I wanted to learn how to quilt for a very long time, but like a lot of things we want to do, we do not always find the opportunity to accomplish them. When we uprooted our city lives for a stab at a something simpler, I suddenly found myself with oodles of time on my hands needing a means to occupy the void formerly filled with friends, yoga classes and commuting. It dawned on me, now is the perfect time to learn how to quilt.
The small town I live in has it pretty hard, economically speaking, but it does manage to have viable local coffee shops, a brewery and a quilt shop. One step inside the door of the shop and I knew this would be my perfect opportunity to learn how to quilt. The fabrics are intriguing and well-curated, the displays are inspiring and warmth emanates from the owner. So, I signed up for a beginner’s class and away I went on my quilting journey.
It’s funny how we perceive something before we experience it. As a knitter, I had this notion that quilting was going to somehow be less time-consuming and that I’d be cranking out baby blankets at a good clip. Holy cow, was I deluded, and that is not a bad thing. Remember, I need something to occupy my time (and my mind), and a few projects later, I realize that the time investment of quilting yields incredible results. Thus, I began my quilting process. Out of all the fabrics in the store, I selected a bold (see picture below) fabric of lime green and brown snow peas, mixed with gingham. And the backing is all chicken wire. The fabrics are an homage to two of my favorite things: vegetables and our chickens. In class we learned that quilting involves fractions (thank goodness for my review of 6th grade math last year!), time and patience. It was really a remarkable process to watch squares become bigger squares, until lo and behold a blanket emerged. In the class setting, it was also wonderful to see all of the creativity in fabric choices among the group; we learned to use what you love and it will turn out beautiful. There are no set rules and everyone can do really amazing things.
After I finished my quilt top, I decided that in the spirit of learning, I should also learn how to hand quilt the top, too. A couple of You Tube videos and lessons from hand quilters later, I had myriad thimbles to test out and a lot of work ahead of me. I used a very basic utility stitch and just stitched in the ditches of my pieces — a very simple technique that still required some skill to finish. Hand quilting took time and patience, but it was a worthwhile endeavor. I feel very connected to the quilt because of the time spent on the top. And there is a true vintage flair to the quilt because of the simple, obviously handmade, top.
Now that the pea quilt is finished, I admit to being quite smitten with it. It is my go-to cuddle blanket in sickness and in health, in relaxation and in comfort. It really is my sweet pea blanket that I hope will be around as long as my sentiment lasts. I will forever cherish my first one.