Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Week #22 - Generational Quilting (backwards!)

Quilting is historically a skill passed down through the generations from mothers and grandmothers to their children.  In my family we like to do things backwards.  This week my sister and I are collaborating to teach our mother how to quilt/sew.  I’ll first give a little background how I got my start in sewing.

I first found myself behind a sewing machine when I was in the fourth grade.  My mom never learned to sew as she came from a family where her mother worked long hours. Mom decided to put both my sister and I in lessons since she considered it a good skill to have and always regretted not picking it up herself.  I still like to joke that she wanted to make sure I had a marketable skill in case college didn’t work out.  (I say that as a joke and I hope saying it here doesn’t offend anyone.  I like to get a reaction out of my mom as all children do.)  We made all sorts of clothing and modeled them in fashion shows at our school and entered them as 4-H projects.  I cannot even imagine how silly those fashion shows probably were.  Once I made MC Hammer pants.  That is not a joke!  Mom definitely allowed us to choose any project and fabric we desired helping to nurture our creative spirits.  I also recall a pale yellow sweat suit with a bunny ironed onto the shirt.  I’m sure I turned out quite a few interesting 1990’s outfits by the time I got to high school.  Toward the end of high school mom signed me up to learn how to make a quilt as my 4-H project.  Choosing the fabric for my garments was already my favorite part of sewing and introducing me to quilting is where I got my start in fabric hoarding.  That is a topic for another day.  I took a break from quilting during college, but picked it right back up once I was an adult with a typical 9-5 routine and no children.  Currently I am much like many other young-ish quilters trying to cram all our crafty dreams into nap times, early bedtimes and random days off work.

This week I spent two days at my parents’ house along with my two daughters and my sister.   We set up a machine/cutting/ironing station in their dining room and got to work on the lesson.  Mom has very limited sewing experience so my sister gave her a quick lesson on the machine and I chose a very simple looking project.  (I kid, I kid)  My sister had not paper pieced before (neither had I before last week) so she caught a lesson from me at the same time.  We used @lillyellasworld’s take wing mini pattern and chose a scrappy pink and blue palate with a black background.  This pattern is fantastic in all ways.  It yields a beautiful end product and will teach you how to paper piece if you’ve never done it previously.  I have always been intimidated by foundation paper piecing, but Nicole explains it so well I was off and running after reading it one time.  I definitely recommend checking out her IG feed and her two versions of the pattern.  She has a link to it in her bio if you’re interested.  By the end of our sewing session, my sister had taken over and she and mom were finishing up the bottom wings before I knew it without my input.  We did run into one hiccup with the background fabric and I graciously tackled the task of picking out all the stitches so we could switch colors.  I can never leave a mistake/bad choice alone!  Currently, as far as I know, we are at a standstill on our quilting lesson since I forgot to take any backing fabric for the project and I am now back home guarding my fabric stash diligently.  Mom wasn’t as interested in the process as much as she was in the finished product, so we will see if she continues to be interested in tackling projects on her own.  Hopefully some day soon she will get as invested in projects as my sister and I do.  I will post pics on my personal IG account when her butterfly is entirely finished.

Post by Elizabeth Knestrick - Week #22: 
I'm a thirty something wife and mother of two in the American Midwest. I'm a professional in the scientific/pharmaceutical field by day and a quilter/sewist any time I can squeeze it in. I've been sewing for 24 years. I enjoy trying new projects often without patterns. I love national parks, coffee, Anna Maria Horner and dark dark chocolate. @lizzymakes.

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