Monday, April 3, 2017

Week 14: My Introduction

Hello, I'm Chloe and I am your 52 Quilters host this week. I can't remember how I stumbled across the Instagram account in January 2016 but I'm glad I did as I have been an avid follower since. Last year I loved seeing the variety of skills, personalities, new types of quilting, stitching and being introduced to new patterns, fabric and techniques. I especially love that anyone and everyone is welcome, professionals and hobbyists. As a result of 52 Quilters, I took an international class online with Shannon Brinkley which was brilliant. Another host opened my eyes to the La Passacaglia pattern and I immediately knew I wanted to try that as a long term hand piecing project. During my visit to the Festival of Quilts last August I went to see her La Pass entered into the show (like a real groupie!) and also spent my birthday money on the book and templates to get started.

Well, I'm certainly in the hobbyist category of quilters. In 2010 I enrolled in a dressmaking course at a local college for evenings classes, with the aim to be able to have a go at altering clothes for myself. At the last minute the course changed to home furnishings due to a teacher change, but that was fine with me too. At the time my now husband and a I were self building our home and knowing that there were a lot of Windows in it, I thought curtain making skills would be useful. The teacher had a quilting interest and background so taught us the basics of cutting and measuring and piecing seams using quilt techniques.

My first patchwork make was a pair of tiny half log cabin cushions, and that was me hooked. By the end of the 8 week course I had started my first quilt for a friend's toddler, I made so many mistakes, such as cutting the blocks and then prewashing them (shrinkage lesson learned!) and I had absolutely no idea how to bind the quilt, so sort of folded some fabric and just stitched it through! It was well received and loved though!

My next project was to tackle actual pattern blocks, and I did so with pinwheels and flying geese, for a lap quilt for my Grandad. As it was an 80th birthday present, I had it long arm quilted at The Quilter's Trading post (we shall be taking a little trip to see them this week). A couple of years later I also made a large applique lap quilt for my Grandma's 80th.

So since then I have been non stop quilting. I discovered a love for applique by hand and often incorporate some applique into a quilt. Being in my 20s and now 30s, many friends started to have babies so baby quilts became my "thing" to make and gift for them. I prefer to design my own quilt, occasionally I will use a pattern or adapt one, but I'm very much a "wing it and see" quilter. Sometimes this trips me up, there have been many occasions where I have dived in to something and then had to adjust my plan/fabric/design. Not being able to draw well, I tend to make the roughest sketches ever, usually in the back of an envelope. Maths is also not my strong point, but luckily I am married to a cabinet maker and he is the King of precise measurements and maths and angles so is always on hand to help or check my maths. The only thing he hates is that I use inches rather than metric. The quilts always come out OK in the end, I have not yet had to abandon one (that's not to say I don't have UFO's though!)

A little personal history about me. I'm 32, married with a 3 year old son and 37 weeks pregnant. I work as a social worker in a hospital, with adults who have had strokes or brain injuries and also adults who lack capacity to consent to their care and treatment. I have officially started maternity leave today and will be off for a year. We have self built a house which is an ongoing work in progress. We moved into half of it when my son was 17 days old, so we had bedrooms and a bathroom and used a bedroom as a lounge/diner for 3 years, with a temporary kitchen in the utility downstairs. No doors, skirting boards or painted walls! This weekend was very exciting as we finally moved into the downstairs, still lacking doors and skirting boards and floor in one room, but the difference is amazing! No more carrying food upstairs, so much space and light downstairs, a playroom for all of our son's toys and maybe most importantly, a CRAFT room for me! More on that later in the week. Clearly we like a baby arrival deadline to motivate us! Quilting is my only hobby, with occasional upcycling of furniture and actual cycling on a bike for exercise too.

The next blog will explore my quilting interest in more depth, what motivates and inspires me and what I hope to learn and achieve in the future.

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