I’ve always loved quilts my whole life. In grade school I taught myself how to make cross-stitch and embroidery needlepoint patterns. I never attempted a quilt until just after high school. So I bought three different fabrics in white & navy blue print. Proceeded to measure and cut into 3 x 3 inch squares and sewed together into a top about 3 x 4 feet. This of course was having no clue what I was doing. There wasn’t INTERNET back then! *GASP* !! So I made the same pattern for the back, sewed 3 sides together, turned it inside out and then stuffed it lightly with batting ~~ the kind used for dolls, etc. I didnt know there were rolls of sheets of thin batting made for quilting! Cuz you need to be able to sew and pull the thread thru both pieces of fabric and thru the batting. I patted it as smooth as I could and sewed up the end. Then used a long thick needle to sew doubled thread, thru each corner where all the squares met. Then it was called done. I proudly gave it to my dogs to lay on. And yes, with the bodies taking turns laying on all the time, their weight flattened the polyester down a bit. Now more than 30 years and at about 15 dogs later,, I still have that quilt now in one of the dogs’ favorite lounging crates!
It wasn’t for a few years before I started buying magazines etc to learn more. I tried a few times, but I am what I call “ruler retarded”. When making traditional quilts with patterns, all pieces must be measured and cut just so !! even an eighth of an inch off one piece can throw a pattern off a little. So I used to just cut and sew by eye, and loved to sew beads and buttons on, etc. Years later a craze came out called ART QUILTS. Well, lookit this! This is what I had been doing on my own!!! With art quilts, you can make them very small or large enough to cover a big wall. There are no rules ~~ you make it by personal preference with colors, beads, buttons, fancy threads, lace etc.
The photo above, I named AMERICANA. It was the first ever art quilt I did, during a period when I was in a bad marriage. I would take my fabric, thread and doo-dads out back to sit in the shade with my dogs and work; my getting away from shit and spending quiet time with my Goldens. AMERICANA is about 7 x 10 inches. Heart and star buttons adorn the sides and the red stripes are thousands of red seed beads hand sewn on three at a time. (What I don’t like about one method I used was attempting to use my sewing machine to embroider the wording, if done by hand I think I would’ve liked it better. But any craft is live and learn! ) There are also those tiny beads within the heart shape. The back fabric is that tan trim fabric around the edges with red and blue stars. I was very proud of that little wall quilt. I’ve had people over the years offer to buy it, but it meant more to me than $$$. I just happened to pick that fabric in a store because it appealed to me as a theme. After all these years, it stands for my many memories, good and bad, of four years in an abusive marriage.
Discovering my love for the comforting process of handwork in art quilts, has saved my soul at times. This little flag that just happened to be born in a time of physical and emotional pain, became my symbol of personal freedom. May we all find our own “flags of hope or survival” in our journey……….
former fbi, writer, breed show dogs, I have a very busy life of go go go. Yet also have many days of spinning in circles and getting nothing done. I call those my down days of relaxing. I travel a lot in motorhome on business and with dogs.
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