Friday, July 28, 2006

I don't really think I was a tomboy, but I sure didn't want to be associated with anything that felt girl-y when I was growing up. My girlhood bedroom was furnished with white French provencial furniture including a canopy bed decked out in pink dotted Swiss with lace and ruffles. Blech. I just hated it. My mom so wanted me to be lady-like and I just didn't have it in me.

While I was willing to sit still long enough for my grandma to teach me some simple embroidery stitches and to do cross-stitch on gingham check, I did not want to learn to sew on a machine. Everything my grandma and mom made for me in the way of clothes involved way too many ruffles for my taste. I avoided Home Economics classes in school like they would give me the plague. This is a picture of some of my very early work, a potholder embroidered during a summer visit to Grandma's.

I should have at least tried to show some interest when it came to learning to sew on a sewing machine, but I didn't. I inherited my mom's Singer "portable" machine (that thing weighed a ton.) I didn't really want to sew on it, but Mom made my Halloween costumes and even my wedding dress on that machine. I couldn't just let it go to the junk heap.

Then one day my inner-homemaker came alive and I decided that I wanted to make a quilt. I got out that sewing machine and was completely baffled by it. My husband studied the manual, declared the sewing machine an engineering marvel, showed me how to fill a bobbin and to thread the machine. I was on my way. I bought a rotary cutter, mat and ruler. I went to a quilt store and was overwhelmed by the bolts of fabric. I found what I later learned to be the fat quarter bin and made my selections. I chose a pattern that seemed like something I could accomplish and came on home.

I cut up that fabric but it sure wasn't straight. I stitched it back together again, all the while having no idea what a 1/4" seam allowance meant. I got the strongest fusible I could find to keep my applique pieces in place while I buttonhole stitched them down. (As you might guess, I thought employing the use of a thimble would signify a weak constitution and avoided it's use for a good long time.) I got nice, puffy polyester batting, turned the quilt inside out envelope style, put the quilt nice and tight like a drum in my largest embroidery hoop and hand quilted the whole affair using the stab stitch method. The picture doesn't look too bad. An in-person viewing would make you think something like, "Bless her heart, she sure tried hard."

It was a long way from that quilt to ordering a book on making feathered stars. At least we know no matter how that star turns out, I won't give up. I'll just make something else.


Jeanne said...

I used to do "stitching" many decades ago as a little girl .. a first taste of needlework.

Smiling at the "bless her heart, she tried!

Keep cool~
Jeanne :)

Cynthia said...

Hi, i have just come across your blog. I have also decided to have a go at blogging and have been for two weeks. I'm enjoying it so far.

Tracey said...

Oh can I relate to this post. Knowing me 20 years ago, NO ONE would have guessed that I'd be a quilt junkie. :o) times a-change. But, in my own defense, I still do go out and make a mud pie or two...and rather enjoy getting muddy. Still no frills or ruffles for this girl!

Welcome to blogland!! :oD

Finn said...

Hi Libby, wonderful post and one that I certainly can identify with!! I was a tomboy also. My mom or grandma faithfully braided my long blong hair each morning and I'd come back later in the day with it all undone and blowing in the wind. How I love the wind in my hair..but, oh I hated the tangles and snarles as they got brushed out. And none too gently either.
I didn't want to sew, was forced into home ec in jr. high for 9 weeks each section. Who would have thought years later, I'd want a sewing machine and go on with sewing and quilting?? I think your first quilt is lovely!!! You not only tried, you did the best that you knew how to do..and that's saying ALOT!! Hugs, Finn

Screen Door said...

I love guys that have interest enough to tinker with sewing machines...Only REAL Machine help girls with sewing machines.

Thanks for the comments.. I'm enjoying your blog.

Keep sewing...