Thursday, September 28, 2017

My Quilting History

Mary and Eleanor at the Temecula Outdoor Quilt Show in 2008.
It all started with Eleanor….Eleanor Burns that is. Happy 40th Anniversary El! Ten years later, I remember turning on my local San Diego PBS station one Saturday morning to find this crazy humorous lady teaching practical sewing skills for “quickly” making a quilt. I was mesmerized. l also discovered that she had a local quilt shop not too far from my location. I called and discovered they gave classes. I asked for a catalogue to be mailed to me. I was amazed by my choices. I decided to make Christmas gifts for my two nieces. I started with the Log Cabin during the summer of 1987…30 years ago for me.

My first class was a weekend class starting on a Friday afternoon and ending on a Sunday afternoon for 48 hours non-stop! Almost a “quilt in a day!”

I remember walking into the front door of the small fabric shop. The rest of the building was a huge warehouse area with long tables set up for sewing machines. I brought my mother’s Sears Kenmore machine. I also purchased my first cutting board, a ruler and a cutting tool that looked like a pizza cutter.

I bought my fabric. I also learned how to choose colors that worked well together and the different tones and patterns of the same colors. Eleanor was not the teacher, which was OK with me as I was sewing again since the late 60s in junior high school. 

Here are my color choices for The Log Cabin pasted on a page in the book so I could see how they all worked together.

The Log Cabin block

I was taught how to iron, fold and cut fabric in a new way that was quicker from my earlier experience. I also learned a faster way to sew the strips together. Wow!

The twin size top was completed by late Saturday night. I also learned a rare way putting the quilt together using her ‘birthing’ method rolling the quilt with the batting, a unique experience. Eleanor calls it her Quick Turn Method. The quilt was finished with the tying the layers together.

I had so much fun, I decided to make another quilt, yet more challenging…The May Basket. I signed up for another weekend class a few weeks later.

I found the receipts. Fabric was $4 to $5 A YARD! 

The May Basket block

Both quilts and matching pillow shams were completed by the fall. 

The twin size quilts were displayed on a full size bed for photo purposes only. They were not made for this bed.

My nieces, Lola and Sara, were so excited to receive homemade quilts from their Auntie Mary at Christmas. My brother knew about the packages and took these photos as the girls opened their gifts. 

My brother even sent me these pics of the girls faking their sleep in bed with their school clothes on one morning!

                                 Sleeping Beauties!

Now 30 years later, my nieces tell me that one quilt was loved “to death” and the other quilt was loved to preservation. I love both reasons. 

I did not sew again until 2000. A dear friend, who was a quilter also, took me on a quilt run, visiting all the local quilt shops in our area. I found Quilt In A Day again. The store had grown and I loved its new look. I have not stopped SINCE. I now have many more finished and unfinished projects to share.

I have had the opportunity to meet Eleanor several times at many quilt shows and guilds. 

Happy Anniversary and Thank you, Eleanor!

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