In 2006, aged 30 I spent a year in Toronto and in the few hours of child-free ‘me time” each week I learned to quilt. It made me miss home less, reignited by passion for sewing and meant I could spend hours in the company of beautiful fabrics. Back in England I couldn’t stop quilting and I started to teach my close friends around the kitchen table. I had 2 more children – and my husband worried I might keep having babies so that I could make quilts for them to snuggle beneath! Instead I rented sewing machines, found a local space and began sharing my passion with students who weren’t just my friends. I still got my fabric fix, I learned loads and I felt privileged to witness the glowing pride you get at the end of a handmade project, over and over again.
I’m pretty good at converting the curious person who is a bit crafty into a full blown quilter. If you lived close to me I would probably have grabbed you in the supermarket, or walking through town to tell you about the wonders of this hobby and the endless possibilities of combining fabric and thread. In my classes over the years I’ve inspired students traumatised by a bad sewing experience at school, former sewists who have lost their confidence through lack of practice, young women who assumed patchwork was only the domain of the elderly and everything in-between.
On a practical level quilting is essentially cutting up fabrics and putting them back together. What’s the worse that happen? Wobbles can be straightened, seams can be unpicked and re-sewn. It’s not life and death.
The big secret is that on an emotional level, quilting is so much more. Over 30 million people worldwide have cottoned on to this secret, maybe it’s time that you did too!