Why I Quilt

I truly loved reading all the reasons about why you all started quilting!!

Have you ever heard the story about when and how I learned to quilt?  If you’ve heard it already (or if you don’t care), just skip down past this part.

In 1980 I lived in Westlake and worked in Lake Charles.  Dividing Westlake and Lake Charles is a big enough river with a very tall bridge.

That is one big, scary bridge!  But, I wasn’t scared back then so I crossed it every morning and every afternoon.  And sometimes I went back to Lake Charles at night so I crossed it twice again!

The bridge had nothing to do with my quilting except . . I had 1-1/2 hours for lunch and it took me about 25 minutes to get home so going home and going back to work really wasn’t an option.  I could bring my lunch, which I mostly did, but I also would go out shopping . . I had time to kill and money to spend!  🙂  Those were the days, huh?

One day I happened in this little quilt shop, The Calico Patch.  The ladies in there were so nice!  I went back every day for I don’t know how many weeks.  Everything was done by hand — marking the fabric, cutting the fabric, piecing, quilting!  They were offering a Beginner I class and then later a Beginner II class.  You were supposed to take I, then take II but I talked them into letting me take both — I was maybe on  Tuesday and II was maybe on Thursday so in my mind, there was no reason why I couldn’t take them both at the same time.

Here’s my first quilt — the one I made in those two classes.

How 80’s is that?  The full truth is . . I pieced it all by hand, borders and all.  Then I took a hand quilting class and I started hand quilting it.  It’s maybe 1981 by now.  We moved to TX in 1989 and I finally paid someone there to finish hand quilting it for me and sometime around 2000, I finally put the binding on it.  But, there have surely been a lot of quilts made between that one and now!

OK . . that’s how I got started but here’s my answer to why do you quilt? Because I have to be doing something all the time.  I cannot sit still ever!  I cannot garden all year because of winter and then it gets too hot.  I cannot cook all the time because we’d be bigger than we are now.  I cannot knit all the time because my wrists would hurt.  I cannot paint because I never clean up my messes and everything would ruin when I walk away and leave it.  (Actually, I cannot paint anyway because . . I’m not very artistic like that at all!).  And, probably the main reasons that keep me quilting are (1) there are so many designs still out there that I want to make and (2) giving quilts as a gift makes me feel like I’ve given something to someone that they will keep and cherish forever.  I know not everyone will love what I give them (I wonder what happened to the photo quilt I gave  my ex 15 years ago!), but for those who do love their quilts, that keeps me wanting to make and give more.

How’s that for an answer?  Seriously, I love every aspect of quilting — designing, choosing colors, sewing, quilting, I don’t even mind the binding but I’m so ready to get to another project, the binding too often doesn’t get finished too quickly.  I can’t imagine what life would be like without quilting and . . all of you, my quilting friends!


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    I can’t just sit, either……..even when watching TV….I either sew or read. (Hubby cannot understand that……..can’t figure out how I can still follow what is on TV while I read or sew, but I can!) I like your first quilt….what a lot of work to do by hand. By the time I began quilting, rotary cutters and all kinds of tools were in existence, so I never worked with templates and marking everything by hand and sewing by hand. What fun to share these stories….and, like you, I love the people I have “met” through the quilting blogs!

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    Sandy Gail (Sandra Neel Hutchins) says

    Thank you for sharing your quilting story. We’re all looking forward to many gardening tips and stories all summer. Hang on to that first quilt, it is still lovely.

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    Denise ~ justquiltin says

    Yes the mauves and blues help date that quilt – I recall one I did in those colors in the same era. LOL I too have to be “doing” something – if I’m not then call the doctor I must be very sick. I started knitting socks because how many hand appliqued heart blocks does one person really need. Those were my fall back blocks if I had no other specific project to work on while watching tv at night. There are literally hundreds of heart blocks in my sewing room all done and waiting to be made into quilts.

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    That IS one big scary bridge!

    I learned it all by hand too. Making cardboard templates (multiples so when one got out of shape, I could switch to a new one) It was fun, but…way too much stuff I want to do/try. Now most everything is rotary/machine.

    Probably 80% of what I make goes to various charity organizations. I know the quilts will be used and maybe, just maybe, loved. My family has been innudated with quilts…they really don’t need more. I’m finally making quilts that I can keep for ME!

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    Deb says

    Those are good reasons! I agreee with everyone’s comments. There are SO many reasons….
    Speaking of bridges, we went over one that had a train above, and the road below, Which I thought was weird, but thought of you, and how much you would REALLY dislike THAT bridge! and it wasnt very wide…I think it was in Wisc., or it might have been Ill., since that was our destination, and after traveling for 8+ hours, it all melds together….
    I took a pic when we were ON the bridge, but not before, it came on me too soon. So, we think of you all the time too. Whether it be chickens, cows, gardens or bridges. and maybe quilts….

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    Judy, your first quilt does look SO 80’s. That’s around the time I started quilting too, and we did learn using scissors and plastic templates (actually the teacher brought in old x-ray film for us to use). I quilt because I love to. I am not an artist, nor do I have a creative bone in my body. But I can copy a pattern and make a quilt. Which gives me a creative outlet. I find it difficult to finish my quilts so I have a lot of UFO’s. I enjoy the challenge of cutting out and making a new top. One of these days I hope to get them all quilted. My favorite quilt quote –

    “I never get tired of looking at my fabric. It’s like looking at a beautiful garden that never goes to seed.”


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    for me quilting is peaceful. I can sew and sew with no thought but what I am doing at the time and what do I have to do next. I discovered this when my family made a quilt for my Mom and Dad’s 40th ann. They got it on their 45th cause nothing gets done on time when you have to wait for 7 more blocks to come in and the boy’s [4] didn’t all have wives to help them out.. everyone finally made a block and I put the rest of the quilt together.. when it was done I became aware that it was the most content I had felt in a long time. I was hooked I wanted that feeling again..

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    Peggy says

    I agree with all you said, can’t sit still, can’t knit long or crochet. Used to cross stitch but those got so small couldn’t see them. I even read or stitch in car when traveling. Seems like a waste of time to sit and do nothing.
    I love all your quilts and look forward to having you at our guild one of these days. Keep up the beautiful work.
    I would love to learn to knit socks. Think theres a chance. Don’t have a clue where to start.

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    Sherry says

    Yes, that is one scary bridge – Last month we traveled from Southern California to Florida, with a truck and fifth-wheel trailer. I will never forget what if felt like going up it!

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    Cindy B says

    That is one horrible bridge to have to cross! I would not want to drive over that at all. I don’t give flat bridges a thought but this looks like a roller coaster ride! No wonder you don’t like bridges, I would be a basket case if I had to drive over that.

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    You’re not kidding that bridge is scarry. Anytime I have driven over it, my knuckles are completely white by the time I get across it. I completely hand pieced and hand quilted my very first quilt, too. 😉

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    Jessica says

    I stumbled on your blog via pinterest (link for handcream) and clicked on the photo of the infamous I10 bridge. I am fron Lake Charles and glad to know you got your start in our wonderful city. I am looking for a place to take quilting classes. Thanks for sharing!