1. When did you begin to quilt?
I took my first official quilting class in 1980. That was pre-rotary cutter days, when there was very, very little quilting fabric to choose from. One of our first projects to learn on was a log cabin block made entirely by hand by creating templates from cereal boxes and tracing around the shapes. We also hand quilted everything we made including an appliqued wallhanging framed inside an embroidery hoop. (I see that has become popular again!) I didn’t “decide” to become a quilter, though, until the 1990’s when my children were a little older and I moved to Kansas City. I thought joining a quilt guild would help give me a chance to make some new friends , and I was right! Quilters are the friendliest people, don’t you think?
2. Why do you quilt?
I have enjoyed crafts and making things since childhood. Fabric is, and has been, a passion of mine. When I was dating my husband in college, he was always telling people that he had never been in a fabric store in his life until he met me, and now he had been in every shop in the state! I have a degree in home economics education and sewing was my favorite part of that training. I love the creativity involved in quilting, but sewing along side other quilters is one of my favorite things to do. I love to give gifts and giving a quilt feels like I’m truly giving someone part of myself. Quilting has become a voice for me and an extension of who I am. I can’t imagine my life without it.
3. What is your favorite quilting tip?
One thing that I always do when I am sewing blocks (and other things, usually) is to use leaders and enders for assembly line quilting. I like to tell people that I am always making two quilts at once, because my leaders and enders are pre-planned scrappy squares (usually 2″ or 2.5″) that I sew together in pairs and then fours etc. to be used in making another quilt, often a charity quilt. I call them “Free Quilts” and make several extra lap size quilts every year this way. I just finished making the blocks for a twin size postage stamp quilt using 2 inch squares. It took an entire year, but without this technique I would never have made them at all! For details on leaders and enders, you can read my post on Free Quilts.
4. What was your inspiration for your Quilt Festival quilt?
One day, I got an idea for a quilt block using charm squares that resembled a bead. I’d been thinking of submitting an idea to Moda Bake Shop for a while and thought that my idea might be just the thing for such a project. Using some Amy Butler Love charm squares that I had won on a blog give away, the Love Beads table runner soon took shape as a prototype for the Moda Bake Shop quilt, Love Beads. The shape of the block and the name of the Amy Butler fabric line came together for the name of the quilt pattern!
5. Do you sew other things?
I began making my own clothes around 6th grade. I even made my own prom formal in home ec. class in high school! When my children were young, I made most of my daughter’s dresses and outfits. Smocking was a favorite past time. At one time, I even had a sewing business called “A Merry Heart” creating clothing that I sold through my home and at festivals. I got really tired of that after a few years and pretty much stopped sewing clothes completely. Now that I have four small grand daughters, I enjoy making little dresses and other things for them in between the quilts!
6. Anything else you would like us to know about you?
About a year and a half ago, I learned about an orphanage in Rwanda where the children live in a home- like setting of 10 children with several widows (aunties) who look after them. They have their own bed and only a few possessions, attend school, learn that God loves them and are well cared for until they are 18 years old and will live on their own. Currently, there are 3 houses with 10 children each and another is being built. It was laid on my heart to start an effort to gift each child with a quilt that they could call their own and give them comfort. They would know that some one across the ocean, in America, cared enough for them to make this quilt especially for them. A small group of quilters (we call ourselves Quilters4Hope) was able to make and send 30 lap size quilts to Rwanda last summer and 5 more are being sent this week. This effort is a passion of my heart and I am certain that it is something I have been called to do with my love of quilting.
Wow, Thanks for sharing Carla! I love your quilts and your tip is a great one! Now to just plan ahead enough to start!
I hope you all have a great weekend –