Sew, Tear Quilting – Times News Online

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Published on April 02, 2022 at 08:10

A good day is a day spent quilting.

This winter I decided to try something that I always wanted to do but never thought I could learn.

I took a local six-week quilting course.

Now I have been sewing since I was 9 years old. I had joined the Busy Beavers 4-H Club in rural South Dakota. I was so excited to be about to pick one of our Holstein calves, teach him to lead by the halter, brush and wash him and generally tame him so that he’s ready to show off at local success days that summer.

A few weeks ago, my mom asked me what I was planning to do for my 4-H sewing project. Sewing? I didn’t want to sew. I wanted to be outside and spend time with my heifer. That’s when my mother sat me down and taught me how to sew. She was an excellent seamstress, so I had a lot to learn. I probably reluctantly sewed a potholder or apron that year for display.

Looking back, I thank my mother for teaching me to sew. I have put my machine or should say machines to work and have sewn many, many projects over the past 60 years. Sewing is relaxing and a wonderful way to put my creativity to work.

But learning to quilting was a different color horse for me. Quilting is the sewing together of three or more layers of fabric. Fleece or the like is used between two or more layers of cotton material. This includes machine stitching and some hand stitching. Projects range in size from king-size bed quilts to small wall hangings.

I was excited to start weekly classes, but secretly hoped that the old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” wouldn’t apply to me.

First, we had to choose the fabric for our project. OK, that sounds easy, right? Wrong. The more colored fabric bolts I saw, the more confused I became. Black is my favorite color and because I wear mostly black, my daughter always says, “Mom, I think you’re afraid of colors. Well, I was definitely starting to sweat watching all the material. Don’t worry, my instructor helped pick out all the fabric and made this job easy.

I had to learn how to cut materials with a rotary cutter. The blade of one of them is as sharp as a razor. I cut a fingernail or two before I understood.

The cut must be made with precision. So the old adage measure twice and cut once became my motto. I took a big refresher course on how to read a ruler again. Yes, there are small 1/8 measurements on the rulers.

Quilters have a whole jargon of their own. Jelly rolls, layer cakes, charm packs, fat eighths, honey rolls, HST, RST stitch in the ditch, stash and square up are just a few.

Two other ladies and I formed the class. So for the next six weeks we met every Tuesday afternoon for two hours and learned how to sew a quilt. We ironed, we sewed, we tore, we laughed, we cried and we laughed again as our machines hummed.

We all ended up with beautiful quilts and the basics of quilting taught by a caring, patient, and intelligent instructor.

I expected to walk out of class with a cute little quilt, but what I didn’t expect were the new friendships I made from that class. The three of us got along so well that we even signed up for the advanced classes so we could have more fun sewing together. We always stay in touch.

Quilting is fun, rewarding, easy to learn, and gives you great things to show off for all your hard work. I am particularly happy to have stepped out of my comfort zone this winter and to have learned something new.

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