I'm a quilter. The first quilt I ever made was in 1986, the year before my first child was born. In 1986, I was 24 years old, and I had been sewing since I was about 12. However, I didn't try quilting until 1986 when I wanted to make a small crib quilt for a friend expecting a baby.
I don't have any photos of that quilt, but I remember it well. I used the wrong kind of fabric--a heavy cotton weave instead of a light-weight "quilting" cotton--and the binding was a mess. I mean it didn't look messy, but it was far from how bindings should be done.
Since then I've made a lot of quilts. I'm not sure how many, and my quilting skills have improved considerably.
Here, below are two small samples that I made for quilt classes I was teaching. My step-daughter has the blue one, and my mother has the orange and black one.
Here, below, is a baby quilt that I made for some friends who had a baby after a long battle with infertility. It's based on a pattern, but my colors are brighter than recommended in the pattern, and I used fake fur for the bunny ears, to give it some texture. It was designed to hang on a wall.
I almost always give them away. I love how quilts look, but what I love most is making them. I find quilting to be therapeutic for me, kind of like the monks who weave and meditate while doing so.
I don't feel particularly attached to the quilts I've made, and I have no hesitation giving them away and making them as gifts.
Here's a quilt, below, that I made as a gift for dear friends in Houston, who looked after my son while he was a student nearby at Texas A&M. It's an optical illusion based on the pattern, Bouillabaisse.
Except for one quilt. There is one quilt that I made that I have kept. I made it almost 20 years ago, and I always liked it. The quilt had some mistakes in it, and other issues, but I just loved that quilt. It's this one below.
This is not the whole quilt, but the photo captures the center of it. It's based on a famous pattern by Karen Stone called New York Beauty. This quilt is true to the original pattern except for the border, but my colors are totally different.
And this quilt has hung in my home for the past almost 20 years.
Until last week. I gave it away. The quilt that I always planned to keep, I gave away to my closest friend of the past 30 years.
I gave it away for several reasons, several things that happened around the same time and converged to make it the right time to part with it.
So, my friend, who had never had one of my quilts now has my personal favorite, and it will hang in her house. My former mother-in-law, may she rest in peace, taught me that when you give someone a gift, you must give it, as they say in French, de bon gré. That means you must give it happily and freely and with no strings attached. I hope and think my friend will cherish it, but I won't lose any sleep if she doesn't. Because it's no longer mine.
The good news is that I have something beautiful to hang in its place.
Many years ago, my quilting mentor in Calgary made a quilt for my father and stepmother. I always kept my eye on that quilt because I didn't think my father and stepmother really appreciated the work that had gone into it or gave it the respect that it deserved.
In 2017 when my father was in steep decline and he and my stepmother were moving, I talked to them about that quilt and said that I wanted it if it wasn't important to them. I didn't want that quilt to be discarded. As luck would have it, they gave it to me.
Then more recently, I unexpectedly received a second quilt from my mentor. She didn't know that I had the first one because I didn't want to hurt her feelings and for her to know that my dad and stepmother didn't want it. Of course, after I received the second one, I explained that I also had the first one.
And these two quilts have similar color schemes that will go great in my family room. So, I will hang them near each other on perpendicular walls and take great pleasure in telling visitors, yes, I'm a quilter, but no, I didn't make these two--they were made by my quilt teacher, and how I came to have them is a long story.
Before concluding this blog post, I'll show you a few more photos.
Here, below, is a thank-you quilt I made for some friends, a traditional log cabin quilt.
And here, below, is a rag quilt I made for a friend's beach house.
And, below, is a quilt I made for my sister-in-law's 40th birthday. Each square was made by one of her friends or relatives. It was like herding cats.
I'll show a photo of the two new quilts after they are on the wall. I'm waiting for some special hardware to hang them.
I'm currently finishing a beautiful quilt that is a gift.
I hope you enjoyed this little stroll down my quilting-memory lane.
And in case you're wondering, yes, occasionally people pay me to make a quilt for them.
The photos in this blog post all belong to Cynthia White, ©2019, All Rights Reserved.