smile and a hug in her voice is Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilt Company. She has loads of free tutorials for piecing quilts with pre-cuts in fast and furious designs, and has a quilt shop with several members of her family, as well as a great online store here: https://www.missouriquiltco.com Jenny also teaches a couple of classes on Crafsty.com, where you can learn blazing fast techniques to put together those adorable quilt tops to get quilting!
And speaking of www.Craftsy.com if you haven't checked it out yet, run don't walk to the website and look through their amazing selection of everything crafty to learn/cook/craft/do. Lifetime access and money back guarantee that you'll love your class and the platform which allows interactive learning. You can ask questions of the teacher and your classmates, post pics of your projects and get the help you need to learn a new skill, craft, technique. Love it!!
If those tips and places don't get you started finding lots to learn and do, and inspiration and motivation, I don't know what will.
Check them out when you have a minute,
and let's get quilting!!