Cuttin’ it Up – Scisssor’s

One can never have enough tools – good tools, just ask any man about his shop, his man cave, his reloading room, his…well you get it; men and tools can be never ending nor will they ever have enough.  I happen to agree with men on this one.  Having good tools on hand to do your work can be critical to the outcome of your project.

Take something as minor as scissors – no really.  Scissors have a rich and long history in the world starting out as spring scissors during the Middle Ages, in Mesopotamia 3,000 – 4,000 years ago. These were larger, ‘spring scissor’ shear type and hard on your hands. In 1761 pivoted scissors were manufactured in large numbers being the first modern-day scissors and they have become even more specialized.

My daughter and family visited us a while back.  Aubri was working on her quilt in my studio while Rob corralled the little ones. Rob sat for a bit and looked, really looked at my tools (oh yeah – I have tools) and made some smart mouthed comment about all my scissors – why so many scissors? And they are all organized! I had to explain what I do with all these ‘tools’,  I use shears, snips, clippers, paper, leather, silk and cotton scissors for various projects – and now we quilters use an amazing tool – the rotary cutter and we have never looked back. The first rotary cutter was introduced by the Olfa Company in 1979 for garment making and quilters quickly adapted to it. It’s a time saver and allows us to cut fast and accurate.

After I explained all this to my son-in-law, Rob, he just sat there, quiet… and shook his head slowly.  I really thought I lost him until a few weeks later Aubri sent a picture of Rob buying several pairs of scissors to begin his collection.

I love my family…..

Cuttin’ it Up: Galloping Horses

Galloping Horses

I have been teaching quilting and sewing classes for over 30 years, teaching is both inspirational for me and a learning experience. Throughout my life I have never met someone – anyone – that I haven’t learned something from. While on my walk about in my early 20’s I meet so many wonderful people, some interesting and some scary and after 5 years living everywhere I came home. I learned about life and about myself from everyone I met.  Quilting is no different.  People used to think (myself included) of quilting as something older ladies sit around and do together…Oh no – not anymore! Quilting is a wonderful art form as useful as it is beautiful.

When I first started teaching new quilters I had one student, (don’t we all have that one?), Laurie, who just couldn’t get the concept of ¼ inch seams, she didn’t grasp it, couldn’t grasp it, and didn’t seem to want to understand that if you aren’t exactly ¼” on your seams then you could be off square by ½” to 1 ½” depending on the size of your project.  I had her rip out her seams, I would rip out her seams – over and over until our eyes crossed.  We were close to finishing the class as I approached her to see how she was doing and her quilt was pathetically out of square, corners didn’t match, seams weren’t connecting…I looked at her, she looked at me and jumped up holding her quilt towards me making her quilt wave up and down exclaiming in a very frustrated voice “On a galloping horse it don’t matter”!

At that moment all I could do was belly laugh and realized how we are all so unique, our sense of perfection is unique and our methods are unique.  It changed my teaching experience and attitude completely. She added to my life experience something I will never forget:  Life isn’t perfect, just a perfect mess for some and perfect beauty for others.

Thank you Laurie, for teaching me.

Cuttin It Up: Why Do We Quilt?

Why Do We Quilt?

Why do we quilt…. Quilting has been with us since we first discovered the needle. From the Latin word for ‘A Stuffed Back’ came ‘Culcita’, from there to the French word ‘Cuilte’ and eventually to the English word ‘Quilt’.  Quilt – the stitching together of layers dates back as far as 3400 BCE.  In Europe, quilting was introduced by Crusaders in the 12th century as a quilted garment that was worn under armour. One of the earliest recorded decorative works was the Tristan Quilt, made about 1360 in Sicily, as well a piece found in a Mongolian cave, dated to between 100 BCE and 200 CE.

The pilgrims brought quilting with them not only for practical warmth and a way to re-use clothes that had worn out but also for the beautiful art.  They used quilts for trading and incorporated the native designs with quilting from their own history which took on a new life and flourished.

Fast forward…. Today quilting has taken on an entirely new form, from the traditional to the very modern, the fabrics are so vibrant and beautiful they explode our senses. We use machines and tools that are awesome!  To some it is an addiction, but I have it on good authority that quilting cannot be an addiction…so I am safe – for now.

Increasingly we see more men quilting as this steadily transforms to an art form, here in Grant County we have wonderful examples from local artisans – cultural works that are outstanding in beauty, creativity and healing…Healing? Absolutely – the love that goes into a quilt helps to heal a sick child, a wounded warrior, a veteran. It blesses newlyweds, comforts the elderly, it stands as a reminder and testament of where we came from and how much we are loved.

Quilting has so much to offer, the creativity and a way of binding friendships are limitless. Quilts are like friends – a great source of comfort, after all a sewing machine is cheaper than a psychiatrist.

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