Like many quilters, my first quilt was a sampler. The quilt is hand pieced (the only hand pieced quilt I have made).
Before discovering quilting, I was an avid cross stitcher. I was working on a cross stitch of a quilt, and I remember thinking it would be nice to sew it into a small quilt to hang on a wall.
In 2001 I moved house, and there was a quilt shop just around the corner. So I signed up for a beginner’s class.
Well, I was immediately hooked. I would get up earlier in the morning so I could do some piecing before leaving for work, and I would spend all weekend sewing. My quilt ended up being a lot larger than the class sample, and there are blocks in there that I drafted myself from pictures.
What I liked most about quilting over cross stich is that there was so much more creativity in the process. A quilt can look completely different by adding or omitting one fabric. Fabrics seem to change colour depending on what other fabrics they are near. The same design can look completely different when done in different fabrics or with different fabric placement. The design possibilities were unlimited.
It was like a light bulb had gone off in my head, and I knew that this was what I needed to do.
Because the quilt was hand pieced, I thought I should also hand quilt it. So I signed up for a full day workshop on hand quilting. By the end of the class I was beginning to get the hang of it but I can’t say I was enjoying it. The other ladies in the class were exclaiming ‘isn’t this great’, and I was thinking to myself ‘when can I get out of here’. Hand quilting and I were not a good match. However, doing the class was a very good exercise as I now knew for sure that I didn’t enjoy hand quilting.
I left the class, and that very afternoon booked my quilt in to be machine quilted.
I subsequently sent eleven of my quilts off to be machine quilted. I also hired a long arm to quilt two of my earlier quilts. I wanted my own long arm so much, but they are so expensive, and the Australian dollar was not fairing well against the US dollar at that time.
I found sending my quilts off to be machine quilted frustrating because I wanted to complete them myself. I must have driven my quilter nuts with my detailed requests regarding the quilting (without fully understanding how a long arm worked).
Finally in 2003, I decided to bite the bullet and get my own long arm machine – and the rest is history……