Today’s featured quilter is Lesly from Pickle Dish! Her quilts are a lot of fun, enjoy ::
1. When did you begin quilting?
I began quilting in the late 80s. I had been married a few years and was about to start graduate school. The Toronto school board had many interesting continuing education programs, and I thought that quilting sounded interesting. I went into it thinking that quilting was all hand work, but when I found out you could use this new thing called a rotary cutter and do all your piecing and quilting on the machine, I was sold! I bought the cheapest sewing machine I could find and wrestled a few bed-sized quilts through it. The poor thing. FMQ was a painful experience for us both, but I kept at it. When my daughter was born in 1993, I pretty much went on a quilting hiatus as I was also trying to finish my doctoral studies and start my career. Nearly three years ago, my mother passed suddenly from a stroke. She had always been a garment sewer, and only took up quilting in the last five years of her life. When I went home for the funeral, I found one of her quilt tops that she had just finished piecing. I took it back to Canada with me and hung onto it for a year before I could face quilting it, which I did on the anniversary of her passing. It was a very healing experience and helped me feel at peace with the loss of my mother. I entered that quilt in the 2009 Fall Blogger’s Quilt Festival. But that was definitely the end of my hiatus, and I have been quilting like a fiend ever since.
2. Why do you quilt?
I enjoy quilting because it is a creative opportunity for me that is vastly different from the work I do as a professor and researcher (my area is reading development). I didn’t realize how much I missed having a creative outlet until I started quilting again. I like quilting in particular because it is a connection to generations of women who have come before. The women in my family have always been needlewomen. My mother and grandmother were primarily garment sewers, but my great-aunt was a fabulous quilter. I still have a string quilt that she made in the 30s that looks very contemporary. I also quilt because it is a craft in which I can constantly push my skill level and I find it very satisfying to learn new techniques and to keep improving my work. Finally, I quilt because it is meaningful for me to create tangible items that provide warmth and comfort and that I know will outlast my days.
3. What is your favourite quilting tip?
Hmmm… One thing that I learned to do in the last couple of years is to sew the binding on before trimming off the excess batting and backing fabric. I find this makes it easier to control the quilt while stitching down the binding, since the weight of the quilt can sometimes make it pull to the left. Once it is stitched down, I have a bit of leeway about how close to the stitching I trim the excess; this can make a difference to how fat the binding feels once it is folded over and stitched onto the back.
4. What was your inspiration for your Quilt Festival quilt?
I was in an online sewing bee in 2010, and I wanted to choose a block that would allow the bee members to have some fun and be creative, but that would still allow a coherent look to the finished quilt. This quilt uses a traditional block called Granny’s Flower Garden. I asked my friends to make monochromatic blocks that kept the overall look of the pattern, but they were free to have a party in how they did that. The fabric I gave them for that teal centre square came from my stash from the 80s! I think they did an awesome job! The background fabric is a cotton-linen blend, and I did some semi-successful flower motifs for the quilting. Since my month in the bee was March, I named the quilt Miss March. A big shout out to all my friends in the Modern Tradition Quilt Bee for all their hard work!
5. Do you sew other things?
I used to sew a lot of my own clothes, but don’t really do that any more. I recently came across the photo from my high school prom and remembered that I made my dress out of a sea-green jersey. I do all kinds of needlework. I am teaching myself crochet, but am far from proficient. Little zipper pouches could be my next addiction; they are so cute and so fast!
6. Anything else you would like us to know about you?
I ride a yellow Vespa motorscooter all around town, which makes me the envy of all my friends. I hate flying. I was born and raised in East Tennessee, but have lived in Canada since the early 1980s. In April, my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Our daughter is graduating high school this month and going off to McGill University; we will be reluctant empty-nesters, if you don’t count our two golden retrievers. And I am a fiend for Words With Friends – if you want to play with me, I am “stitchliterate”!
Thanks for sharing Lesly! I’ve not trimmed a couple quilts, until after attaching the binding – keeps the binding nice and full to trim based on the stitching line too. And zip pouches are so fun – at least you will be organized!
Have a great weekend –
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