Di Russell-Horn Creates Art from the Heart, Creativity for the Soul, and Tranquility for the Mind.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I'm in Quilting Heaven

About 21 years ago a friend introduced me to quilting.  I worked in a travel agency with mostly women and we decided to hold a monthly "Art & Craft Night" at the office.  Each one of us would teach a new type of craft.  My girlfriend decided to teach quilting, using the traditional log cabin pattern.  I remember going to JoAnn Fabrics and the excitement of  buying blue and peach fabrics, lovingly washing, ironing and cutting the fabric into strips with a rotary cutter.  I couldn't wait for the night of that class! 
I had taken Home Ec in high school and made a few required outfits, but, like my mother, I really didn't take to the sewing "bug".    You see my Mom hated sewing even though my Dad bought her a beautiful Singer machine when I was young.  The reason?  My Mom's father (my Grandpa who died when I was born) had been a tailor and had a tailor shop, "J. Cenname"  on State Street in Rochester, NY.  My Mom never wanted to learn because as she put it, "When I could go into my Dad's shop, pick out material and have him whip me up a suit or coat, why would I want to learn to sew?"
Well apparently, the sewing gene skipped a generation because I fell in love with, not so much sewing, but more specifically quilting and I have never look back.
I taught quilting and fiber art courses for years, but in the last 5 years had gotten away from it with the busy life of a mom, wife and career.
I was determined to get back into it because I have two Bernina sewing machines and a serger ( I worked part time for the Rochester Bernina dealer, Linda Fellows of The Bobbin Case) and my hands were just itching to quilt again.  I also, over the years have amassed quite the collection of beautiful fabrics ranging from whimsical to batiks. 

There is a saying in the sewing/quilting world that "She who dies with the most  fabric, wins" and I would come in at a close second to that.
So I set up my sewing cabinet, my cutting table and ironing board in Brian's room (since he's away at college) and have begun to quilt again.  I'm making a baby quilt for a girl who is like my daughter, a friend of Brian's and her mom is one of my closest friends. 
I cannot tell you the joy of designing a quilt, picking out fabrics, washing, ironing and rotary cutting them.  And then the ultimate of sitting down at my Bernina and making the magic happen.  Piecing the blocks, sewing them together to make the quilt top, sandwiching it with backing and batting and then either machine quilting or hand quilting it.  
I have always loved traditional quilts, my favorite being the double irish chain, but I have a passion for non traditional and making my own designs, as well as funky art quilts, which are much smaller and pieces of art to hang on the wall.
  If you are a quilter, you know the feeling.  If you're not, then I suggest you think about taking a fiber arts class or quilting class and you too, may experience the same joy it brings to me.  So I'm off to quilt for the afternoon and evening and I'll be in "Quilt Heaven"!!
"Mother's Day Madness" 10"x14" framed,
in Memory of my mom, Ursula C. Russell

"The deepest of feelings, shows itself in silence" Unknown