Making A Quilt? Why?
What on earth are you doing? What's the point in cutting up perfectly good pieces of fabric into smaller pieces and sewing it back together? Why do you even want to do that?
Honest questions that I get asked all the time, mostly on holiday or on the train when I am desperately trying to grow my EPP project that should have been finished several months (read years) ago.
Questions that are usually followed by 'oooh I just wouldn't have the patience'. Historically quilting was far more utilitarian born out of a need to keep warm at night but with little resource and scare supplies, so any small piece of fabric that could be used, was added to another until larger pieces were made and then turned into quilts. Nowadays though for a lot of people, this isn't the case, blankets can be bought in all forms and fabric is available in abundance - so why do we quilt?
I've long been of the opinion that buying fabric and making anything out of it, in my case quilts, are two entirely separate hobbies, unfortunately my poor husband is still very much in denial about this - the fabric collecting is something I will have to tackle in another post, #tulapink is all I can say!
I thoroughly enjoy the whole process of selecting a quilt block or pattern based on who I'm making it for or why I'm making it, choosing fabrics and colours that bring the quilt to life and then there is the making process - watching as each little section gets bigger and starts to take shape, eventually becoming a completed quilt top.
I've made all sorts of quilts from lap size to king size, machine pieced, paper pieced (my fav!), group quilts, baby quilts, wedding quilts and everything in between. I'm also lucky enough to have made several custom quilts and commissions, something I am very proud of and continue to do.
There are lots of creative things I could do though, so why do I make quilts? It's simple really - to combat loneliness, by somehow feeling connected to like minded and other fabric loving people like me.
I moved to the UK when I was 13 years old, I left my friends, my culture, the sunshine and everything I'd ever known on the other side of the world in South Africa, a severe shock to the system is an understatement. I started school in September 1998 in Year 9 - another severe shock to the system, where I'm from it's quite common to go to Nursery then move to Primary School and then to Secondary School without the people in your class, however when I moved here I learnt that more often than not everyone goes to the same Nursery then to the same Primary School etc so by the time I joined in Year 9 at the age of 13, many had already been together for a very long time.
It wasn't that people were necessarily unfriendly but it was very apparent that they already had their friends and on top of that I was different, I spoke funny, I didn't know about the popular things or have the right sized waistline or celebrity crushes - PJ and Duncan could have been a takeaway place for all I knew, so it was both a daunting and lonely time.
My best friend lives on the other side of the world, she always has, thankfully we're both able to travel and use WhatsApp, Facebook etc now but it's not the same, she's my person and I miss her everyday. We speak all the time but I've always felt lonely so I guess I was looking for something that would help me notice her absence a little less.
I've long believed that any form of craft or doing something that makes you happy, is great for ones well-being and mental health and I think that this is even more important in today's society where so many people have forgotten how to simply be kind to each other.
I started my quilting journey by doing a beginners class where I met some fantastic ladies, a few of us went on to do a slightly more advanced course where we met a couple more and we are still firm friends, meeting once a month for our own stitch and bitch. We even have our own mini retreats where we rent a beautiful cottage somewhere in the country - usually in the vicinity of at least one quilting shop and have a 'sew in' for four days, we've had four so far, this year marks our 10th as a completely mad bunch of quilting friends.
These wonderful women who I am very proud to call my friends are so inspirational, I've learnt so much from them and continue to do so, they are supportive and encouraging and I honestly wouldn't be half the quilter I am today if it hadn't been for them.
So why do I quilt?
Because it feeds my soul, I love creating, I love learning and I enjoy spending time with like minded people, who despite what life might throw up enjoy making beautiful things to reflect their joy and colour.
So that's my story, that's why I love to quilt, if you'd like to share your story please do get in touch, I'd love to hear it!