Hi there! This week the 14th installment of the Blogger’s Quilt Festival begins – I’m really looking forward to seeing what you all have been working on, and being inspired by all of you! I have a special edition feature here today – Barbara from Cat Patches. Barbara has some fun quilts, and great encouragement for all of us! I hope you enjoy getting to know Barbara better —
1 – When did you begin quilting?
My first quilting class was in July of 2008. I always thought I would learn to quilt, but didn’t get around to learning until after I retired. When a class was offered at our local community college I bit. My first quilt was a nine patch and rail. When I finished the top, it sat for months while I decided on options for quilting. When it came back from a long-arm quilter and I was able to finish it up, I was thoroughly bitten by the quilting bug.
2 – Why do you quilt?
There are so many reasons why I quilt, it’s hard to know where to begin. My grandmother was a quilter, and it makes me feel closer to her. It also makes me feel like a part of something bigger…a long history of women who have quilted out of necessity, but also because they loved the challenge of perfecting their craft. I think mainly, I love that it gives me a way to share something tangible with others and to express my love and caring in a way that is uniquely my own. When things go wrong, or even when they go right, I can always make a quilt to join in the fun, or to figuratively wrap my comforting arms around them. Although my grandmother has been gone for decades, her quilts live on, and they remind me of her every time I look at them. I hope that someday when I’m gone, my children will hold onto my quilts and remember how much I loved them.
3 – What is your favorite quilting tip?
I was a featured quilter the first year I started blogging, and my favorite tip is still the same. It’s from an essay written by Teri Christopherson that was read to me on the first day of my first quilting class about trying too hard to achieve perfection. Teri’s essay is well worth reading in full, and I had permission from her to share it in full on my own blog. You can find the link right here.
In short, however, Teri said:
The more you quilt, the better you’ll get. If you get hung up on every imperfection, you’ll lose the joy in quilting and give it up. And then, ironically, you’ll never become a perfect quilter. Instead, I recommend my own fast and less than perfect method. Sew a lot and enjoy every minute. Then, by golly, one day you’ll make a perfect quilt without even realizing it, and then you’ll know that you weren’t just having fun all those years, you were actually perfecting your skills.
It would be difficult to count the number of pastimes I’ve ruined for myself for being too self-critical. Teri’s essay allowed me to settle into quilting, to have fun, and to learn without being overly burdened by critical voices in my head.
4 – What was your inspiration for your Quilt Festival quilt?
I submitted two quilts for the last quilt festival. The first was the quilt I call “Psycatedelic” (above) and it was, obviously, the cats! I am a cat lover through and through and a cat quilt will get to me every time.
My other quilt was “Colorful Colorado” (above). I made the quilt as a part of the “Let’s Book It” challenge from Vrooman’s Quilts blog. But I suppose the pattern appealed to me because of the many RV trips we’ve taken to Colorado, and my love of the beautiful Aspen trees, especially when their leaves change color in fall.
5 – Do you sew other things?
Not so much anymore. When I was younger, I made most of my own clothes out of necessity. When my kids were younger, I made their Halloween costumes. If my kids remember nothing else about when they were growing up, I hope they remember those great costumes! Then I gave up sewing for many years until I returned to making some bags just a few years before I took up quilting. It’s good to be back!
6 – Anything else you would like us to know about you?
I’m a retired social worker with two grown sons and a lovely daughter-in-law. My husband and I have been married 40 years and we enjoy traveling with our two cats in our fifth wheel trailer. In addition to quilting, I love photography, cooking, and gardening.
Thanks for sharing Barbara! I love the whimsy in your cat quilt – so much fun!
More soon – Amy