When I was 15, a good friend was moving away and I decided my friends and I should give her a quilt. But I didn’t know anything about quilts. Luckily my mom knows how to sew and was game for figuring out how to make this idea into reality. We all decorated muslin squares and my mom pieced it together, backed it with flannel, and bound it with binding tape. That was my introduction to quilting, and it made me want to make my own quilt. Knowing nothing about fabric, I started collecting it and sewing it together, sometimes using my mom’s machine and other times sewing it by hand. I remember taking the train home a college visit in high school and sewing some squares together. I had no idea what I was doing and I didn’t follow a pattern. But this was wonderful as it let me experiment with blocks, designs, and colors in ways I never would have otherwise. That quilt is pretty ugly, though there are sections I like and it remains in my room in my parent’s house. After that, I just kept going, making a nicer quilt the next summer — one that has traveled with me to college, abroad, and to all my residences since graduating. In college, I made a quilt for a math project and have just kept going from there. As I write this, I realize that my 2nd quilt represents the last quilt I’ve kept for myself; I’ve given away all the rest as gifts, but I’ve been stashing some fabric I’d really like to use in a quilt for me. My discovery of blogs and online fabric stores significantly affected my quilting, in a good way. Over the past few years, I think I’ve made significant strides in design, quilting methods, fabric choices, and simply thinking about and envisioning what I make.
I’ve always loved crafts but the increase in my quilting output parallels my return to graduate school. I’m in a PhD program and quilting gives me a fantastic outlet. Not only does it allow me to be creative and relax (or, admittedly, procrastinate), but it’s immensely satisfying and gratifying to literally make something and hold the tangible final product in my hands. And as someone who hates shopping (except for fabric), I love being able to give gifts that are not only personalized but that don’t require a trip to the store. Finally, quilting keeps me connected to other people. When I moved to attend grad school, friends prompted my excursion into blogging because they asked to see what I was making from afar. Blogging, in turn, has given me a new set of friends and contacts. It’s also opened opportunities to make and donate quilts to organizations I never would have otherwise known about, and my donation quilts are an important part of the quilting I do as they have allowed me to learn and experiment while giving to those in need.
Don’t worry about perfection or the “rules,” just make things! For example, I’m all about machine-binding because it’s practical, quicker, holds up well, and easier (for me). But it took me a while to figure out how to do it well; thus, I highly recommend making lots of small items on which to play with and practice binding — no matter whether you machine- or hand-bind your quilts. Another tip: I often use flannel as a batting. It crinkles up beautifully and creates a lovely mid-weight quilt. For the frugal quilters out there (which, by default, a grad student has to be), flannel is often cheaper than regular batting.
4. What was your inspiration for your Quilt Festival quilt?
5. Do you sew other things?
Wow! Thanks for sharing Ronnit – your quilts are beautiful and I really love your chuppah. And I would love to know what your PhD program is.
I hope you all have a great weekend! Joe and I celebrate 11 years of marriage today – he has a special date planned for us tonight!