The question I get asked most in this new quilting world, is simply “Do you sew?”, followed by a raised eye brow and a tilted head.
The answer I always give, which remains the truth is simply… “I do. But I am dreadful at it. But what I lack in talent… I make up for in enthusiasm.”
Giggles all round.
Joking aside. The first time I remember seeing a sewing machine and thinking I want to try that… I was around ten years old. My father was a general manager of a meat factory in South Africa. This meant four times a year he would need to go to board meetings and my sister and I would be farmed out to various people my mother knew so we never missed school.
One trip I was sent to stay with one family. The daughter was around five or six and she had this bright pink sewing machine. A tiny kids one. And I remember the machine stitching. I recall with glee how happy I was when the child left the room and I managed to sew two pieces of paper together. Yes. I know. The needle will blunt!!! But obviously a ten year old boy in the height of the putrid apartheid era… well let’s say he wasn’t getting a Bernina any time soon.
Roll forward, a degree, a career as an accountant, two car accidents that ruined my life in many ways, a disability, a marriage, and twenty six years and I got my first Janome. A John Lewis Janome exclusive £89 baby that truly did start the process of changing my life. And filling my home to the absolute maximum.
A dear friend Jo Jo got me a sewing class, to make a skirt of all things, for my 2013 Christmas present and I sewed my very first stitch in June 2014. Jo Jo sadly has never had her skirt. The UFOs are vast in my life. Start as you mean to go on really.
Soon after this sewing class I joined a group in Lewisham called “Number 57”. A shop that is run by Mary. I went to the first evening in May 2014 and started flicking through their quilting books and met some incredibly talented woman at that meeting. One lady in particular, Christina, still remains the person whose colour palettes are still something I drool over. Amanda, another talented lady, had made a quilt that was interactive. A draughts board with bean bags as pieces which was a game that was being donated to Project Linus.
After reading the books, and seeing the skill and talent I decided to go for it. And go big. Two weeks later… I have completed a quilt. It remains the most hideous quilt you can imagine. But. I still love it more than all the others.
Now come on. That FUGLY!!
My darling husband. Supportive to the end… and truly he is, said the most awful thing ever after this photo. He said “darling, should we perhaps get you some lessons on learning how to quilt before you waste any more fabric….”
Andrew will be buried in that quilt.
Lessons were the answer and I went back to Mary. I learnt the Log cabin as it was meant to be. I made a quilt and two cushions. These were vastly improved and even were granted entry into a little quilt exhibition at Number 57 on the 5th September 2014.
And that shows the little cushion with matching quilt I made. Much improved as you can tell.
So that is the beginning. The start. My first two quilts. And my first two cushions.
I remain very proud of these efforts. They are far from technically correct. They are not in anyway perfect. But they are perfect for me. And I truly loved my beginnings here.
We all have to start somewhere. And these are my humble beginnings.
Stay tuned for my next instalment.