Friday, 27 April 2012

First Quilts Giveaway - winner no 2!

Beyond the quilt

Reflecting on where it all started, I have to go beyond the making of my first quilt as I need to find out where the passion for creating with and collecting of, fabrics began and so I allow my memories to wander right back to when I was a very little girl, almost sixty years ago!! But is that the starting point? No not for me. The influence was there from long before that. It is in the genes.

Both my grandmothers were involved with creating with fabrics. My maternal grandmother worked as a seamstress for of a big theatre company, assisting in the making costumes. My paternal stay-at-home Grandmother, mended and made clothes for the whole family. My Grandfather wore beautiful silk shirts with Chinese collars and long shirt tails, together with braces to hold the trousers up. When the collars of his shirts wore out my Gran would cut the tails off and replace them with a cheaper cotton
fabric and reuse the silk to mend the collars. My very fashionable aunt would bring home new bought outfits and my Gran would undo the seams and cut the pattern off in newspaper and then reassemble the garment to it's original form. Aunt would then have several new outfits made by Gran in the same design, I tried it once but never got round to sewing the original back together again.

When I was a little, we lived in Wankie, Southern Rhodesia.  There was little for the women to do and mother had great fun in sewing and making our clothes. For my seventh birthday she organized a lovely birthday party inviting all our friends and neighbour's. Many of the lovely gifts I received were pieces of fabric for Mom to make up into pretty outfits for my sister and I. I was absolutely delighted and that night I piled the fabric into my bed and fell asleep caressing the yards of beautiful fabric......and I believe that that is where it really started for me.I still love to stroke and caress fabrics.

While wandering round the huge fabric stores here in Asia which are filled with chiffons, silks, velvets etc. I have great pleasure in touching and stroking the bolts much to the puzzlement of the assistants. Imagine if fabric shops displayed signs saying DO NOT TOUCH!! What would I do?

My grandmother Alice soon recognised the passion we shared and gave me her hand Singer sewing machine which I still have and use when there is no electricity. Before long I was making dolly's clothes which progressed to making my own clothes. I took my faithful Singer to College with me where my friends and I spent many a Saturday afternoon making new outfits for going out, with one person guiding the fabric and the other turning the handle! Time moved on and dress making became a serious business and it was time to make my wedding dress and the dresses of my bridesmaids. The hand machine had by then progressed to a simple electric machine which was great as before too long I had three children to sew for.

Once the children were at school it was time to start having fun and to create. A local magazine had a picture of a patchwork cushion in it and I was desperate to try make this. I knew nothing about adding on a quarter inch seam and after much fudging and fiddling I eventually had a cushion cover. I recall it was black and yellow. Now to quilt it. I did not know what batting I went and bought a piece of FOAM RUBBER! And tried using that! needless to say that that cushion cover was a BIG UGLY!!
However, despite the disaster the bug had bitten and I was determined to continue with this journey. Lady luck was on my side and the Canadian wife of our local church minister was offering a course in patchwork and quilting! I couldn't wait. The course consisted of learning six different methods of doing patchwork and appliqué and we ended up with six beautiful cushions! I confess I still have some of them from twenty six years ago.

Soon I was able to join a little quilting group and Cushion making was banned and I was told it was time to make my first quilt!! I found a pattern for a "bears paw" quilt, purchased beautiful navy, maroon and cream fabric and I was off. Using machines were no, no's and everything had to be done by hand. Sewing all the little pieces together was so relaxing and pleasurable. Knowing no better I used a cream calico backing and quilted with black thread. Every stitch could be seen but it was done with such love and passion it did not matter. This single bed quilt was my FIRST quilt and it was beautiful.  My eldest son was the recipient of this lovely quilt and he too loved it. Unfortunately during his first year of teaching he lived in a hostel and left the quilt there during the holidays. When he went back for it, it was GONE. All I could hope for was that whoever took the quilt spent many hours sleeping comfortably under it and loved it as much as we did. After all quilts are blankets of love.

That was the beginning of my long and wonderful quilting journey.  Keep quilting, as your quilts are the stories of your life

Penny sent me so many beautiful pictures, but unfortunately some of them just would not load!!!


  1. I am so proud to be The winner of the challenge you set Erica. I love reading your blog and it inspired me to get going on mine!! Reading blogs inspires one and gives one a peep into another person's life!!

    Thank you so much.

    1. I am so glad you are enjoying my blog, I am loving yours, reading all about you amazing journeys!!!

      Take care


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