The Almost Daily Thread

musings from the blue chair

I sew because I am or is it I am because I sew?

on April 14, 2018

People find value in varying things. I personally find value in fabric and fabric scraps. Yes, guilty. I do save scraps. Not the really tiny ones even though I am self-diagnosed ADD. My need to waste as little as possible, recycle and reuse has supported me in myriad ways. And, yes, it can get a little out of control.
The first quilt I made – after years of protesting loudly and often, “I am NOT a quilter. If the instructions say cut 42 of these and 84 of those, I am not interested.” I fact, I am bored before the whole process begins. But, a strip quilt…she thinks, eyeing that basket of scraps too good to toss. No geometry. No math. Hummm. Folk art!
My mother and Aunt Mary taught me to sew. Oh, and Home Ec class. Mrs. Hoflich. I think of her grade cut threat every time I put a pin in my mouth. I’ve been sewing flat things, pillow cases, table cloths, curtains for a long, long time. The clothing I made was never comfortable and I never liked to hem or put in zippers. Clothing is not my forte.
With the discovery of collage wall hangings I get to collect more than fabric and notions. I’ve branched into found objects, jewelry, beads and on and on.
In addition, I’ve crafted bags of all shapes and sizes for all shapes and sizes of objects from crystals to bedding. The scrap piles grew. And guess what fits the reuse, recycle agenda? Quilts. During the wars women made crazy quilts out of scraps, clothing too worn to wear, linings of purses and even feed bags were designed to be reused as clothing or bedding.
So, I sewed a bunch of scraps together in strips and made my first quilt. It was quickly claimed by my oldest daughter. It’s not precisely rectangular but is warm and colorful. So then, a non-partial Libra mother can not possibly justify sibling imbalance. The second quilt was for my second daughter.
And as the grandchildren get older and gift giving opportunities cause a drought in my “present” ideas and as more and more fabric is being gifted to me, the light goes off. I’ll make them all a quilt. I’ve been making a homemade Christmas present for several years now including pillow cases and aprons. Why not a quilt for everyone’s birthday? After all, it’s my grandson’s 21st birthday. What else to get him besides a bottle of Maker’s Mark? Some of the fabric I am gifted has similar patterning so I expand into a block quilt fitting for a 21 year old male. And then there is a 16th birthday. Are you catching the pattern?
Ready to expand I do a t-shirt quilt from Life is Good shirts and a UK quilt and my brother is such an environmentalist and I love to applique, so I did squares with triangle trees and little rectangular trunks. He doesn’t know yet. It’s still at the quilter. His February birthday is long past, so don’t’ tell him! I’ll bake a cake and give him his gift when it gets back to me.
Then my writing companion asks me to make a quilt for her grandchild! I make it in 5 days. Back to the basics, a strip quilt out of yellow and gray.
Now, onto the fifth grandchild and…well, it certainly looks like a year of sewing for me!
I am because I sew. Or do I sew because I am? Or maybe I sew to keep my studio room from exploding! Keep that fabric and those embellishments coming.




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