Quilting–a hobby or an obsession?

From Guest Blogger Margaret Loyer

I don’t sew. If necessity demands, I can replace a button or mend a hem. I can even darn socks. However, that doesn’t make me a sewer. My four sisters all sew but somehow I missed that gene.

I’m on holidays at the moment with my oldest sister. Since we drove, she brought along her sewing machine and enough paraphernalia to outfit a craft store. My sister isn’t just a sewer but a quilter and an obsessive one at that. Since she started quilting seven years ago, she’s made more than 100 projects ranging from table runners to queen-size quilts.

When planning our holiday, I knew that quilting would be a major activity. So true. In the first three days, we visited seven quilt shops and two craft stores. My sister bought 13 pieces of fabric and innumerable spools of thread and notions. Our evenings have been spent plotting the route to the next stores, usually working a circular path to encompass as many as possible in one day. If tomorrow goes as planned, we’ll visit five more stores and travel close to 200 miles, all in the name of quilting.

I never properly appreciated the variety of material available for sale. You can find fabric for any age and any theme. Animals are plentiful as are flowers, trees, and pagodas. Colours are not one-dimensional. Do you want blue? It can be light or dark, robin’s egg or midnight, with stars or unadorned. Cotton may be a type of material for the uninitiated but it’s just a guideline. You have to know if you want batik (tie-dyed), prints, or solids. Bolt after bolt must be perused to ensure the right combination of colour and pattern. Some quilt patterns call for as few as two contrasting fabrics while others ask for as many as 23 pieces of fabric; that’s a lot of perusing.

So far, my contribution has been to consult mapquest.com and to navigate. I’ve also been helpful in finding sales on thread or refill chalk. My sister will grudgingly admit that I did find the one piece of yellow fabric needed to complete a child’s quilt and that had eluded her and the sales clerk for several minutes.

Watching my sister sew has also been eye-opening. I have often said that it’s a lot of cutting and sewing, then re-cutting and re-sewing. I was right. It also requires a level of dedication that is far beyond what is applied to most careers, except perhaps if you’re a rocket scientist.

In my next life, I want to come back as a rocket scientist.

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