Today I turn 22, so it seems only right that I commemorate exactly why birthdays are so important. Obviously, there are many reasons- another year of wisdom and life experience being the most obvious. But it probably comes as no surprise that for me birthdays and patchworking go hand in hand. It was on my 19th birthday that I received the gift which introduced me to the wonderful world of quilt making. My Grandma Kay sent me an “Around the World Quilt” and I will never forget the feeling of opening up that big cardboard box shipped from St. Louis to see a beautiful array of pink and green fabrics.
I have to admit, I didn’t go home and begin making my first quilt right away. I spent the rest of that semester in love with my quilt, such a comforting object to have in a dorm room. I would think of my grandmother working away on it in the evenings; quilts are so palpably full of the love of the person who made them. But it wasn’t until that summer that I decided to try my own quilt making. I had wandered into Fabric Place for some reason I can’t recall- I have a bad habit of going into yarn and fabric stores without a specific project in mind which usually means overspending. For some reason, my Grandma Kay’s quilt entered my mind and I decided to make one of my own. I bought a copy of Carol Doak’s “Your First Quilt Book,” and a basic pattern called “You Just Can’t Cut It.”
My first quilt was a long process. I had no idea what I was doing and followed every little detailed rule to a tee, terrified that a sixteenth inch differences would throw off the whole thing. Though I’ve gotten more confident and my techniques have relaxed since then, I loved every meticulous step of this first forray into quilt making. Here it is, my first quilt, completed in the summer of 2006.
So on my birthday, I feel that I owe my grandmother a thank you for inspiring me to take up patchworking and therefore giving me one of the best birthday gifts I’ve ever received!
Unsurprisingly, my birthdays continues to be about patchworking. This time I have my Mom to thank for that. Imagine my delight upon receiving the antique Log Cabin quilt that I fell in love with months ago in Concord Center. Of course I hadn’t forgotten it, but I never expected to see it again. What a wonderful birthday surprise!
This is an amazing quilt. It smells musty and it’s falling apart just a little bit but that only adds to its appeal. It’s made from this silky material, almost like neckties- and is such an inspiration for my own Log Cabin quilt. Clearly, antique quilt collecting agrees with me; it fuels my own ideas and connects me with the history of this craft.
It gets even better. My mom also managed to track down beautiful old feedsacks for my own patchworking pleasure:
I couldn’t have picked out better patterns myself. Blue and red is my favorite color combination but these designs are also fun and rich. They’re gorgeous. Now I just have to figure out what to do with them- whenever I have fabrics that I love this much it always takes some time to settle on a worthy project. I don’t think it will be anything as traditional as my Birds in the Air quilt; I like the idea of taking these old fabrics and this time making them my own.
So yes, birthdays are important days. They’re a good chance to reflect but also to move forward; you never know how much a birthday gift will influence the future!