Quilting became a hobby of mine late in life. It all started when my granddaughter was born a little over seven years ago. I didn’t have much money to splurge on gifts so I thought to myself, “I’m a smart woman, I can figure out how to make a quilt.” Though it may have really started long before that because I have always tended to keep all my old clothes. Anyway, I knew the basics of a top, a back and something in between. I shopped at thrift stores looking for fabrics I liked with no regard for what kind it was. I saw a picture of a quilt I liked but didn’t know how to make. So I just made up my own pattern. Templates were made of cereal boxes and pieces cut then sewn together. The pattern I created was NOT the quilt I had seen a picture of but it did what I wanted it to. It took me three months to complete and I was so pleased with how it turned out. Then I planned another for my other granddaughter. It was an art quilt. Quickly discovered that I had no clue how to make it. Thus began my foray into the world of quilting. I continued to shop at thrift stores for more fabric to use. I started reading about quilting and found a type I wanted to try. So I bought more fabric at the thrift stores to make a quilt for a wedding gift. Another three months to completion. I had to buy some new fabric to get a color I couldn’t find at the thrift stores. This my first new fabric purchase. There were so many pretty fabrics! At first I would buy a small piece of new fabric. I discovered fat quarters and bought a few on sale at the fabric store when I could get them on clearance. My collection of fabrics began to grow. After a few months I started putting it in plastic totes to store it. This was a handy way to put recent purchases away without anyone actually noticing how much I had. Each new purchase was acquired with ideas on something I wanted to make in the future. Soon it became several tubs of fabric sorted by used clothing and new fabrics. I started adding to the ribbons and lace that I had inherited from my mom. There were buttons I had also gotten from mom neatly organized in a little organizer for nuts and bolts. I added all the buttons I removed from the used clothing. I even bought some decorative buttons in the dollar spot at Target because there were so pretty. Eventually I had to buy a new multi-drawer organizer from the hardware store to keep the buttons in.
My daughter had bought me a cheap sewing machine when I started the first quilt because I didn’t have one, but I desired to have a better more versatile machine so when there was a sale at the fabric store I purchased a new, better machine. Then I read about quilters who liked the vintage machines and I admired their photos. I eventually moved from that house into one that had more space but not a lot of storage. There was even a whole room downstairs that I could set up for sewing. I needed furniture to store things in and combed the thrift stores for just what we needed. I saw an old vintage Singer but left it. The next day we picked up the shelving I had paid for and the machine was still there. Oh she had a lovely sewing cabinet she was in and I had fallen in love with her. She was a steal and I took her home with me. Coincidentally she was manufactured in the same year I was born, it was match that was meant to be.
In the meantime I continued to acquire more fabric both used and new including end of bolt yardage. I was stepping up the quantity of my fabric purchases. I made several gift quilts but there did not appear to be much of a dent in the volume of fabric I had. It seemed I was acquiring fabric at a faster rate than I was using it. The storage space was getting full but I needed to get these other colors and print patterns for this that and the other. After several quilts I ventured into free motion quilting on my little domestic machine. I loved it but it is hard to manipulate a king size quilt on a small machine. I dreamed of having a long arm quilting machine on a large frame. So I searched the internet periodically to see what was out there and how much they were selling for in the used market. Then one day, not long ago, I saw an old machine and frame for sale at an unbelievably low price. So low that I copied the ad and emailed the seller asking if that was correct. It was, I bought it, traveling about 175 miles to pick her up. The seller was the daughter of the original owner who was no longer able to quilt. The daughter also said she would throw in her fabric just to get rid of it so she could sell the house. I had no idea what quantities she had. Well, there was more than I already had. Totes and large trash bags full-hundreds of yards of fabrics, some probably over twenty years old but well taken care of. There is more fabric in my sewing room than I will ever be able to use up. Still, what did I do? I bought about 3 -4 yards of half yard cuts the other day. I just gave it to my granddaughter to “build her stash” though she is only seven. I have been teaching her how to quilt and gave her a small machine of her own and have been adding to her collection of tools and fabrics.
Being a fabriholic leads to other disorders. A fascination with tools for cutting, measuring, and stitching fabric. An uncontrolled urge to collect buttons and bows, needles and pins, ribbons and lace, seam rippers, stilettos, thimbles, threads, hoops and frames, and a vast assortment of notions and books and patterns. There is also the need to infect others with these symptoms to make sure that no cure is ever going to be effective as the viral nature of fabriholism and it’s co-morbidities rapidly changes with each generation.
It’s a wonderful hobby that makes life so pleasant!
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